Causative Form‏‎ in English Grammar

Sentence Structure

A picture of a dentist probing a mouth.The causative form is a special form of passive voice‏‎ we use when we speak about a professional service which someone does for us.

He’s having a tooth repaired.

She is having her nails painted.

As you can see, it’s used to talk about someone doing something for us, usually a professional or technical job which we can’t do ourselves.

I am having cable installed.

He’s having his tonsils removed.

Normally we don’t have an agent here, that is we don’t specify who is doing the job. This is usually because it’s obvious from the context.

Often we use the causative form to talk about bad experiences. Again, we don’t normally know who did the job but we can guess.

She had her house burgled.

We had our money stolen.

We had our car vandalized.

We can also use get instead of have but this is more informal.

I’m getting my hair cut this afternoon.

She got her purse stolen!

Making the Causative Form

We make the causative form thus:

{subject} + {have} + {object} + {past participle}

She will have her house decorated.

They are having their garden landscaped.

He is going to have his car resprayed.

Image © ktpupp

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2 Comments

  1. Dharmbir kumar

    Very lucid explanation

    • Pete West

      Thank you for your feedback!