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English Grammar Basics Causative Verbs

English Grammar Lesson  causative verbs five verbs with causative structures meaning

English Grammar Basics Causative Verbs

we are going to be talking about causative verbs, in particular, have make get help and let we use these five verbs with causative structures meaning that we use them to say that someone or something causes something to happen they are essential and they are often a sticking point with students a point of frustration 

well I've got you don't worry I've got you in this lesson if I say I've got you or really slang I got you it means I'll support you don't worry I've got this for you you don't have to worry about it I'm going to help you

Causative Verbs English Grammar Lesson, Have, Get, Let, Make, Help.

We use causative verbs to say that someone or something causes something to happen. We can use them in the past, present, or future. To change the tense of the sentence, only the causative verb changes.

1 Have
As a causative verb, we use have to say that someone does something for us. We generally use this construction when we pay someone to perform a service.

The structure is subject + have + object + past participle

In the present:
  • Ben has his house cleaned. 
  • Gary loves having his photo taken.
In the past:
  • I had my hair cut. 
  • Tara had her car repaired.
In the future:
  • We will have our new flat painted. 
  • I am going to have these documents translated
We can replace have with get in informal sentences. The meaning and the grammar don't change.
  • I love getting my photo taken. 
  • Sarah got her hair cut. 
  • We're going to get our new flat painted.
In all of these sentences, the subject doesn’t perform the action, someone else does it. We often don’t say who does the action, either because it is obvious or it isn’t important. This is the same as when we use the passive voice.

2 Have (2)
The second way we use to have as a causative verb is very similar to the first but in this way, we say who does the action. It doesn’t have to be for a paid service but it can be.

The structure is subject + have + person + infinitive.

In the present:
  • Sue is having her cleaner sweep the garage. 
  • The teacher has his students write an essay every Friday.
In the past:
  • I had my children clean their rooms
In the future:
  • I will have Jane call you
Remember to use the infinitive after the person. Don’t conjugate the verb!

 3 Get
When you get someone to do something, you persuade them to do something.
The structure of a causative sentence with get is subject + get + person + to-infinitive.

In the present
  • My dad gets all his friends to help him bake the cakes for the weekly bake sale.

In the past
  • I got my son to cook dinner because I was tired. 
  • Helen got the mechanic to check the whole engine. 
In the future
  • They will get a professional to check their speech before the event.
4 Make
The causative verb make is used to say that we force someone or something to do something. We use to make with the structure subject + make + object + infinitive.
  • She made me watch a horror film. 
  • I make my children do their homework before dinner.  
In the first sentence, we understand that the person didn’t want to watch the horror film and in the second, that the children don’t want to do their homework before dinner – or maybe at all!

In the present:
  • I make people take off their shoes when they come to my house. 
In the past:
  • My parents made me call him to apologise. 
In the future:
  • I know my teacher will make me rewrite this essay.
5 Let
When we use let as a causative verb, we mean that we give someone permission to do something or we allow something to happen. The structure is subject + let + object + infinitive.
  • My parents let their grandchildren stay up as late as they want.
  • I let the grass grow very long and now it’s hard to cut it. 
The first sentence involves an active decision to give the children permission to stay up. The second sentence means we allow something to happen, but we didn’t make an active decision about it.

In the present:
  • I don’t let my children have sugary drinks
In the past:
  • My parents didn't let me take the train alone until I was 12.
In the future:
  • The teacher will let the students watch a film during their last lesson
6 Help
Help means to assist someone. The structure when we use help as a causative verb is subject + help + object + (to) infinitive. We can create sentences with or without to and the meaning doesn’t change. It’s more common to create sentences without to.

In the present:
  • Music helps me to fall asleep.
  • My extra lessons help me pass tests at school. 
In the past:
  • I helped my friend move house.
  • Alex helped her mum clean the flat.
In the future:
  • My mum will help me decorate my flat.
  • My grandfather is going to help me to learn to drive.


Fill in the gaps with the correct form of have, get, make, let or help. Use each word only once in each set of questions. Fill in the second gap with the correct form of the verb in brackets

1 I ________ my tooth ________ (take) out yesterday.
2 I ________ my parents ________ (make) dinner tomorrow.
3 Ellen ________ her meals ________ (cook) by a personal chef.
4 I don’t ________ my kids ________ (eat) sweet things for breakfast. 
5 My teacher ________ us ________ (do) the test again because she thought we cheated. 

1 Bob ________ me ________ (call) all the managers to tell them the meeting was a success. 
2 The coach ________ them ________ (run) around the field twice because they were late. They really didn't want to do it. 

3 Pete always ________ the dishes ________ (pile) up in the sink because he hates washing up. 
4 I ________ my carpets ________ (clean) when I moved in here. 
5 Halle ________ her photos ________ (print) after her holiday next month.

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