One-Point English Lesson: Causative + Infinitive

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

The boss ordered him to do the work

I mentioned yesterday that we use the causative form of make, have, and let with a base verb. When we use the causative form of other verbs, such as cause, command, get, order, etc, and the object of those verbs is performing the action, we use the infinitive form (VerbING) of the main verb. Let’s look at some examples of these today.

In its causative form, get has the meaning of “persuade.” When you get someone to do something for your, you have persuaded them to do it.

  • The boss got Jack to attend the company golf outing on Sunday.
  • I got him to agree to a five-year contract, instead of his original proposal for a ten-year contract.
  • See if you can get Jane to bake her famous apple pie for the party tomorrow.

Other verbs such as cause, command, get, order, want, etc, do not have any different meaning or nuance when used in the causative form.

  • The hurricane caused the power to go out for almost one million people in New York.
  • The pet owner commanded her dog to attack the burglar.
  • Jack ordered his son to clean up the back yard.
  • I want him to pack the glasses and dishes carefully.

When the object of the verb in a causative sentence is the receiver of the action, we use the past participle form of the verb. Compare these sentences:

  • The boss made Jack work on the report all day. “Jack” is the object of the verb and performs the action “work.”
  • The boss ordered the report completed by the end of the day. “The report” is the object of the verb and receives the action “completed.”

Here are a few more examples:

  • I want him to pack the glasses and dishes carefully.
  • I want the glasses and dishes packed carefully.
  • The bookkeeper got all of the files finished before noon.
  • We are going to have our house painted next month.

We often use this type of grammar with get and have when ask or pay someone to do a job or perform a service for us. I have a previous lesson that deals with using the causative form of get and have :

  • I have my hair cut at the barbershop on Madison Ave.
  • Joe usually has his suits cleaned at the ABC shop.
  • I need to get my car serviced soon.

Did anyone make you do something today? Leave me a comment here and let me know.

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