Causative Verbs in English Grammar

Causative Verbs - English GrammarLet, Make, Have, Get, Help

Let, make, have, get, and help are called causative verbs because they cause something else to happen.

LET

Allow or permit something to happen.

LET + PERSON / THING + VERB (base form)

Examples:

  • I don’t let my children watch violent videos.
  • Ibrahim’s father won’t let him go on picnic.
  • Our boss doesn’t let us eat lunch at our desks.
  • Oops! I got busy watching movie while cooking, and I let the food burn.
  • Don’t let children play prank in the class.

Note: The past tense of let remains let; there is no change!

The verbs allow and permit are more formal ways to say “let.” However, with allow and permit, we use to + verb:

Examples:

  • I don’t allow my children to watch violent videos.
  • Our boss doesn’t permit us to eat lunch at our desks.

MAKE

Force or require someone to do something.

  • MAKE + PERSON + VERB (base form)

Examples:

  • After i broke the neighbor’s window, my parents made me pay for it.
  • Her mother made her clean the room.
  • The teacher made all the students prepare for the exams.

Note: When using the verbs force and require, we must use to + verb.

  • The company requires the employees to work harder.
    “Require” often implies that there is a rule.
  • He forced me to drive fast.
    “Force” often implies violence, threats, or extremely strong pressure

HAVE

Give someone responsibility to do something.

There are two ways to use have.

  1. HAVE + PERSON + VERB (base form)
  2. HAVE + THING + PAST PARTICIPLE OF VERB

Examples of structure #1:

  • I'll have my secretary send you the forms.
  • My father had me take him to the doctor.

Examples of grammatical structure #2:

  • I’m going to have my hair cut on Sunday.
  • We’re having our house painted this Month.
  • Ibrahim had his teeth whitened.
  • My washing machine is out of order; I need to have it repaired.

Note: In informal speech, we often use get in these cases:

Examples:

  • I’m going to get my hair cut on Sunday.
  • We’re getting our house painted this weekend.
  • Ibrahim got his teeth whitened.
  • My washing machine is out of order; I need to get it repaired.

GET

We use 'GET' to convince or encourage someone to do something.

  • GET + PERSON + TO + VERB

Examples:

  • I got the waitress to bring us some menus.
  • I am getting my sister to send me a picture of her new house.
  • Mother got him to clean the house before the party.
  • How can parents get their children to read more?

HELP

We use 'HELP' to assist someone in doing something.

There are two ways to use HELP.

  • HELP + PERSON + VERB (base form)
  • HELP + PERSON + TO + VERB

After “help,” you can use “to” or not – both ways are correct. In general, the form without “to” is more common:

Examples:

  • He helped me complete my work.
  • He helped me to complete my work.
  • Eating healthy and exercising helps me control my stress.
  • Eating healthy and exercising helps me to control my stress.

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