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  ENGLISH GRAMMAR for ESL learners  


CAUSATIVE VERBS

MAKE - GET - HAVE - LET



The four verbs ‘make’, ‘get’, ‘have’ and ‘let’ are the most common causative verbs in English.
They are called causative verbs because they cause something else to happen.
Other causative verbs include : help, enable, allow, keep, hold, force, require, persuade.


  MAKE:  force or compel someone to do something.

Grammatical structure: MAKE + PERSON + VERB (base form)
  • She made her children do their homework before going to bed.
  • His grandmother made her grandson send a postcard to his parents.
  • Their parents made the boys clean the house after the party.

  GET:  arrange for someone to do something.

Grammatical structure: GET + PERSON + TO + VERB
  • I"ll get the architect to modify the plans.
  • The teacher got the children to tidy up the classroom.
  • The old lady got the boy next door to mow her lawn.

  HAVE:  ask or request somebody to do something

Grammatical structures:
  • 1) HAVE + PERSON + VERB (base form)
    • I’ll have my assistant call you to confirm the date.
    • The arthitect had his secretary make copies of the plans.
    • The surgeon had the nurse take the patient's temperature.

  • 2) HAVE + THING + PAST PARTICIPLE
    • I need to have a photograph taken for my new passport.
    • They had their house painted before putting it up for sale.
    • My car has broken down; I need to have it repaired.

  LET:  permit or allow something to happen

Grammatical structure: LET + PERSON/THING + VERB (base form)
  • Eva’s father won’t let her drive his car.
  • You shouldn’t let your children watch unsuitable programmes.
  • Tom was careful not to let the dog sit on the sofa.

Note: The verbs allow and permit are more formal ways of saying “let.”
However, with allow and permit, we use to with the verb:
  • I don’t allow my children to watch violent programmes on television.
  • Our teacher does not permit us to eat lunch in the classroom.
  • Our school permits students to use the sports facilites after school hours.
  • My mother allows me to drive her car.

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Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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