'Causatives' indicate that someone did not do the action on their own, but they somehow intervened in the cause of the events.
What Are Causatives?
A causative (or control verb) indicates that a subject either causes someone or something else to do or be something or causes a change in the state of an event. It places the causer into a transitive clause, and the original subject becomes the object.
Why Do We Use Causatives?
We use 'causatives' when we know that the subject did not do the action on their own. Actually, the subjects in causative sentences lead someone else to do the action.
Here are the examples which can help to understand the concept:
How Do You Define Causatives?
Causative sentences are made of two clauses. The first clause consists of the 'causative verbs' and it is called the main clause, while the second clause consists of a 'participle,' 'to-infinitive,' or a 'bare infinitive' and it is called a non-finite clause. Both these clauses are subordinate clauses that are not complete without each other. Causatives are made of four main factors:
- causative verbs
- indirect object
- non-finite clause
Subjects of Causative Verbs
You can use any kind of subject whether noun, noun phrase, pronoun, proper noun, etc. as the subject of a causative sentence. Here are a few examples:
'Causative verbs' are the main verbs that indicate the relation between the subject and the agent. 'Causative verbs' show the subject did not do the action but had a leading role in the occurrence of the event.
There are many causative verbs in English, but they are all categorized into three main groups.
- causatives with 'to-infinitive'
- causatives with 'bare infinitive'
Causatives with To-infinitive
Most causative verbs such as convince, enable, cause, allow, force, lead, etc. are followed by a 'to-infinitive' but the most common and important causative verb in this group is the causative verb 'get.' Check out the examples:
Causatives with Bare Infinitive
Have, let, make are consecutive verbs, (also called catenative verbs or linked verbs) that cannot be followed by to-infinitives. So, as causative verbs, they are just followed by the 'bare infinitive.' Here are some examples:
The verb 'help' is called a semi-causative, because if we consider its meaning, it will get obvious that the verb is not causing something; it is actually playing a role in completing the action.
After 'help' you can use whether a 'bare infinitive' or a 'to-infinitive.' Using a 'to-infinitive' is considered more formal and using a 'bare infinitive' is less formal.
The tense, person, and the number of these sentences' verbs only depend on the causative verb in the main clause; so the to-infinitive in the subordinating clause does not change at all.
Indirect Object of a Causative Verb
The 'indirect object' is used directly after the causative verb. An 'indirect object' in causative voice is called the 'agent' and it can be a thing, person, proper noun, or an object pronoun. For example:
A non-finite clause is added to the main clause. Non-finite clauses can be made of:
- bare infinitive
- present participle
- past participle
Among non-finite clauses that are mentioned above, you are familiar with clauses that are formed by the to-infinitive and the bare infinitive.
Some non-finite clauses are formed by present participle (v + ing) or past participle.
Only a few causative verbs (get, have, keep) are followed by participle non-finite clauses.
What Is The Difference between Using Past or Present Participle?
Using the present participle with causative verbs get, have, keep indicates the continuity of the action. And another difference relates to the voice of the statements. The past participle is used in passive voice while the present participle is used in active voice.
Compare these two examples:
Passive Causative Voice
Passive voice with causative verbs are categorized into two groups:
- passive with a deleted subject
- passive with a deleted agent (indirect object)
Passive with 'Get' and 'Have'
Passive voice with the causative verbs 'get and have' are different from the other causative verbs.
When we make passive sentences with get and have we omit the agent because it is not important to know who did the action. Look at the examples for more clarification:
In this example, it is clear that the mechanic fixed the car, so the agent is omitted.
Passive with Other Causative Verbs
With other causative verbs, you do not omit the agent. In fact, as usual, you just omit the subject and use the agent as the subject of the passive causative statement. Check out the examples:
'Keep' as a Causative Verb
The causative verb 'keep' is only used with present participles because it means to make something maintain in the same situation for a while so it is used in continuous form. Here are a few examples to help you learn.
Remember you cannot use 'keep' in passive form.
Causative verbs are used to indicate an action that is done by the company of two or more people. In this structure, the subject does not directly do the action. Here are different participants of the causative structure.
- causative verbs
- indirect object
- non-finite clause
- What Are Causatives?
- Why Do We Use Causatives?
- Causatives with To-infinitive
- Causatives with Bare Infinitive
- Indirect Object of a Causative Verb
- Non-finite Clauses
- Passive Causative Voice
- Passive with 'Get' and 'Have'
- Passive with Other Causative Verbs
- 'Keep' as a Causative Verb