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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Causative Form (Active and Passive Causative)

Causative Form, Active and Passive

In English, the causative form is used when we don't do someting ourselves, instead we arrange for someone else to do it for us.

There are two kinds of causative structure:

  • Active Causative
  • Passive Causative

A. Active Causative

Verbs that take active forms of causative are Let, Make, Have, and Get


Let is used when we want to allow someone to do something.

let agent verb

She lets me borrow her book.
  let agent verb  
She lets me borrow her book.


Make is used when we want to force someone to do something.

make agent verb

My mother makes me do my home work.
  make agent verb  
My mother makes me do my homework.


Have is used when we want to give someone the responsbility to do something.

have agent verb

My English teacher has me do the homework in a week.
  have/has agent verb  
My English teacher has me do the home work in a week.


Get is used when we want to convince to do something or to trick someone into doing something.

get agent to verb

My friends get me to take the test.
  get agent to verb  
My friends get me to take the quiz.

Get vs. Have

Sometimes "get someone to do something" is interchangeable with "have someone do something," but these expressions do not mean exactly the same thing.
My friends get me to take the test.
It can be meant that I am actually not encouraged to take the test, but my friends convince me to take that.
My friends have me take the test.
It means that my friends ask me to take the quiz.

B. Passive Causative

There are two verbs generally used in the passive causative form; they are Have and Get. In addition, there is usually no agent in this form; it's not like in active form which has the agent. The action verb is in the past participle, and the object comes before it. The difference between have and get in this passive causative form is the same like in active causative form explained aboved.

Subject Have/Get Object Past Participle

  • I ask someone to fix my car.
    = I have my car fixed.
  • She asked John to wash the plate.
    = She got the plate washed.

But, if the verb get followed by personal nouns, past participle can't be used in it. Instead, we must use to infinitive. So it will become just like in active causative form.

Subject Get Object (personal noun) to verb

  • I get the house painted
  • I get John to paint the house.

In addition, modal auxiliary verbs may be used with the causative sentence structure. Most often, modals express a suggestion by the speaker, such as:

  • You should have your hair cut.
  • He should get his decision changed
  • She will have the food cooked.

Need & Want

Need and want may be used in passive causative sentences. In some cases, the passive causative verb (had/got) may be dropped altogether.??

  • I need/want to have my hair cut.
  • I need/want my hair cut.

That was the explanation about causative form in English, active and passive form. And below is your chance to challenge your knowledge about the causative form. Take the quiz, good luck and enjoy!! :D


I have had this question running in mind since years and i got perfect answer that was really wonderful and awesome explanation. Thank you so much for such a wonderful Post. --Naresh

thank you for your information ^_^

How do you change this sentence into passive voice ( Would you mind making Fred bring me a glass of water?)

@Farid Ahmad Karimi would making fred bring me a glass of water will be minded by you.

I didn´t get the answers for the quiz,

@Farid Ahmad Karimi

I would like to have a glass of water brought by Fred

@Farid Ahmad Karimi
Would you mind making a glass of water brought by Fred to me?

Excellent post, very clear. Now I have got it. Thank you so much!

Stunning!!! Super clear. Thanks :))

A word in need
is a word indeed!

This comment has been removed by the author.

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English is one of the most important languages in the world. It can even be said to be the single most important language.Other languages are important too

business english

Which is correct

Who did you get to do this job
Who did you make do this job

What is the passive of
Get someone to brake the door.

Get the door to be broken by someone.

I had a little confusion about causative verbs in English grammar which has been clear now. This is really stunning post thank you so much for sharing and i am looking forward to more from you.

Nice explanation... I got it...Thank you..☺☺👍

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