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Causative clauses: making someone do something
CAUSATIVES: TO MAKE somebody DO something/ To HAVE something DONE.
In English, when a person wants to express the idea that someone's working for him/ her (somebody is making someone do something, or that someone is getting/ having something done,) he doesn't realise the predicament a French person is in. It may be the same in other languages. (I've noticed many non-French-speaking learners make the same mistakes as French people...) Let's compare:
1) Kyle made his younger sister work.
2) Kyle had his younger sister driven home.
In sentence 1, the verb in the infinitive has an active meaning: The young sister has acted! She has worked!
In sentence 2, the verb in the infinitive has a passive meaning: The young sister has endured the action! She was driven home.
Once that distinction between active and passive forms has been made and understood, things are becoming much simpler!
1) With an active meaning, use 'TO MAKE someone DO': => to make someone do something= to make + object + infinitive without to
- To make us lose weight, they starve us.
- Chris will make us miss our train if he doesn't arrive now. « us » is the DOC (direct object complement) of 'make' and the subject of 'miss'.
The subject of the sentence and of the main verb (make) is initiating the action, but not doing it himself/ herself.
In the United States, and in other countries, or regions, 'make' is often replaced by 'have' in that construction: The police had the witness tell them what he saw.
The construction with 'to make', often implies a coercive nuance:
- I will make you work! (= Otherwise you wouldn't!)
In the passive form, this construction needs a complete infinitive => to be made TO do something
- He was made to hand over the money he had stolen.
2) With a passive meaning use TO GET/ HAVE something DONE: = Subject + get/ have + object + past participle
- My parents got/ had the living room repainted.
- They had a new school built.
In those two sentences, the actions were passive: The living room was repainted. The school was built. The actions were really endured.
The attention is focused on the action and its result.
- Dad will have his car repaired at the garage because he can't do it himself.
- Mum had/got her purse stolen and reported it at the police station.
3) A few cases are exceptions... (alas!) and will have to be learnt because they don't obey the 2 rules!
- to grow flowers or vegetables;
- to keep somebody waiting;
- to be run over (by a car);
- to get oneself invited; ......and especially:
- to make oneself understood/ heard/ obeyed/ respected.
Now, it's your turn to decide whether you'll use one expression or the other in the following sentences...
Go for it!
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