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Page history last edited by Béatrice H. Alves 14 years, 5 months ago






Meaning of the causative



We use causative structure with causative verbs when we want to talk about something which we arrange for something or someone else to do for us:


We will have the lab test these instruments for us.


or when one thing or person causes another thing or person to do something:


The HUD helps pilots centralize flight data during IFR approach.



or when we want to talk about something that happened to us, usually something unpleasant or unexpected:


We had our computers hacked.




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Construction of the causative



There are two basic structures for the causative sentences:

  • Active

have someone do something / get someone to do something


Did you have the supplier send more samples?


The tower got us to divert to another airfield.



  • Passive

have something done / get something done


Every year, I must have my license renewed.


We should get this extinguisher serviced.





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The causative verbs



Have & get


The most common causative verbs, have and get, are used when we want to indicate that one person caused another person to carry out an action.


Have usually indicates that the person used his or her authority to obtain the result.

The plant manager had the electricians rewire the workshop.

The company is having the experts inspect the damage.



Get refers to a situation in which the person persuaded rather than ordered someone to carry out an action.

The HR director got the workers to accept a new productivity agreement.

He will get them to approve his flight plan before taking off.



Both verbs can be followed by an infinitive (with or without to) or by a past participle.

With the past participle, it is not necessary to state who carried out the action, just like in the passive voice.

We’ve had the new procedures certified.

The director got robots installed on the production line (by the technicians).

They got the vehicle repaired.


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Other causative verbs

There are other verbs that indicate differing degrees of authority, permission, assistance, etc.

Assistance - help (Ø), assist (to)

Authority - force (to), make, compel (to), require (to)

Incentive - encourage (to), motivate (to), impel (to)

Permission - allow (to), let (Ø), permit (to)

Persuasion - convince (to), persuade (to)


The verbs let and make are always followed by an infinitive without to:

Their supervisor lets them take one ten-minute break every two hours.

She made the plant manager work overtime.



The verbs like allow, compel or force are always used with the infinitive with to:

The hijacker forced him to change routes.



His sense of responsibility compelled him to volunteer for the mission.

The instructor encouraged him to take more risks.

The manager allowed them to go home early.

We’ll convince you to change your process.


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If you need more details, visit Causitive plus

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