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Skill Builders: Grammar – Causative Verbs (Active)

Upper-Intermediate

GRAMMAR EXPLANATION
What are active causative verbs?
We use this structure when someone causes something to happen, or when that person causes
another to take an action. For example:

Airport security had everyone remove their shoes.


The professor made his students give an oral presentation.

In both cases, the subject of each sentence (airport security and the professor) caused another
action to happen (removing shoes and giving an oral presentation). These are active causatives.

What is the sentence structure?


Active causatives use the following structure:

subject | causative verb | agent | bare infinitive -or- to-infinitive | object/complement

The police | had | the witness | identify | the thief.


The HR Department | made | all staff | attend | the time management seminar.

The agent is the person/thing to whom is caused to take an action, such as: The police had the
witness identify the thief. Here, the witness is the agent of the sentence.

It's also important to note that some causative verbs require the bare infinitive, namely when
using have, let, and make. Other common causative actions require the to-infinitive, such as
allow, convince, employ, encourage, get, help, permit, and require. For example:

The lawyer convinced the judge to lower the fine.


The teacher encouraged his students to apply for the scholarships.

How are causatives used?


As has already been stated, causative verbs demonstrate one action happening to another
person/thing. The doer causes something to happen to the agent. Here are a few more
examples:

The maitre d' let the movie stars jump the line and sit at the best table in the restaurant.
His boss required new employees to attend training sessions once a week.
The online magazine encouraged all readers to submit suggestions for future issues.
The devil made me do it!

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Skill Builders: Grammar – Causative Verbs (Active)
Upper-Intermediate

Is there additional information on active causative sentences?


Modal auxiliary verbs may also be used with the causative sentence structure. Modals usually
offer a suggestion, such as: The online magazine should encourage all readers to submit
suggestions for future issues. The structure is:

subject | modal auxiliary verb | causative verb | agent | object/complement


Bosses | should | permit | employees | to take flex time.

ACTIVITY
Here are a few sentences to practice using the target language correctly.

_________________________________________________________________________ .

Tom got a flat tire on the highway the other day.


_________________________________________________________________________ .

I have to get up early and get to work for an important meeting.


_________________________________________________________________________ .

Her teeth used to be quite crooked.


_________________________________________________________________________ .

Thanks to my teacher, I could get my Master's Degree early.


_________________________________________________________________________ .

Can you call Accounting? There were some mistakes with my paycheck.
_________________________________________________________________________ .

I need a visa to enter the US, which I can get at the embassy.
_________________________________________________________________________ .

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