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Causative form as a voice?

English grammar help. Grammar questions from ESL learners

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Causative form as a voice?

Postby googl » Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:07 pm

Dear teacher,

I'd like to ask whether the causative "have sth. done" is a voice? I read that we recogonise 2 voices: active and passive, but I think that causative looks like another voice. I made this chart: active, passive and causative.

(to) do, (to) be done, (to) have it done
doing, being done, having it done
I do, I am done, I have it done
I did, I was done, I had it done
I have done, I have been done, I have had it done
I had done, I had been done, I had had it done
I am doing, I am being done, I am having it done
I will do, I will be done, I will have it done

and so on. Am I right? (Is it the 3rd voice?)
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Postby Alan » Fri Oct 01, 2004 4:17 am

I suppose that some linguists might be happy enough to call the causative form a 'voice', although the term is so little used these days (even for 'active' and 'passive') that there probably wouldn't be much interest in debating the matter!

There is, however, one respect in which a purist might object to applying the term 'voice' to the causative, and that is that what chiefly distinguishes active from passive is the differing set of correspondences that they exhibit between subject/object roles, on the one hand, and agent/patient roles, on the other, while a causative construction in that regard is seen to be essentially no more than a special type of active construction, in that the agent of a causative verb is still its grammatical subject.
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