What is the difference between Make, Have, and Get?

Make, have, get are used in a number of different ways in the English language.  One way we use them is when we talk about causing someone to do something.

Look at the following examples:

  • make meaning to require, or force someone to do something
    • Teachers often make students put away their cell phones.
    • The police made the residents move their cars.
    • New policies will make workers sign in when they start work in the morning.
    • Sentence Pattern: make + object + Base Verb Form
  • have meaning causing someone to do something
    • It is easier to have someone cut your hair than to cut it yourself.
    • Teachers often have students write essays at the end of the term.
    • Parents should have their children sit quietly on public transportation.
    • Sentence Pattern: have + object + Base Verb Form 
  • get meaning persuading someone to do something
    • Parents should get their children to clean their rooms before going to bed.
    • It is difficult to get people to volunteer on Sunday morning.
    • The teacher tried to get the students to turn their papers in on time.
    • Sentence Pattern: get + object + Infinitive

We often use let and help in the same context as make, have, and get.

  • Let meaning allow someone to do something
    • Parents should let their children play outside after school.
    • Sometimes teachers let students use cell phones in class.
    • The budget will not let the office buy new computers this year.
    • Sentence Pattern: let + object + Base Verb Form
  • help meaning to make something easier for someone (Both Base Verb Form and Infinitive can be used. Meanings are the same).
    • Tutors can help students understand English grammar.
    • The office will help people fill out their forms.
    • Sentence Pattern: help + object + Base Verb Form
    • Tutors can help student to understand English grammar.
    • The office will help people to fill out their forms.
    • Sentence Pattern: help + object + infinitive

Richard Carrigan, MSE

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years and a filmmaker for the past ten years. He has experience teaching English as a Second Language in Asia and teaching university students in the United States. He earned his undergraduate degree from Loma Linda University and his graduate degree from Shenandoah University.