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Causative Verbs



Causative verbs designate the action necessary to cause another action to happen:

  • let, allow, permit, have
  • make, require, force, compel, get
  • motivate, convince, encourage, invite
  • help, assist
  • hire, employ

A causative verb answers the question,
"What does doing this cause or motivate?"

Another way of looking at causative verbs is that they are an action that brings about another activity by way of an indirect object: a verb that causes a verbal. Note in the following sentence how the verb "made" causes the verb "do" to happen, by way of "her":

Her evil stepsisters made her do the laundry twice a day.

Causative Verb

Most are followed by an object (noun or pronoun) followed by an infinitive (see "Verbals"):

She allows her pet cockatiel to perch on the windowsill.
She hired a carpenter to build a new birdcage.



Diagramming a causative verb is no different from diagramming any other verb with an indirect object: the indirect object where an implied prepositional object would ordinarily go under the verb (but without any preposition, of course). The noun infinitive phrase, regardless if the infinitive particle is included, goes where the direct object would go, elevated as noun verbal phrases are:


Last Updated: 02/08/2015
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
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