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    • Join Date: Oct 2008
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    #1

    Causative structures (Someone has something done)

    My English teacher tried to teach us the use of causative structures.
    For that reason, he gave us these example

    Case 1

    "Ken cut his hair once a year."
    He said that this sentence is equal to "Ken has his hair cut once a year."

    I think that he did make a mistake on the first sentence, shouldn't it be "Ken cuts his hair once a year?"

    and most importantly,he didn't state where did he has his hair cut. So the example could be confusing since we don't know whether he cut his hair on his own.

    Case2

    He pointed out that "Ken has eaten all the sushi." is equal to "Ken has all the sushi eaten." ,which, I suppose, is mistaken considering the same reason.

    Is his really wrong in giving us such examples?

    Thanks for answering my question.
    Last edited by 999123; 15-Oct-2008 at 18:38.


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    #2

    Re: Causative structures (Someone has something done)

    Quote Originally Posted by 999123 View Post
    My English teacher tried to teach us the use of causative structures.
    For that reason, he gave us these example

    Case 1

    "Ken cut his hair once a year."
    He said that this sentence could be changed into "Ken has his hair cut once a year."

    I think that he did make a mistake on the first sentence, shouldn't it be "Ken cuts his hair once a year?"

    The present tense would be cuts, but the past tense would be cut.

    A) What happened to the fence?

    B) Someone cut through it yesterday.

    So there's nothing wrong with your teacher's sentence grammatically (although used to cut or would cut are better options (than just cut) if it is intended to have a past sense), but whether he intended to use the present or past tense is another issue.


    and most importantly,he didn't state where did he has his hair cut. So the example could be confusing since we don't know whether he cut his hair on his own.

    Well if it states that he cut his own hair the location isn't particulalry important: the main point is that he did it.

    Case2

    He pointed out that "Ken has eaten all the sushi." could be changed into "Ken has all the sushi eaten." ,which, I suppose, is mistaken considering the same reason.

    Ken has all the sushi eaten is possible if Ken, for instance, often has lots of sushi left over, and rather than letting it go to waste he asks people to eat it; but it's a very strange sentence.

    Is his really wrong in giving us such examples?

    I don't think he is wrong. Just keep reading and practising; there's lots of useful information on causative constructions on the internet.

    There are other useful examples. For instance none of your sentences specify an agent.


    He had his computer fixed by Richard.

    Thanks for answering my question.
    I am not a teacher.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Causative structures (Someone has something done)

    Quote Originally Posted by 999123 View Post
    my english teacher tried to teach us the use of causative structures.
    For that reason, he gave us these example

    case 1

    "ken cuts his hair once a year."
    he said that this sentence could be changed into "ken has his hair cut once a year."
    it can be, but the meaning changes. This means that someone else cuts his hair. He has his hair cut by someone else.


    i think that he did make a mistake on the first sentence, shouldn't it be "ken cuts his hair once a year?" yes, a simple mistake to make.

    and most importantly,he didn't state where did he has his hair cut. So the example could be confusing since we don't know whether he cut his hair on his own.
    yes we do. That is the whole point of your teacher's examples.
    if he cuts his hair, he does it himself. If he has his hair cut, someone else does it.
    look here for causative verbs.
    https://www.usingenglish.com/glossary/causative-verb.html



    case2

    he pointed out that "ken has eaten all the sushi." could be changed into "ken has all the sushi eaten." ,which, i suppose, is mistaken considering the same reason.
    as colloquim says, it's a strange sentence, but it illustrates the same feature - causative verbs. It is correct for the same reason.
    It's the difference between a person doing something themself; and having something done
    for them by others.

    is his really wrong in giving us such examples?
    no, he is correct. He made a small mistake in the cut/cuts example; and he chose a strange sentence for the second. The page above gives a few other examples.

    thanks for answering my question.
    r.


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    #4

    Re: Causative structures (Someone has something done)

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    r.
    That's what I keep saying. He usually not states the agent in the sentences that he thinks are the alternatives of causative structures. That appears to be confusing.

    I mean, your just can't understand that the action is done by someone else by simply reading one or two sentences like that.
    Last edited by 999123; 15-Oct-2008 at 13:24.


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    #5

    Re: Causative structures (Someone has something done)

    Exactly, 999123.
    And I would add that further confusion reigns when a native speaker tells you:

    "He has all the sushi eaten."
    Raymott: no, he (your teacher) is correct...and he chose a strange sentence for the second.
    Raymott does not indicate to you that the sentence is not just 'odd' but is grammatical incorrect, using the forms of the verbs as it does...because 'he' is not doing/has not done the 'eating' himself.

    The correct construction would be:

    He has had all the sushi eaten. - (as a bare minimum structure of the sentence).
    Last edited by David L.; 15-Oct-2008 at 16:26.

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    #6

    Re: Causative structures (Someone has something done)

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    "He has all the sushi eaten."
    Raymott: no, he (your teacher) is correct...and he chose a strange sentence for the second.
    Raymott does not indicate to you that the sentence is not just 'odd' but is grammatical [sic] incorrect, using the forms of the verbs as it does...because 'he' is not doing/has not done the 'eating' himself.

    The correct construction would be:

    He has had all the sushi eaten. - (as a bare minimum structure of the sentence).
    In yet another howler, David L is objecting to:
    "He has all the sushi eaten", but accepts "He has had all the sushi eaten".
    For all I can see, the first is in the simple present tense and the second in the present perfect.

    The teacher was contrasting an active sentence such as "He cuts his hair" with a causative sentence "He has his hair cut".
    Do you see the similarities:
    1. "He has the sushi eaten".
    2. "He has his hair cut".
    If one is grammatical, the other is.

    The reason I did not indicate that the sentence was not grammatical, is that it IS grammatical, as 999123's teacher has said, and as colloquium has agreed.
    David, this is similar to
    3. "He has all his hair cut off" (present tense);
    4. "He has had all his hair cut off" (present perfect).
    Are you claiming that sentence 2 is ungrammatical? Or that sentence 3, or 4. are ungrammatical? If not, why is sentence 1 ungrammatical.

    I'm beginning to lose faith in your ability to adequately correct me without making a bumbler out of yourself, David.
    Perhaps you could take a break and let the ops do it.


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    #7

    Re: Causative structures (Someone has something done)

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Exactly, 999123.
    And I would add that further confusion reigns when a native speaker tells you:

    "He has all the sushi eaten."
    Raymott: no, he (your teacher) is correct...and he chose a strange sentence for the second.
    Raymott does not indicate to you that the sentence is not just 'odd' but is grammatical incorrect, using the forms of the verbs as it does...because 'he' is not doing/has not done the 'eating' himself.

    The correct construction would be:

    He has had all the sushi eaten. - (as a bare minimum structure of the sentence).
    You are right about that. He should have shown us either the agent of the casuatives (the active form "Ken had his brother eat alll the sushi.") or put it in the way you did. So that the sentence can be changed into the form "Someone has something done (by someone else)"

    What he did, however , is misleading : when he says "He has eaten all the sushi" is the alternative of "He has all the sushi eaten." , we may wrongly believe that the causative structure functions the same way present participle tense does. (Forgive me and point it out if I make any grammatical mistakes here. It is hard for me to convey this idea in English.)


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    #8

    Re: Causative structures (Someone has something done)

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    In yet another howler, David L is objecting to:
    "He has all the sushi eaten", but accepts "He has had all the sushi eaten".
    For all I can see, the first is in the simple present tense and the second in the present perfect.

    The teacher was contrasting an active sentence such as "He cuts his hair" with a causative sentence "He has his hair cut".
    Do you see the similarities:
    1. "He has the sushi eaten".
    2. "He has his hair cut".
    If one is grammatical, the other is.

    The reason I did not indicate that the sentence was not grammatical, is that it IS grammatical, as 999123's teacher has said, and as colloquium has agreed.
    David, this is similar to
    3. "He has all his hair cut off" (present tense);
    4. "He has had all his hair cut off" (present perfect).
    Are you claiming that sentence 2 is ungrammatical? Or that sentence 3, or 4. are ungrammatical? If not, why is sentence 1 ungrammatical.

    I'm beginning to lose faith in your ability to adequately correct me without making a bumbler out of yourself, David.
    Perhaps you could take a break and let the ops do it.
    May be I should put it this way. The sentence "He has eaten all the sushi" is grammatically correct (It's the present perfect tense it showed). But it implies that He ate the sushi by himself. No one other than him ate the sushi , which means it is not the equivalent of "He has his sushi eaten".

    That's what I am talking about. If he failed to show us the use of causatives , then it doesn't matter whether sentence 1 Ken has eaten all the sushi is correct.

    In other words, I believe that he (my English teacher, he is not a NET of course) get confused about the present perfect tense and how causative structures are used
    Last edited by 999123; 15-Oct-2008 at 17:14.

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    #9

    Re: Causative structures (Someone has something done)

    Quote Originally Posted by 999123 View Post
    You are right about that. He should have shown us either the agent of the casuatives (the active form "Ken had his brother eat alll the sushi.") or put it in the way you did. So that the sentence can be changed into the form "Someone has something done (by someone else)"

    What he did, however , is misleading : when he says "He has eaten all the sushi" is the alternative of "He has all the sushi eaten." , we may wrongly believe that the causative structure functions the same way present participle tense does. (Forgive me and point it out if I make any grammatical mistakes here. It is hard for me to convey this idea in English.)
    Yes, your teacher could have been more clear.
    But even on this website, the agent is not mentioned. See below from Causative Verbs - Glossary Definition - UsingEnglish.com
    Term: Causative Verbs


    Definition:

    We use the causative when we do not carry out an action ourselves, but are responsible for the action being performed.Eg: She had her car serviced last week- (She didn't service the car herself, but the car was serviced because of her; she took it to a garage and asked them to do it.)
    Formation:

    Have or get + Noun Phrase + Past Participle

    See the formation "Have + the sushi + eaten". "He has the sushi eaten".
    The agent is not necessarily given in the sentence, but you are right in that some people would find it easier to understand if it was. Perhaps you could suggest this to your teacher.


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    #10

    Re: Causative structures (Someone has something done)

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Yes, your teacher could have been more clear.
    But even on this website, the agent is not mentioned. See below from Causative Verbs - Glossary Definition - UsingEnglish.com
    Term: Causative Verbs


    Definition:

    We use the causative when we do not carry out an action ourselves, but are responsible for the action being performed.Eg: She had her car serviced last week- (She didn't service the car herself, but the car was serviced because of her; she took it to a garage and asked them to do it.)
    Formation:

    Have or get + Noun Phrase + Past Participle

    See the formation "Have + the sushi + eaten". "He has the sushi eaten".
    The agent is not necessarily given in the sentence, but you are right in that some people would find it easier to understand if it was. Perhaps you could suggest this to your teacher.
    I had read it already before I post this topic. Let me just ask you a question. Could you Native speaker know that someone other than him ate his sushi by reading the sentence "He has eaten all the sushi" ?

    It's not sensible at all! The sentence implies that he ate all his sushi.

    In addition, I did refer to the below webpage as well
    http://esl.about.com/od/grammarstruc.../causative.htm
    http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzo...ammar/caus.htm
    Last edited by Red5; 23-Nov-2008 at 13:52. Reason: Corrected links

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