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The causative verbs are used to indicate that one person causes a second person to do something for the first person. One can cause somebody to do something for him or her by paying, asking, or forcing the person. The causative verbs are: have, get, and make. 

Besides the verbs, there are also let and help, they are not actually causative but considered with causative verbs in grammar textbooks.


The following clause is the rule of using have in an active voice:

Examples of active clauses in causative sentences:
  • John is having his father contact the officials.
  • Mary has had a friend type all of her papers.
  • The editor had the contributors attend a composition workshop.


The following clause is the rule of using get in an active voice:

Examples of active clauses in causative sentences:
  • Mary got John to wash the car.
  • Morris got his dog to bring him the newspaper.
  • George is getting his teachers to give him a make-up exam.

Have & Get in Passive 

The clause in a passive voice for both have and get are same, as the following rule:

Examples of passive clauses in causative sentences:
  • Mary got the car washed.
  • Mary had the car washed.
  • James has his shirts cleaned at the dry cleaners.
  • Anna got her paper typed by a friend
  • The president is having a press conference arranged by his advisors.
  • Rick was having his hair cut when John called.


Make can be followed only by a clause in the active voice. It is stronger than have or get. It means force, here is the rule  :

Examples in causative sentences:

  • The robber made the teller give him the money.
  • The teacher always makes the children stay in their seats.
  • The president is making his cabinet members sign this document.
  • The teacher had made the students' parents sign release forms before he let the students jump on the trampoline. 

The materials of this post taken from a textbook Cliffs TOEFL Preparation Guide by Michael A.Pyle. I wrote this on my blog as my way to prepare myself before take TOEFL  or IELTS test.

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