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causative verb


causative verb

In this sentence, let functions as a causative verb.


A verb--such as cause, allow, help, have, enable, keep, hold, let, force, require, and make--used to indicate that some person or thing helps to make something happen.

A causative verb, which can be in any tense, is followed by another verb form.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "I've forced them into confessing that they're sad, grey, lost, forgotten, dead and damned forever."
    (Dylan Thomas, letter to Bert Trick, July 1935)

  • "Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth."
    (Pablo Picasso)

  • "I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land."
    (Dr. Martin Luther King)

  • "That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold."
    (William Shakespeare, Macbeth)

  • "The convention in present-day linguistics is that a grammatical label should be based on a word of Romance origin--hence 'causative.' From this has arisen the misconception that cause is the protypical causative verb in English. It is not; make is. Cause is a causative verb but it has a more specialized meaning (implying direct causation) than make and it is much less common. Make differs from most other causative verbs, and from most other verbs that take to complement clauses, in that it omits the to in active clauses, although to must be included in the passive. (Compare The nurse made me swallow it with I was made to swallow it (by the nurse)."
    (Francis Katamba, Morphology. Routledge, 2004)
Also Known As: causative
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