He had me laugh/ laughing...

Hello everybody

Is there any difference between the given sentences?

1- He had me laugh all through the meal.
2- He had me laughing all through the meal.

Thanks in advance


[color=blue][size=200]YES ![/size] 8) :shock:

1- He had me laugh all through the meal. --> He forced or told me to laugh all through the meal — whether I wanted to or not. And probably I didn’t want to. (This sentence is grammatically correct, but highly unlikely to actually happen.)

2- He had me laughing all through the meal. --> He said funny or humorous things all through the meal and as a result I laughed the whole time.


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Dear Amy

Further to you explanation I have few questions to ask. I am aware that:

Make/ Have somebody do something means cause somebody to do something.

I want to know if it always implies force? Please see below:

1- He had me laugh all through the meal.
2- He made me laugh all through the meal.

( Maybe his jokes forced me to laugh and I did not want to.Would it still be unlikely??)


Yes, the first one is highly unlikely.

What an interesting question this is. I hope you don’t mind if I comment further.

Speaking of “being forced to laugh”, how about “he made me laugh all through the meal”?

It’s “make” as a causative that usually means “force one to do something”. However, this could cause some confusion. Of course, if we say that “someone made someone laugh” it doesn’t mean that someone actually forced someone to laugh, but simply that someone caused someone to laugh. The idea of forcing someone to do something is usually negative. However, it could be positive or just neutral.

A person might not be doing the causing. This could have a negative effect, but it wouldn’t be seen as negative in quite the same way. It would be different if a person were causing something.

The news made us feel bad. - caused - neutral (had us feeling bad)

The rainy weather makes them feel bad. - caused - neutral (had us feeling bad)

His jokes made us laugh. - caused - positive (had us laughing)

They made him clean the floor with a toothbrush and a toothpick. - forced - negative (had him clean the floor)

Hi Tom

“He had me do something” —> He told me to do it and so I did it. (There may or may not be force involved)

“He had me laugh all through dinner” means he told me I had to laugh. Or he arranged to have me laugh. It is entirely possible that I laughed although I found absolutely nothing funny. The laughing has no connection to jokes. And that’s why I said it’s an extremely unlikely sentence!!!

“He made me laugh all through dinner.” --> This sentence could in fact be interpreted two different ways. The most likely and logical interpretation is that “his jokes forced me to laugh”.
The other interpretation would be similar to what I wrote about “He had me laugh” and would be just as unlikely.

Unlikely interpretations such as these could be used by comedians, for example, for comic effect.


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