Grammar Goody: Get It Done!

In English, we have a grammar construction that doesn’t exist in Spanish. :-O

When we don’t have the time or the skills to do something, we need someone to do the job, right? For example, I can cut my hair, but not very well….or…I don’t know how to change the oil in my car. However, other people can do it. (Usually as a favor or for a price.)

Hair cut

Causation Construction: Subject + Get/Have* + Object + Past Participle
*Get is more informal, but both have and get mean the same thing. You can use get/have in different verb tenses.

– I cut my hair. (Meaning: I did the action.)
– A hairstylist cut my hair. (Meaning: I paid a hairstylist to cut my hair.)
Example of Causation Construction: 

I had my hair cut. (Meaning: Someone else cut my hair, but the emphasis is on the action and not who did it.)

– I changed my car’s oil. (Meaning: I did the action.)
– A car employee changed my car’s oil. (Meaning: I paid a car employee to change my car’s oil.)
Example of Causation Construction:

I had my car’s oil changed. (Meaning: Someone else changed my car’s oil, but the emphasis is on the action and not who did it.)

Example: Hice cambiar el aceite de mi carro. (I had my oil changed.)
Example: Hice lavar my carro. (I had my car washed.)
Example: Me hice cortar el cabello. (I got my hair cut.)
Example: Ella hizo pintar su casa. (She had her house painted.)

conjugated hacer + verb infinitive + object
Putting the subject pronoun first is optional, and you can conjugate hacer for other verb tenses. Notice that we assume the person didn’t actually do the action. Also, if you replace the object with a pronoun, put it before the verb.

Question: Okay, so what about if we need to throw in a conjugated verb in the beginning?Answer: You’ll use it with two infinitives.

РI need to get my car washed. = Necesito hacer lavar mi carro.
РI have to get my car washed. = Tengo que hacer lavar mi carro.

РI need to have my hair cut. = Necesito hacerme cortar el cabello.
– I have to have a hair cut. = Tengo que hacerme cortar el cabello.

РShe needs to get her car washed. = Necesita hacer lavar su carro.
РShe has to get her car painted. = Tiene que hacer pintar su casa.

Did you learn something new?

Thanks for reading!


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