What Are Causative Verbs in English? - Definition & Examples

What Are Causative Verbs in English? - Definition & Examples
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  • 0:05 Definition of Causative Verbs
  • 0:29 Examples
  • 3:09 Passive Voice
  • 3:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Causative verbs are used to indicate why or how something occurs. In this lesson, we will learn about the causative verbs: let, allow, permit, make, force, require, have, get, and help.

Definition of Causative Verbs

Causative verbs are verbs that show the reason that something happened. They do not indicate something the subject did for themselves, but something the subject got someone or something else to do for them. The causative verbs are: let (allow, permit), make (force, require), have, get, and help. Let's take a closer look at the causative verbs.

Examples

Since there are so few causative verbs, we are going to go ahead and take the time to look at examples of each and discuss the sentence structure for proper use.

Let, Allow and Permit

Our first verb is let, which comes with its synonyms, allow and permit. Here are some sample sentences that each put this verb into action.

  • My mom allows me to borrow the car.
  • I let my little sister watch TV in my room.
  • My teacher permits students to stay late for tutoring.

For each of these sentences, the verb 'let' is followed by an object and then the base form of the verb that describes the action the object will perform. When using 'allow' and 'permit', the word 'to' will come before the verb that describes the action.

Make, Force and Require

Let's move on to make, which comes with the synonyms, force and require. Here are some examples using the words make, force and require.

  • My doctor made me come back for a follow-up visit before giving me refills of my prescription.
  • The school requires students to follow a strict dress code.
  • My religious beliefs force me to attend services twice a week.

The sentence structure when using these words is similar to the structure for let, allow, and permit. The causative verb 'make' precedes the object that is performing the action, followed by the base form of the verb that describes the object's actions. When using 'force' and 'require', the word 'to' is added before the verb describing the action.

Get

The following examples show the proper use of the causative verb 'get.'

  • I got the waitress to bring us some menus.
  • I am getting my sister to send me a picture of her new house.
  • Zachary got his house cleaned before the party.

Usually, the causative verb 'get' will require the word 'to' before the object's action, but sometimes, the word 'get' is used informally in place of 'have.' When this happens, the 'to' is not required.

Have

Notice the sentence structure in these examples using the causative verb 'have.'

  • I'll have my secretary send you the forms.
  • I'll need to have the tires on my car rotated.

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