Causative Verbs

The English verbs let, make, haveget, and help are called causative verbs because they cause something else to happen. 

help, let, get, force, allow

 How causative verbs are used in English sentences.

LET = Permit Something To Happen

Grammatical structure:

  1. LET + PERSON/THING + VERB (base form)


Remember: The past tense of let is also let; there is no change!

NoteThe verbs allow and permit are more formal ways to say “let.” However, with allow and permitwe use to + verb:

  1. MAKE = Force Or Require Someone To Take An Action

Grammatical structure:

  • MAKE + PERSON + VERB (base form)


  • After Billy broke the neighbor’s window, his parents made him pay for it.
  • My ex-boyfriend loved sci-fi and made me watch every episode of his favorite show.
  • The teacher made all the students rewrite their papers, because the first drafts were not acceptable.

NoteWhen using the verbs force and require, we must use to + verb.

  • The school requires the students to wear 
    “Require” often implies that there is a rule.
  • The hijacker forced the pilots to take the plane in a different direction.
    “Force” often implies violence, threats, or extremely strong pressure
  1. HAVE = Give Someone Else the Responsibility to Do Something

Grammatical structure:

  • HAVE + PERSON + VERB (base form)

Examples of grammatical structure #1:

  • I’ll have my assistant call you to reschedule the appointment.
  • The businessman had his secretary make copies of the report.

Examples of grammatical structure #2:

  • I’m going to have my hair cut 
  • We’re having our house painted this weekend.
  • Bob had his teeth whitened; his smile looks great!
  • My washing machine is broken; I need to have it repaired. 

Note: In informal speech, we often use get in these cases:

  • I’m going to get my hair cut 
  • We’re getting our house painted this weekend.
  • Bob got his teeth whitened; his smile looks great!
  • My washing machine is broken; I need to get it
  1. GET = Convince/Encourage Someone To Do Something

Grammatical structure:



  • How can we get all the employees to arrive on time?
  • My husband hates housework; I can never get him to wash the dishes!
  • I was nervous about eating sushi, but my brother got me to try it at a Japanese restaurant.
  • The non-profit got a professional photographer to take photos at the event for free.
  1. HELP = Assist Someone in Doing Something

Grammatical structure:

  • HELP + PERSON + VERB (base form)

After “help,” you can use “to” or not – both ways are correct. In general, the form without “to” is more common:

  • He helped me carry the boxes.
  • He helped me to carry the boxes.
  • Reading before bed helps me
  • Reading before bed helps me to relax.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.