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Causative Verbs Posted by on Aug 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

Maria mi ha scritto di nuovo per fare un blog sui verbi causativi! Grazie ancora a te Maria, ed eccolo! 

Causative Verbs

As the name suggests, a causative verb is a verb that causes or demand actions be done by others. The two causative verbs in Italian are fare and lasciare, and today we’ll look at both. 


Non farmi arrabbiare! – Don’t make me mad! 

*Ti faccio vedere la città – I’ll show you the city 

*Mi sono fatta tagliare i capelli – I got my hair cut 

Il libro ti ha fatto piangere – The book made you cry

You will see that the verb fare is conjugated appropriately, and then is followed by the infinitive, which is the action being caused. 

*These two sentences have nouns immediately after them which are considered “direct objects”, and we know it is direct because they are the only object in the sentence. Let’s see what happens when we have two nouns, or objects, in a sentence: 

Ho fatto lavare la macchina a mia madre – I made my mother wash the car

With the two objects above, la macchina is direct (or the object towards which the action is being directed), and a mia madre is indirect (or the person that must carry out the action on the direct object). An easy way to distinguish between indirect is also with the pronoun a placed before mia madre – to my mother, I made wash the car! 

(Of course, some verbs in Italian take indirect object pronouns, and some do not, and they must simply be memorized. In English for example, we do not say *I made to my mother wash the car, but *I made my mother wash the car. In English it is direct, in Italian it is not!) 

Of course, we can replace these direct/indirect objects with pronouns, and in the above case, a double object pronoun! 

Ho fatto lavare la macchina a mia madre = Gliela ho fatta lavare = I made her wash it. (Notice how I made agreement in the past tense with the direct object pronoun, la macchina, which is feminine.) 

This chart below will show you double object pronouns and how they combine between indirect object pronouns (left column) and direct object pronouns (top row). 

lo la li le ne
mi me lo me la me li me le me ne
ti te lo te la te li te le te ne
gli glielo gliela glieli gliele gliene
le/Le glielo gliela glieli gliele gliene
ci ce lo ce la ce li ce le ce ne
vi ve lo ve la ve li ve le ve ne
gli glielo gliela glieli gliele gliene


Mio padre mi ha lasciato usare la macchina – My dad let me use the car

Ti lascio riposare – I’ll let you rest

*Lasciamo il mio amico scegliere il ristorante – let’s let my friend choose the restaurant 

**Me l’hai lasciato scegliere – you let me choose it

*In this sentence we see that there are two objects, yet one of them does not have a preposition in front of it such as with fare. That is because lasciare does not take indirect objects and fare does!

**Here is an example of two pronouns in a sentence with lasciare. 

Allora, tocca a te! In what other ways can we use these causative verbs? How about in what other tenses?

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  1. mariella:

    Utilissimo articolo… grazie!!

  2. Lili:

    un bellissimo articolo!
    ho domanda: perche usa “ho fatta” invece di “ho fatto”?

    • Bridgette:

      @Lili Lili, when there is a direct object pronoun in the past tense, you need to make agreement in number and gender of the direct object. 🙂

  3. Charlie DeWeese:

    «Me l’hai lasciato scegliere»
    È corretto che «me» sia l’oggetto diretto di lasciare e «l’» sia l’oggetto diretto di scegliere?

  4. Maria:

    Moltissimi grazie Bridgette per la spiegazione. Mi piacerebbe fare degli esercizi con i pronomi doppi che mi sono difficile a capire.

    Per esempio ho provato a fare questi: Ti faccio vedere la città te la faccio vedere
    Mi sono fatta tagliare i capelli me li sono tagliati
    Il libro ti ha fatto piangere te l’ha fatto piangere?

    Lasciamo il mio amico scegliere il ristorante glielo lasciamo scegliere

    Buon lavoro,

  5. Phil Page:

    This aspect of the language I find quite hard going and one that needs regular revision. So thank you for this.

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