Causative Verbs, as the name implies, are the verbs that express the idea of somebody causing someone to happen or causing another person to do something. In English, there are three true causative verbs, and they are:
However, there are other verbs that are similarly used as causative verbs, such as: cause, allow, help, enable, force, require, persuade, etc.
Let’s focus on the true causative verbs first.
Means to allow someone to do something. Its form is let + object + base form of verb.
- She lets her husband focus on his job.
- Will you let me use your computer?
- Let her say what she wants.
They let me drink some wine after the interview.
Is used when we arrange someone to do something. The form is have + object + past participle of verb. For example:
- She will have her phone repaired tomorrow.
- They are having their car painted.
In informal spoken English, get is used in place of have.
- She will get her phone repaired tomorrow.
- They are getting their car painted.
Please note that we use “have + object + base form of verb” when we talk about asking someone to do something. For instance:
- I will have my assistant deliver the papers. (I will ask my assistant to deliver the papers.)
- I had my son make me coffee. (I asked my son to make me coffee.)
We can also use get instead of have in informal spoken English, but the structure is get + object + to + base form of verb.
- I will get my assistant to deliver the papers.
- I got my son to make me coffee.
Means to force someone to do something. Its form is let + object + base form of verb.
- She made him promise to buy a new car.
- He was not able to make her change her mind.
- Her boss made her leave her job.
Some common mistakes made by ESL learners are:
- Using to + base form of verb after let/make.
- She lets her husband to focus on his job.
- She made him to promise to buy a new car.
2. Using past simple tense of verb after let.
- They let me drank some wine after the interview.
- Her boss made her left her job
3. Using a singular form of verb after let.
- Let her says what she wants.
- He was not able to make her changes her mind.
Remember, we always use the base form of verb after let and make regardless of the verb tense and the subject.
Now, let’s talk about the other verbs that can be used as causative verbs.
Means make (something, typically something bad) happen. The form is cause + object + to + base form of verb.
Their divorce caused them to sell their properties.
The provocation done by North Korea caused the UN to give them sanctions.
Means to give someone permission to do something. The meaning is similar to let but the form is different. The form is allow + to + base form of verb.
- You are not allowed to read my messages.
- They don’t allow their kids to watch movies on weekdays.
Means assist someone to do something. After help, we can use either to + base form of verb or just base form of verb, they are both correct and there is no difference in meaning, but without to is more common.
- I will help you clean the house. OR I will help you to clean the house.
- My teacher helped me understand the lesson. OR My teacher helped me to understand the lesson.
Means to give someone the authority to do something. The form is enable + object + to + base form of verb.
- His money enables him to buy everything he wants.
- The internet enabled me to find better opportunities.
Means to make someone do something against their will. The form is force + object + to + base form of verb.
- Penny forced Roger to marry her.
- The lawyer will force the witness to tell the truth.
Means to order someone to do something. The form is require + to + base form of verb.
- Students are required to wear their school uniform.
- Our CEO requires everyone to come on time.
Means to make people to do or believe something by giving explanations. The form is persuade + object + to + base form of verb.
- I persuaded my wife to buy me a new laptop.
- My wife is planning to persuade her dad to go see a doctor.