From time to time I can hear native speakers talk in this way, say, "I will have somebody fix this up." While I realize there exist contexts where the sentence is equal in meaning to the sentence "I will find somebody to fix this up.", I do not handle such usage (the boldfaced) well.

So I wish to understand the underlying general rule.

  • I would say that the two meanings are not quite equal. Consider the construction "I will have my brother fix this up." This is not equivalent to "I will find my brother to fix this up." Rather, it's equivalent to "I will ask my brother to fix this up." The "have" in this construction, I think, refers to giving an order/making a request. I cannot, however, figure out a nice underlying rule for it.
    – commando
    Aug 3, 2014 at 3:02
  • Grammatically it's quite similar to "I will make somebody fix this up", although the meaning isn't quite the same.
    – user230
    Aug 3, 2014 at 7:50
  • 1
    My attempt (to paraphrase it): "I will get somebody to fix this up." Aug 3, 2014 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


Both are normal sentences, however the meanings are different.

I will have somebody fix this up.

implies you will be able to get somebody to do that. It is not a question of "if".

I will find somebody to fix this up.

implies you will look for somebody to do that, but does not directly state someone actually will do that.

  • Thank you so much. But how about "I have people told me something"? Does this sentence mean that there were people telling me something?
    – Yes
    Aug 3, 2014 at 4:25
  • @Brian that construction isn't well-formed. The tense of "have" has to match the tense of the subsequent verb. So, "I have people telling me something" works, and "I had people tell me something" also works, but your example does not.
    – commando
    Aug 3, 2014 at 4:38
  • Thanks for pointing out. And that is why I wish to have a general rule~
    – Yes
    Aug 3, 2014 at 5:32

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