Causative verbs

English sentences do not always follow a regular pattern (subject + verb + object)  – just like your language! Sometimes the subject does nothing, but causes an action that someone else does. So, logically we call the verbs which cause the action causative verbs. The most common causative verbs are: let / make / have / get.  Have a look at the following sentences:

♦ Do you like Irina’s new hairstyle? She had her hair cut yesterday.
♦ Why don’t you get your hair cut in a new style?
♦ The teacher made us do four hours homework yesterday. 


Why does the teacher make us do so much homework?! ……….

♦ A lot of parents let their teenage children drink alcohol at home.

♦ You shouldn’t let your dog annoy people on the beach.

♦ Do you think parents should let their teenage children smoke at home?

♦ My parents won’t let me go out.

♦ If you let me drive your car to the party, I’ll wash the dishes.

The rules are simple:

let + noun + base infinitive

♦ My neighbour lets his children play computer games when they are at the dinner table!

make + noun + base infinitive

♦ I never made my children do homework. I believed that it was their responsibility.

♦ I make my dog sleep outside at night. I make him eat outside too.

make + noun + adjective

(This isn’t strictly ‘causative’ as the noun is followed by an adjective not a verb. However, it’s a good idea to note the structure, which is the same as causative verbs followed by past participle. See the examples below: chocolate, TV news, and exams cause feelings. Depressed & tired are ‘ed’ adjectives / past participles).

♦ Chocolate makes people happy! The news on TV makes some people depressed. Exams make most people nervous.    Shopping makes me tired.

have + noun + base infinitive

♦ I have the doctor check my blood pressure every visit. I always have my daughter cook dinner on the days I see the doctor.

have + noun + past participle

♦ I had my teeth whitened last week. My husband will have his car serviced tomorrow.

get + noun + past participle 

♦ I get my hair cut once a month.  Fernanda gets her house cleaned every week.

get + noun + infinitive (withto)

♦ A lot of parents are trying to get their children to play more sport.

♦ How can we get children to eat more vegetables?

As you can see, the subject in each of the above examples doesn’t do the action of the verb. The teacher doesn’t ‘do’ the homework. Irina didn’t ‘cut’ her hair. Fernanda doesn’t ‘clean’ her house. The teacher, Irina, and Fernanda, all cause someone else to do the action. For more information and practice exercises, click here.

When I can, I link these grammar posts to a song, to help you consolidate your grammar knowledge, revise and remember it. Well,  once again you’re in luck! I have links to two lovely songs, one called “Let Me Fall” sung by a truly gifted contemporary singer, Josh Groban. I have provided two Youtube videos of this song below. The second video has subtitles. The second song was sung by the late Judy Garland, a legendary Hollywood Star. Her video features clips from the Golden Years of Hollywood. Listen, enjoy, and learn. The lyrics for “You Made Me Love You” are written below the video. For more information and practice exercises, click here.

Let Me Fall sung by Josh Groban

You Made Me Love You sung by Judy Garland

You Made Me Love You sung by Judy Garland

Dear Mister Gable,

I am writing this to you and I hope that you will read it
So you’ll know my heart beats like a hammer
And I stutter and I stammer every time I see you at the picture show.
I guess I’m just another fan of yours and I thought I’d write and tell you so oh, oh, oh.

You made me love you. I didn’t *wanna (*want to) do it. I didn’t *wanna do it.
You made me love you and all the time you knew it.
I guess you always knew it. You made me happy sometimes; you made me glad,
But there were times sir you made me feel so sad.

You made me sigh ‘cause I didn’t *wanna tell you. I didn’t *wanna tell you.
I think you’re grand. That’s true. Yes I do. ‘Deed I do. You know I do.
I must tell you what I’m feeling.The very mention of your name sends my heart reeling. You know you made me love you.

I don’t care what happens. Let the whole world starve. As far as I’m concerned you’ll always be the top ’cause you know you made me love you.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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