How To Use Causative Verbs To Read A Room Ep 696

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📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 3780 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 19 min

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What Causative Verbs Reveal About Relationships #Grammar #English

🚀 Dive into our captivating lesson on 'Causative Verbs.' Perfect for all levels - Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. Get ready to unravel the subtleties of English and enhance your speaking, listening, and understanding skills.

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✔Lesson transcript:

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
⭐ Steve Jobs

In this lesson, you dive into the world of causative verbs, uncovering their subtle meanings in English. This is key to understanding complex relationships and interactions. As you learn, you'll grasp how these verbs portray influence, persuasion, and permission.

This understanding is vital for fluently navigating English conversations, especially in understanding the deeper context of relationships and actions. Embrace this lesson, as it's a stepping stone to advanced English fluency, enhancing your ability to 'read the room' and pick up on nuanced expressions.

It always seems impossible until it's done.
⭐ Nelson Mandela

🌟 Join us on for an easy guide to causative verbs. Perfect for English learners! #LearnEnglish #CausativeVerbs

More About This Lesson

Discover the power of causative verbs in English with Adept English! Our lesson delves into these verbs, revealing their crucial role in understanding relationships and subtle English meanings. Perfect for those learning British English, this lesson offers in-depth insights into phrases like "Grandma had me buy bread" and "I got my husband to buy me a new computer," unveiling the dynamics of authority, persuasion, and permission.

One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.
⭐ Malala Yousafzai
  1. Understanding Causative Verbs: Learn subtle meanings of verbs like 'have', 'get', 'make', 'let'.
  2. Nuance in Relationships: Grasp how these verbs hint at relationships and social dynamics.
  3. Real-life Examples: Apply verbs to everyday scenarios, enhancing practical language use.
  4. Quizzes for Testing: Assess your understanding through quizzes, reinforcing learning.
  5. Subtle English Uses: Notice fine differences in verb usage, crucial for fluency.
  6. Listening Skills: Improve listening by following along with varied sentence structures.
  7. Cultural Context: Gain insights into English-speaking cultures through language use.
  8. Basic to Advanced Levels: Progress from simple words to more complex language structures.
  9. Interactive Learning: Engage actively with content, making learning more effective.
  10. Access to Resources: Discover additional learning materials, like the 500 Words Course.

Benefits of our listen & learn approach to learning

  • Enhanced Comprehension: Grasp the subtle implications behind English sentences.
  • Improved Fluency: Learn to 'read the room' and express yourself more fluently.
  • Cultural Awareness: Understand the cross-cultural use of causative verbs.
  • Legal and Professional Relevance: Recognize the importance of these verbs in legal and formal contexts.

Reasons to Engage:

  1. Causative Verbs and Relationships: Understand how verbs like 'make', 'get', and 'have' reflect relationship dynamics.
  2. Interactive Learning: Engage with quizzes and examples for practical understanding.
  3. Cultural and Contextual Insights: Discover the varying use of these verbs across different cultures and settings.
  4. Overcome Common Fears: Address fears like misinterpreting English meanings, inadequate vocabulary, and making mistakes.
  5. Practical Advice: Gain actionable tips to master complex grammar structures and improve communication in various contexts.
  6. Personalized Pace: Learn at your own speed, ensuring gradual and effective improvement.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.
⭐ Winston Churchill

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FAQs on Mastering Causative Verbs in British English

Learning causative verbs in English is like unlocking a secret garden of understanding. Each verb is a key, revealing the intricate relationships and subtle meanings woven through conversations, much like discovering hidden paths and secret corners in an enchanted garden.

  1. What Are Causative Verbs and How Do They Enhance Understanding of English Relationships? Causative verbs, like 'have', 'get', 'make', and 'let', imply a cause-and-effect relationship in actions. They're crucial in subtly indicating types of relationships and interactions between people. Understanding them helps you "read the room" and grasp the nuances in English, enhancing your comprehension of interpersonal dynamics.
  2. Can You Explain the Subtle Differences Among Various Causative Verbs? Absolutely! 'To have someone do something' implies a task is given willingly. 'To get someone to do something' involves persuasion or agreement. 'To make someone do something' suggests compulsion or lack of choice. Lastly, 'to let someone do something' indicates permission or a kind gesture.
  3. How Do Causative Verbs Aid in Speaking English More Fluently? Causative verbs add depth and subtlety to your conversations. They're not just verbs; they're storytelling tools that reveal intentions and relationships. By mastering them, you speak English not just correctly, but with a refined understanding of its cultural and contextual layers.
  4. Are There Any Tips for Practising and Mastering These Verbs? Practice makes perfect! Try filling in blanks in sentences with the appropriate causative verb. Listening to examples in context, like in podcasts or dialogues, can also be immensely helpful. Pay attention to how these verbs alter the meaning of sentences.
  5. How Do Causative Verbs Reflect British Culture and Social Interactions? In British English, politeness and indirectness are often valued. Causative verbs are perfect tools for this, allowing speakers to request, persuade, or command in a way that's socially attuned. They reflect the subtleties of British social etiquette and can be key in understanding and integrating into British culture.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Causative: Causing something to happen or making it happen.
  • Subtle: Not loud, bright, noticeable, or obvious in any way.
  • Coercive: Using force or threats to make someone do something.
  • Reluctantly: Unwillingly or hesitantly.
  • Persuasion: The action of convincing someone to do or believe something.
  • Impression: An idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone.
  • Anticipating: Expecting or predicting something to happen.
  • Gentle: Soft and not harsh; kind in behaviour or actions.
  • Nuance: A small difference in sound, feeling, appearance, or meaning.
  • Consolidate: To make something stronger or more solid.

Most Frequently Used Words:


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Transcript: How To Use Causative Verbs To Read A Room

Do you have difficulties with causative verbs? Find out in this podcast.

Hi there. Have you ever found yourself puzzled by sentences like these? 'Grandma had me buy bread'? Or 'My sister made me do the washing up'? Or ‘I got my husband to buy me a new computer’?Today, we're looking at 'causative verbs' and unlocking their subtle meanings. These are common verbs, but here they’re being used in a very specific way. Causative verbs - meanings where there’s a cause and an effect.

If you struggle with the meanings of these types of sentences, you’re not alone. Let’s spend some time today understanding causative verbs. They sometimes indicate the type of relationship between people, their interaction. And these are examples of more subtle meanings in English - understanding these ways of using verbs will ‘help you read the room’ and better understand people’s relationships. Stay with me until the end of this podcast, and I’ll give you a quiz so you can test your understanding here.

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

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Causative verbs - I explain, with examples!

OK, so causative verbs. Lets go back and see if you understand the meaning of these English sentences? Let’s use these as our examples.

  • Grandma had me buy bread when she didn’t need any.
  • I got my husband to buy me a new computer for my birthday.
  • My sister made me do the washing up.
  • My teacher let me leave the classroom early today.

So ‘to have someone to do something’, ‘to get someone to do something’, ‘to let someone do something’ and ‘to make someone do something’ - these are the verbs I’m talking about. They indicate that someone is ‘causing an action’ - that’s why they’re ‘causative verbs’. But they all mean something slightly different - they can mean ‘allowing’, ‘requesting’, ‘expecting’ or ‘forcing’ another person to do something.


An image of a classic 1950s classroom. Unlock Secret English: Use Causative Verbs Like a Pro!

©️ Adept English 2023

’To have someone do something’

The first one - ‘to have someone do something’. And the example I gave - ‘Grandma had me buy bread when she didn’t need any’.

It's like saying, 'Grandma gave me the task of buying bread.' It's a subtle way of showing someone's influence over an action. Here it implies that grandma had either ‘given me the impression she needed bread’ or grandma had ‘asked me to go and buy bread’. There’s a little bit of a suggestion of service here - it could be that grandma’s not well enough to go buy her own bread, so you do it for her. Or grandma’s given the impression of needing bread, so you go off to buy some for her. The cause here - is grandma’s request ‘Please get me bread’ or the perception that bread is needed. The ‘I’ll have someone do something’ sentence implies that the person I’m requesting to do the action won’t object, they won’t resist. They’ll do the task gladly and willingly - or at least that’s the impression that I want to give to you! So if you ‘have someone do something for you’, essentially you’re ‘giving them the responsibility’ for doing it and you’re not anticipating that the person will object.

‘You need some extra chairs for the party? I’ll have my husband bring some over for you’. So the idea here is that the person speaking will ask her husband to bring the chairs over - and it implies he will definitely say ‘Yes’. ‘I only have to ask him and he’ll do it willingly cos he’s a lovely chap!’ You also might hear this in a context where one person is ‘serving’ another. ‘I’ll have the waiter bring a clean glass’. ‘I’ll have the bellhop carry our bags up to the hotel room’. That sounds old fashioned to me, like something out of an Agatha Christie novel maybe - but bellhops or ‘bellmen’ are still common in the US, I believe. And maybe in the UK too, but in posher hotels that the ones I go to!

So ‘to have someone do something’ means ‘I’ll request it and they’ll do it willingly’.

’To get someone to do something’

Second one - have you ever convinced someone to do something for you? Perhaps persuading my husband to buy me a new computer? So this is 'to get someone to do something'. It's about persuasion, making a request that someone agrees to, perhaps even reluctantly. ‘I got my husband to buy me a new computer for my birthday’. This one means either that ‘I asked my husband to buy me a new computer’ and he said ‘Yes’ and went and got one. Or that ‘I persuaded him to buy me a new computer’, even though he didn’t want to. So although the husband does buy the computer here, there’s the sense of a little more respect. ‘I got him to…’ means ‘I put in a request and he agreed’. He could’ve said ‘No’. If I say here instead ‘I had him buy me a new computer’ that suggests that he didn’t have much power to resist.

And sometimes we use ‘to get’ when we mean we’re making use of a service - so we might talk about the action, the ‘service’, without mentioning the person who is going to do this for us. So ‘I’m getting my hair cut tomorrow’. Or ‘I got my computer repaired’ or ‘You’re going to get your cat groomed’. Notice in this use of ‘get’, it’s not ‘getting someone to do something’ which uses an infinitive like ‘to buy’, instead it’s ‘getting something done’, so it uses a past participle, like ‘cut’, ‘repaired’ or ‘groomed’.

’To make someone do something’

Third one - ‘I made my sister do the washing up’. So we’re moving on to a stronger meaning: 'to make someone do something'. This one's forceful. It's like I had to insist my sister wash the dishes. She didn't want to, but I made it clear it was her turn. Here, 'to make' indicates a lack of choice, a bit of pressure. It could be that I threatened to punch and kick her if she didn’t do the washing up, but more likely I went in with some heavy persuasion. And my sister relented and did the washing up. It suggests two things - I was determined that my sister would do it and set about making it happen. So it was slightly what we call ‘coercive’, COERCIVE - the person on the receiving end of the ‘made’ had little choice! And it implies there was resistance - my sister didn’t want to do the washing up - and she wouldn’t have done it, if I hadn’t made her. Does that make sense?

’To let someone do something’

Fourth one - ‘My teacher let me leave the classroom early today’. In contrast, 'to let someone do something' is gentler. It's about permission. Often it's a kind gesture, showing flexibility and understanding. 'To let' is more informal and often used in everyday conversation. In this sentence the ‘let me’ could be replaced by the more formal verb ‘to permit’ - ‘My teacher permitted me’ - that’s ‘PERMIT’. Or you could say ‘My teacher allowed me’, that’s ‘to allow’, ALLOW. It’s about the level of formality. So ‘to let’ is the least formal, ‘to allow’ is in the middle and ‘to permit’ is the most formal. So ‘My teacher let me leave the classroom early today’ - this might have happened whether or not the person speaking had asked to leave early. But the clear expectation for the person speaking was that they were expecting to stay longer. Again does that make sense? ‘Leaving early wasn’t a given - it was the teacher’s choice to allow it’. ‘She let me’

Crack Verb Tenses For Fluent English 🕒🗨 Quick Challenge

Let’s practise how causative verbs help you to ‘read the room’

These small verbs are crucial in English. They help you understand nuances and intentions behind actions. It's not just about the words, but about the stories they tell. These little, tiny English verbs might not sound that different, but the differences in meaning are important to understanding ‘what’s going on’. It’s what we call ‘picking up the nuances’. And again it’s that idea that you need to ‘read the room’, if your level of English is going to be advanced. So tiny, little words ‘had me’, ‘got me’, ‘made me’, ‘let me’ - they’re all in the most common 500 words - but it’s this subtle use, this different meaning. And notice the slightly different forms. ‘I’ll get her to’ is the only one that puts a ‘to’ in front of the verb. So, careful listening, to how they're used in different contexts is important.

Let’s practise, let’s do a test where you ‘fill in the blanks’. I’ll read some sentences and you see if you can supply the missing verb. It’s going to be ‘made or make’, ‘have or had’, ‘get or got’ or ‘let’, which is the same form, LET in all tenses. Here goes - which word fits best? I’ll say ‘blank’ in the gap.

Quiz on causative verbs

  1. She __________ her dad to give her a lift to the party.
  2. I __________ my mother buy me some new socks by complaining a lot about the old ones.
  3. I __________ my cat sleep on the bed because otherwise he gets lonely and cries outside the door.
  4. My mother __________ me make cakes all afternoon, even though I didn’t want to.
  5. Yesterday I __________ my son stay off school, because I felt sorry for him as his hamster had died.
  6. I’ll __________ my daughter to give you a call and then you can talk through the interview process.
  7. I’ll __________ my son carry your suitcases for you - they must be so heavy.
  8. The teacher __________ me read out my essay to the rest of the class, even though I didn’t want to!
  9. I’m going to __________ my ears pierced next year.

That’s the end of the test. How did you do? If you’re not sure or you need more time - then stop the podcast here and go back through it again.

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Answers to causative verb quiz

OK, here are the answers!

  1. She got her dad to give her a lift to the party. She put in a request for a lift and dad said ‘Yes’.
  2. I made my mother buy me some new socks by complaining a lot about the old ones. This one sounds like I did a lot of complaining about the old socks - such that my mother gave in and agreed to buy new ones.
  3. I let my cat sleep on my bed because otherwise he gets lonely and cries outside my door. So this one is about giving permission to the cat.
  4. My mother made me make cakes all afternoon, even though I didn’t want to. Here either ‘had me make cakes’ or ‘made me make cakes’ would do. ‘Had me’ is perhaps slightly more polite. ‘Made me’ implies more strongly that I didn’t want to do it!
  5. Yesterday I let my son stay off school, because I felt sorry for him as his hamster had died. So again this is giving permission. You could also say ‘I had my son stay off school’ in this one too. But ‘let’ is the more obvious answer.
  6. I’ll get my daughter to give you a call and then you can talk through the interview process. So here ‘get’ as it’s the only one that uses ‘to’ with the verb. And here it sounds as though a polite request will be made to my daughter and she will agree and make the call to you.
  7. I’ll have my son carry your suitcases for you - they must be so heavy. So again, this one implies that the person speaking has some authority over her son. She ‘only has to ask’ and he will willingly carry those suitcases.
  8. The teacher made me read out my essay to the rest of the class, even though I didn’t want to! So that’s slightly coercive. I didn’t want to read out my essay to the class, but the teacher made me - I felt like a had no choice!
  9. I’m going to get my ears pierced next year. So this one is ‘to get’ with a past participle, which tells you the person is ‘using a service’ - here, ear piercing!

OK. Hopefully causative verbs just got a bit easier for you! Or at least those four most common ones did.


As ever, give us feedback on this podcast - was it easy? Was it difficult? Was it just at the right level? And listen to it a number of times to consolidate your learning.

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

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