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Causative Verbs Options
James Morris
Posted: Thursday, October 6, 2016 7:33:34 PM
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Location: Washington, D. C., Washington, D.C., United States
I find "causative verb" in your English Grammar that is quite clear. However, when searching for "causative verb" in the dictionary, a redirection occurs where a highly technical Wikipedia article on "causative voice" appears. Is "causative verb" now considered a fourth voice: "causative voice?"

Thank you, James
thar
Posted: Thursday, October 6, 2016 9:59:16 PM

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I distrust that grammar lesson.

One of the examples is:

“The landlord kept his property to rent it out to tenants.”


This is not 'caused something to happen'.

He kept it in order to rent it.
It explains his reason.

He retained it for use as a rental. Maybe he rented it out, maybe he didn't.
I can see no way in which anything is caused to happen.


Also, something as simple as 'he asked him to go' does not cause anything to happen. He asked, but....

Some languages have a causative voice, not English.

According to the Wikipedia article, a causative verb is one which causes the object to happen or change. Eg 'he melted the ice' but not 'he read the book'.

One construction you can use with some verbs can do the same job of effecting change:
He made the ice melt.

But there can also be absolutely no change implied:
He ordered the ice to melt.


This is one choice of construction.
You could choose to use the second verb in the subjunctive:
He asked that the ice melt.
Or use a construction with the infinitive:
He asked the ice to melt.

But 'causative verbs'do seem to be a topic in ESL teaching.
I saw a much better example on another web page.

Quote:

Causative Verbs

Causative verbs designate the action necessary to cause another action to happen. In "The devil made me do it." the verb "made" causes the "do" to happen. Here is a brief list of causative verbs, in no particular order: let, help, allow, have, require, allow, motivate, get, make, convince, hire, assist, encourage, permit, employ, force. Most of them are followed by an object (noun or pronoun) followed by an infinitive: "She allows her pet cockatiel to perch on the windowsill. She hired a carpenter to build a new birdcage."

Three causative verbs are exceptions to the pattern described above. Instead of being followed by a noun/pronoun and an infinitive, the causative verbs have, make and let are followed by a noun/pronoun and the base form of the verb (which is actually an infinitive with the "to" left off).

Professor Villa had her students read four short novels in one week.
She also made them read five plays in one week.
However, she let them skip the final exam.



However, the logic of linking this to the construction is flawed. Does this make 'pay' a causative verb?
He paid the builder to mend the roof.
It means he paid her. It gives the reason. It does require anything to actually happen or change! Whistle

James Morris
Posted: Friday, October 7, 2016 6:15:52 AM
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Joined: 9/17/2014
Posts: 13
Neurons: 510,664
Location: Washington, D. C., Washington, D.C., United States
Well, this "causative verb" confusion, along with a few other head scratching modern interpretations of English Grammar such as the discussions on "aspect" seem to be written for the ESL students that are trying to learn our language. Boo hoo!
thar
Posted: Friday, October 7, 2016 8:04:17 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,658
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I am a fluent speaker and have no idea of what many of these grammar lessons are about. And I have learnt several European languages through being taught, without knowing many of these terms, so it is not just 'native speaker advantage'.


[Edit - Comment about grammar terminology in general, not particularly about this one]

There are cases where, if an idea is strange to speakers of a particular language, learning to label it might help. But it worries me sometimes that the effort needed to learn all the terminology is wasteful and off-putting. It helps to know simple terms, but when understanding the terminology is more complicated than learning the language, I have to wonder whether it helps!

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