07 July 2008


The causative is a common structure in English. It is used when one thing or person causes another thing or person to do something. This page will explain how causatives are formed, and how to use them.
Basic causative structures
There are two basic causative structures. One is like an active, and the other is like a passive. These examples use the causative verb "have":
I had John fix the car.
The active causative structure
Subject Causative verb Agent Action verb Object
Susan had her brother do her homework.
The police had the suspect stop his car.
We had the carpenter fix our window.
The passive causative structure
In the passive form, there is usually no agent. The action verb is in the past participle, and the object comes before it:
Subject Causative verb Object Action verb
We had our door fixed.
Yukiko had her hair cut.
Sanjay had the windows cleaned.
Other causative verbs
All the examples above use the causative verb "have". However, many other verbs can be used in causatives. In the active form, som of these verbs require the action verb to have "to" before it. These are some examples of the most common causative verbs.
Verb Meaning Form of Action Verb Examples
make force, compel plain form The robbers made us lie on the floor.
[No passive form]
get same as "have" "to" form I got Jae Won to pick me up in the car.
She got her hair cut.
let allow plain form I'll let you borrow my bike.
[No passive form]


Causative Guna

FORMULA [let + person + verb]
This construction means "to allow someone to do something."
• John let me drive his new car.
• Will your parents let you go to the party?
• I don't know if my boss will let me take the day off.
FORM: [make + person + verb]
This construction means "to force someone to do something."
• My teacher made me apologize for what I had said.
• Did somebody make you wear that ugly hat?
• She made her children do their homework.

FORM [have + person + verb] This construction means "to give someone the responsibility to do something."
• Dr. Smith had his nurse take the patient's temperature.
• Please have your secretary fax me the information.
• I had the mechanic check the brakes.
FORM [get + person + to + verb]
This construction usually means "to convince to do something" or "to trick someone into doing something.
• Susie got her son to take the medicine even though it tasted terrible.
• How can parents get their children to read more?
• The government TV commercials are trying to get people to stop smoking.
Get vs. Have
Sometimes "get someone to do something" is interchangeable with "have someone do something," but these expressions do not mean exactly the same thing.
• I got the mechanic to check my brakes.
• I had the mechanic check my brakes.


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