Learn The Difference Between LET And MAKE: Causative Grammar in English

Michael Grammar Leave a Comment

What’s the difference between LET and MAKE? For example, should I say MAKE someone do something or LET someone do something? This question can be answered by the study of causative grammar. Causative grammar in English is used to show that one person causes or enables another person to do something. MAKE and LET are two verbs that can be use in a causative way, so let’s have a look at those today! Look at the following short paragraph.

My sister said she would let me drive her new car today. It’s a hot looking, very fast black Benz. I thought I was going to drive to the beach, but she made me drive to the shopping mall. Unbelievable!

Now, I’m going to let you know the difference between let and make, but don’t worry, I won’t make you do any homework. Let’s take a look at these two sentences, starting from let:

  • Lori let Michael drive her new car.

When Lori lets Michael drive her car, Michael wanted to do that, and Lori gave him the ok to do it. Let, in the causative form, shows permission.

The grammar is [someone A] lets [someone B] do something. Here are some more examples:

  • Joe’s mom let him have two slices of pie for dessert. ← Joe wanted two slices of pie, and his mom gave him permission to have them.
  • My wife lets me go drinking with my friends on Friday nights. ← I want to go drinking with my friends, and my wife gives me permission to do that.

Next, let’s have a look at make in the causative form:

  • Lori made Michael drive to the shopping mall.

When Lori makes Michael drive to the shopping mall, Michael didn’t want to or plan to do that. However, Lori forced (or pushed) him to do it. Make, in the causative form, shows force or a command. When someone makes you do something, you don’t have another choice.

The grammar is [someone A] makes [someone B] do something.Here are some more examples:

  • Joe’s mom made him clean up the yard. ← Joe didn’t want to do that, his mom forced him to do so.
  • My wife made me go bowling on Friday night. ← I don’t want to go bowling, but she forced me to go.

Is that clear now? So when someone lets you do something, they give you the OK to do it. But when someone makes you do something, they force you to do it. Like I said, I won’t make you do any home work today. Instead,  I’ll let you choose how to remember this! But here is a question. Have you made anyone do anything recently?

If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

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