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Let Make Have Get

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The verbs 'let', 'make, 'have' and 'get' cause a considerable amount of confusion. Here is an overview of their functions and meanings when speaking about allowing, forcing, giving responsibility and convincing people to do things.


Here 'let' is used to mean allow

My dad lets me drive his car.
Will your boss let you leave early tomorrow?
My sister doesn't let us speak about her divorce.



Here 'make' is used to mean 'force someone to do something'.

His mother made him apologise for playing in their neighbour's rose bushes.
The company makes us wear these ridiculous uniforms.
Our dad used to make us tidy our rooms when we were young.


Here 'have' means to give someone the responsibility to do something.

Could you have your technician come round to fix the copiers?
Please have your assistant call me.
I had the interns organise the paperwork.



Here 'get' means to convince someone to do something or to trick someone into doing something.

She got her son to help her with the spring cleaning.
How can you get people to read more.
There is a drive to get people to stop drinking and driving.

Get or Have

Sometimes 'get someone to do something' can be used instead of 'have someone do something'. However the meaning is not exactly the same.

I got the mechanic to check the brakes.
(The mechanic didn't think it was needed but I convinced him to do so anyway)
I had the mechanic check the brakes.
(I asked the mechanic to check the brakes.)

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Now complete the following with the correct word:

  • 1. Alex's wife will not _ him get a motorbike.

  • 2. My boss _ me collect his dry cleaning. It's not something I signed up for.

  • 3. There's no way you are going to _ me to go to that concert.

  • 4. The football manager _ his team visit schools to promote sports.

  • 5. The police _ me ride in the patrol car when I was a child. It was a thrill.

  • 6. Only a whole week of stony silence from his wife _ Danny to go to the concert.

  • 7. Our neighbour _ us take off our shoes before we go into her house.

  • 8. We only met the deadline because I _ my team work through the night.

  • 9. How did you _ the builder to finish the renovations on time?

  • 10. The film _ me cry despite myself.