Causatives

causatives

What Are Causatives?

He had his car washed

He got his house cleaned.

I had my hair cut.


Causatives are used when a subject makes a secondary party act out a verb. In this sense, even though the subject doesn’t do the verb themselves, they cause it to happen. They are often used in situations where services are provided.


How To Form A Causative

causatives example 1


The first way to form causatives is with the below construct. Notice that while we change the form of “have” depending on the tense, the verb we use (brought, delivered, arranged) is always the past participle.


have

+

object

+

past participle


I had the food brought to my house.

I have my newspaper delivered every day.

I will have the meeting arranged for tomorrow.


We can also use “get” instead of “have“. Although this has the same meaning, it is less formal.


get

+

object

+

past participle


He got his bike fixed.

They get their grass cut once a week.

She will get her nails done.


Specifying Who Did The Action

causatives example 2

Unlike the previous examples, we can specify who performed the verb using this construction. Again, notice how “have” will change depending on the tense but the verb used (move, do, bring) is always the infinitive.


have

+

person

+

infinitive


He had James move his car.

She has her daughter do her homework at the table.

I will have my assistant bring the documents to the meeting.


We can also use “get” in a similar way, however we need to use a to-infinitive instead:


get

+

person

+

to-infinitive


I got him to go to the party.

They get their children to play together nicely.

He will get his friend to help him with his homework.


Causatives Quiz

Test what you have learned with the quiz below:

What is a causative?
Which is not a way to form a causative?
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