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1. I helped Ms. Pixton setting up tables for a party.
2. A plague of desert locusts has farmers in Northwest Africa despairing.
3. I got the motors working again.

My understanding is that we normally do not use '-ing' (bold) in the sentences above that use those verbs(bold). Instead, we use the following structures:
help O (to) V
have O V/p.p.
get O to V/p.p.


Is the use of '-ing' (as in the examples above) a new linguistic deveopment, or are there any rules that I still need to pay attention to?
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Comments  
Not that I am aware of, Komountain.

'Help do' in your (1) is the standard form (while 'cannot help doing' is a confusing bypath meaning 'unable to avoid doing'). So I find (1) awkward, though possible.

In your (2) we have a different form, and a quite common one, where the past participle would not work. I do not know how universal it is; both forms work in (3). 'My wife's antics have me pulling out my hair!' is another example where the infinitive would not work.

(3) is also a common form. Here, 'get the motor working' and 'get the motor to work' express slightly different aspects of the deed. 'My mother has me washing the dishes every night' is not the same as 'my mother has me wash the dishes every night' (the causative form), but a different idiom meaning 'put me in the situation of'. The difference in intent may be subtle (or poorly expressed by me) but it is another idiom, I believe.
Thank you, MM.

Your messageEmotion: bathelp O -ing] is not a recommendable pattern. Clear enough.

Your message:
'My wife's antics have me pulling out my hair!' (correct)
'My wife's antics have me pull out my hair!' (incorrect)
Please confirm this.

I should admit that I see a screen of fog before me. I understand how difficult a task it is to elucidate a delicate nuance in a language. But I dare to ask you to explain again the difference between 'My mother has me washing the dishes every night' and 'My mother has me wash the dishes every night' I am very curious about the difference.

Others may hopefully help me, too.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Yes, I know that my explanation was not very lucid. Let me try again:

(2)

'My wife's antics have me pulling out my hair!' -- correct; because my wife is behaving crazily, I am pulling out my hair in frustration and embarrassment.

'My wife's antics have me pull out my hair!' -- this could only make sense if the antics (not the wife) command me to pull out my hair: hence, it makes no semantic sense. Other sentences could of course be fine, for example 'My wife has me pull out my nose hairs.'

(3)

'My mother has me wash the dishes every night' -- this is the easy one to explain: my mother commands me to wash the dishes.

'My mother has me washing the dishes every night' -- mother may have commanded me (or perhaps she just shamed me into helping her), but the point is that I am occupied in washing the dishes every night: she is the cause of my washing the dishes, however it was accomplished.

A similar pair would be:

'My wife has me pull out my nose hairs.'
'My wife has me pulling out my nose hairs.'

The first is an order from my wife; the second states that she is the cause (maybe because of her orders, maybe because of her pleas or sarcastic comments)

If this doesn't help, I too hope another member will come along and dig me out of this.
I think, Mr M, that you've set a large task for yourself but you are to be commended for it. Komountain rightly recognizes just how difficult this task is.

If this helps any, Michael Swan, in a talk I once sat in on, said, roughly paraphrased,

Sometimes I think about a particular English usage for a day, sometimes a week, sometimes a month and sometimes longer. It sometimes doesn't matter how long it is, I still come up stumped.

As for me, right now, my shovel's broke but if I can get it fixed, I'll lend a hand.
Much clearer, MM.

I'm beginning to sense the difference.
I am currently concocting your responses hopefully to produce, for myself, a final and efficacious cure for all this. When all the process is over and the final product is in, I'll put it up here for approval by the linguistic FDA. Hold your breath!

JTT, I am waiting for your hand.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
With regard to the [have O V/-ing] pattern, I tried two approaches.

Approach 1

If the subject is a thing, it has nothing to do with requesting, commanding or ordering. 'have' seems to simply mean 'result in,' 'make O V' or 'put in a situation of,' as you suggested earlier.

ex1) His failure in business has him isolating himself.
=His failure results in his own isolation.
=His failure makes him isolate himself.
=His failure puts him in a situation of his own isolation.

ex2) The team's victory had its fans jubilating.
=The victory resulted in its fans' jubilation.
=The victory made its fans jubilate.
=The victory put its fans in a state of jubilation.

Approach 2

If the subject is a person, [have O V] connotes a direct command or order, while [have O -ing] implies that there could be a broad range of reasons for the action of '-ing,' though not specifically mentioned.

ex3) She had her husband drive her home.
=She requested/commanded/ordered him to drive.

ex4) She had her husband driving her home.

This could mean any of the following.
( a ) She ordered him to drive.
( b ) She had(concept of possession) her husband who [willingly] drove her home,
(so she was lucky.)
( c ) Her situation(on crutches; too sick to walk; not knowing how to drive; etc.)
caused him to drive her home.

If ( a ) is a possibility, there is an overlapping territory between [have O V] and [have O -ing].

ex5) She has a son practicing law, another running a restaurant, and yet another
driving a tank lorry.
=She has a son who is practicing law, ......
Here, 'have' is a mere possession. Nothing else can be inferred, I think.

This is the result of my half-day hard thinking, waiting for your approval. Any comments on this are welcome.

Sorry for having you racking your brains, MM and JTT.
...hopefully to produce, for myself, a final and efficacious cure for all this.


Perhaps a pipe dream, but you have made a noble effort. I like Approach 1. Approach 2 reads well too. The problem is the exceptions-- the many cases where one or the other alternative really does not make good sense:

I helped Ms. Pixton setting up tables for a party.
My wife's antics have me pull out my hair!
She had her husband driving her home.

I can generate a few pairs that have essentially the same meanings:

I can't get the computer to work. / I can't get the computer working.
I had him polish the Beamer yesterday, and today it's the Jag. / I had him polishing the Beamer yesterday, and today it's the Jag.

And other pairs that show the difference:

I had my son practice chess all night. / I had my son practicing chess all night.
The boss got me to reevalute my presentational skills. / The boss got me reevaluating my presentational skills.
You got me to think about this problem yesterday. / You got me thinking about this problem yesterday.

But there are still many pairs in which one of the two patterns is highly improbable or downright impossible:

I had the barber cut my hair. / X I had the barber cutting my hair.
She got her sister to dump her boyfriend /X dumping her boyfriend.
The instructor will have you skiing in a week / X have you ski in a week.
The mayor got us all arguing among ourselves. / X to argue among ourselves.

In these last cases, correctness seems to be closely connected with the durational nature of the verb in the infinitive/-ing form. Verbs which have duration (ski, argue) seem to fit the -ing sentences, while verbs of instantaneity (cut, dump) tend to work as infinitives.

That needs to be worked into your Rule somehow.
I am afraid this thread has you pulling out your hair, MM.

As a matter of fact, the fog patches that once began to dissipate have come back, dampening the 'end-of-the-tunnel' mood. Never before have I thought that the [have O V/-ing] structure and its cousins would be this tricky. I know you have sweated a lot to devise a better way to help me. I thank you for that.

This time, in an attempt to relieve you of pain, I take the initiative of presenting my understanding of the meaning of each of the sentences you and I have discussed. Just relax and read and commentate, if need be, in brief, please.
She had her husband driving her home.

My understanding: This is an incorrect sentence, requiring no further discussion. Period.
I had him polish the Beamer yesterday, and today it's the Jag.

I had him polishing the Beamer yesterday, and today it's the Jag.

My understanding:
The first connotes a direct verbal command, ruling out other circumstantial reasons.
The second has a more connection with circumstantial reasons of any kind. For instance, he and I made a bet on something and the loser was supposed to polish the winner's car. Eventually I won. So he polished my car to keep his word. In this case, even though there was no order or request, he was put in the situation of doing the prearranged job of polishing. Anyway, whatever the circumstantial reasons, the meanings of the two sentences are the same in essence.

The following three pairs are tougher ones. You say they are different in meaning, but for me it's hard to see the difference. Let me try, anyway.
I had my son practice chess all night.

I had my son practicing chess all night.

My understanding:
The first is a request or order. (easy)
The second doesn't necessarily involve a request or order. It could be that my son was very much into chess and voluntarily practiced it and I simply realized or noticed it, or that my son's loss of a chess game to his friend motivated him to practice it, or that the father played it together with his son all night, or many others. What just crosses my mind is that the second sentence focuses primarily on the action of 'practicing,' while the first focuses more on 'had.'
The boss got me to reevaluate my presentational skills.

The boss got me reevaluating my presentational skills.

My understanding:
The first: an order to start to reevaluate
The second: the reevaluation process was already underway and the boss noticed it.
In a nutshell, [get O to V] seems to create a connotation of the start of the action of V, while [get O -ing] casts the 'already in progress' mood.
You got me to think about this problem yesterday.

You got me thinking about this problem yesterday.

My understanding:
the same way as in the above 'the boss' examples

Somehow, the [get O -ing] tends to be associated with the sentence
"The police got him stealing a car."
Here, he was in the act of stealing, so the stealing process was underway.

Your last examples are quite well understood if my way of understanding is applicable.
Your 'duration/instantaneity' idea has secured a spot in my brain.

Thank you again for reading all this.
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