Causative verbs: let, make, have, get, help

The verbs let, make, have, get and help are called ‘causative’ verbs because they cause something to happen. As such, these verbs are used in a causative sentence structure.

Causative verb LET:

Meaning: allow someone to do something.

Structure: Let + person/thing + verb

Example sentences:

We couldn’t let our daughter adopt a kitten because she’s allergic to cats.

My brother let me use his computer when mine broke down.

Sarah never lets anyone tell her what to do.

Causative verb MAKE:

Meaning: force or require someone to do something.

Structure: Make + person + verb

Example sentences:

They make students exercise regularly.

John’s mum made him eat his dinner.

His parents tried to make him be a better person.

Causative verb HAVE:

Meaning: give someone the responsibility to do something.

Structure: Have + person + verb

Example sentences:

We had a painter paint our appartment.

Sheilla had a hairdresser do her hair.

Paul had a mechanic fix his car.

Causative verb GET:

Meaning: convince/persuade someone to do something.

Structure: Get + person + to + verb

Jane got her son to help her with the dishes.

She got her boyfriend to buy her an expensive ring.

I got my neighbor to help me carry my suitcase.

Causative verb HELP:

Meaning: give aid to someone in doing something.

Structure: Help + person + (to) verb

Note: (after “help” you can use the infinitive with to (to do) or bare infinitive (do).

Example sentences:

Helen helped me (to) do my homework.

A cup of coffee in the morning helps me (to) wake up.

My colleague helped me (to) write my CV.

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Other ways to say “however”

Don’t you agree that “however” is a bit overused word? Well, here are some adequate alternatives:

After all

All the same

Albeit

Alternatively

Although

Anyhow

At any rate

Be that as it may

But

By way of contrast

Conversely

Despite that

Even so

For all that

In contrast

In whatever way

Having said that

In spite of

Meanwhile

Nonetheless

Notwithstanding

On the contrary

On the other hand

Otherwise

Per contra

Regardless

Still

Still and all

Then again

That being said

Though

Whatever

Whatsoever

Whereas

Without regard to

Yet

How to Learn English

The ideal way of studying a language hasn’t been found yet, but here are some advice on how you should study a language in order to get on fluency and build self-confidence. We all know that everyone learns differently but here are some methods you can use. If you’re diligent and persevere to them, I assure you the results won’t miss.

  1. Vocabulary

Vocabulary is the foundation of any language. It is well-known that we learn faster if we repeat words and expressions. We also need to be constant and study vocabulary over the whole week. It’s less boring if you learn the words and phrases in the context and use them as soon as possible in your speaking practice. That way you won’t forget them.  Learn frequent vocabulary (everyday English) and/or vocabulary you need for your job or studies.

  1. Grammar

Grammar is the structure which keeps vocabulary in order. Some of you may feel that grammar is boring or difficult to understand and avoid learning it. You should start from easier stuff and try not to skip any essential lessons; eventually, you’ll be able to understand grammar rules which are more complex and do not exist in your native language. Print yourself a practice worksheet with a grammar unit and go through it. Check your answers and do it again in a day or two. In due course of time, you’ll notice that your speech is much more meaningful and complex and confident; moreover, you’ll struggle less to say things you have in mind.

  1. Reading

You should try and read (adapted?) books written in English without using a dictionary. You may not understand everything as if you read it in your native language. However, this practice is important because it enables you to ‘shift your mind’ to another language even though you understand only 50 or 70 percent of the text. Practice this and you’ll realise that you speak with ease although you don’t understand where your sentences come from! Sooner than you expect, you’ll become bilingual. Wouldn’t that be great?

  1. Listening

Every now and then watch films and TV series without subtitles. It will add to your ‘sense of language’ just like the reading practice. Moreover, you’ll become aware of the intonation and sentence stress, which is most probably different than in your native language. This practice will help you hear better and you’ll definitely stop complaining about actors speaking too fast.

  1. Writing

It may sound unimportant but writing can add a great deal to your language skills. You can try to write an email, an essay or rewrite another text. It will definitely improve your spelling, especially if you write with a spelling checker.

  1. Speaking

Do you know a native speaker to talk to in English? Don’t worry about that; you can try talking to yourself in front of the mirror when nobody’s watching! Even better, you can talk to your friends, family, and colleagues. Try to complete your sentences and don’t worry about making mistakes. Remember that fluency comes where anxiety goes!

Relative Clauses with WHO, WHICH and THAT

We can use relative clauses to make two sentences into one sentence.

 

This is my friend. He lives in New York
There are three books. They form the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series
I’ve got a camera It takes great photos.

 

This is my friend who lives in New York.

There are three books which form the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series.

I’ve got a camera that takes great photos.

The relative clause gives us more information about the person or thing in the main clause.

We introduce a relative clause with a relative pronoun (who, which, that)

WHO is for a relative clause about people:

Do you know the man who owns that shop?

Stephenson is the man who built the locomotive.

WHICH is for a relative clause about animals or things:

I have got a new mobile phone which cost $100.

The horse which won the race has died.

THAT can be used for people, animals, and things:

I’ve contacted all the students that took the exam.

It’s a phone that plays music.

 

Exercises:

  1. This is the man _________ saved the child.
  2. This is the car________ he bought 10 years ago.
  3. Hose offered an apology ________ Fiona didn’t accept.
  4. Brian said goodnight to his roommate Justin _______ continued playing video games.
  5. He drank the juice _____ he made himself.
  6. Jane, _______ hates spiders, carry bug-stomping boots wherever she goes.

 

Answers: 1.who, that; 2.which, that; 3.which; 4.who; 5.which, that; 6.who

Order of Adjectives

 

We sometimes put more than one adjective before a noun. Their order is as follows:

  1. Number or quantity (one, two…, a few, many…)
  2. Opinion or quality (nice, ugly, beautiful)
  3. Size (large, small, short)
  4. Shape (round, square)
  5. Age (two-year-old, young)
  6. Color (yellow, brownish)
  7. Origin (Italian, Medieval)
  8. Material (wooden, glass)
  9. Purpose (cooking, driving)

We normally separate adjectives with commas, and we use determiner (a, the, this, those, my, their, some…) before an adjective + noun phrase:

Two beautiful, tall, fifteen-year-old, Australian twin sisters.

A beautiful, small, wooden table.

This new, brownish, Italian piano.

Some round, green, metal, cooking spoons.

 

Exercise:

Put the adjectives in their natural order:

  1. Silky / white / trousers.
  2. Yellow and green / long / curtains.
  3. Blond / tall / woman
  4. Big / plastic / round / spoon.
  5. Funny / three / black and white hats.

(Key: 1. White, silky trousers. 2. Long, yellow and green curtains. 3. Tall, blond woman. 4. Big, round, plastic spoon. 5. Three funny, black and white hats.)