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The message I asked to have written on the cake for my daughter's birthday was not readable.

I do not understand "have written" in this sentence.

"The message I asked to write on the cake" makes more sense to me.

What is different between "ask to write" and "ask to have written"?

Thanks in advance.

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1 Answer 1

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You are asking that someone write the message, so it is the passive voice. The message has been written. "The message I asked to write..." would imply that the message is the subject, the one doing the writing. When we say "have written" then the message is the object, not the subject of the sentence.

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  • Good point. Thanks. Isn't "the message I asked to be written" correct?
    – Xin
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 14:46
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    @Xin - Yes, "the message I asked to be written" is also correct. I prefer "have", because it means to cause or command something, as in "Please have this written on the cake", but "the message I asked to be written" is also a perfectly understandable use of the passive voice.
    – stangdon
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 19:58
  • @stangdon I see. Your comment really helps. Thanks.
    – Xin
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 7:11

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