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Causative Verbs: Have, Let, Make

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What's the difference in meaning between these sentence? Pay particular attention to the bold verbs:

She's going to clean her room.

She's going to have her room cleaned.

I let her clean her room.

I made her clean her room.

Have, Let and Make

These three words are causative verbs. They show us that some person or thing helps to make something happen; they express what causes an action to happen.


Compare these two sentences:

I am going to cut my hair.

I am going to have my hair cut.

I am going to cut my hair means, I will do it myself.

I am going to have my hair cut means, someone will do it for me. We would assume the speaker was doing to a hairdresser's.

Get can also have the same meaning e.g. I am going to get my hair cut.

When we use have we are saying someone will do something for us; we give someone the responsibility.


Compare these two sentences:

I rode Simon's bike.

Simon let me ride his bike.

The difference between these sentences is that let shows there is permission; we have been allowed.


Compare these two sentences:

I wore a skirt.

She made me wear a skirt.

When we make someone do something, we force them to do it; they have no choice. We make people do things they don't want to do.

Now choose the correct verb in each sentence:

  • 1) I really should ___ my teeth checked.

  • 2) My dad never ___ me drive his car.

  • 3) My teacher ___ me stay late after school. I didn't want to.

  • 4) Do you know where I can ___ my suit dry cleaned?

  • 5) Has your girlfriend ever ___ you do her homework?

  • 6) We ___ our daughter stay up late on the weekend.

  • 7) Have you ever ___ a pizza delivered from that restaurant?

  • 8) My parents ___ me wash the dishes every day.