OF ENABLEMENT AND OBLIGATION IN ENGLISH
Verbs of enablement and obligation, or
often cause problems for students.
In English, they have some rather peculiar structures that may not
to structures in your own language. Here are the basic rules, to help
master these important verbs.
of obligation or authority
authorise, instruct, invite, leave, oblige, permit,
require, tell, want etc
and also the verb of prevention: forbid :
After these verbs, the second verb is in the infinitive with
N.B. With all these verbs, the subordinate clause must be introduced
by a subject, which is also the object of the main
They allowed us to
leave the room.
The man instructed
The police required me to give a blood
know I love you.
for example, we cannot say:
man permitted to
open the doors
All the verbs listed can be easily used in the passive except want.
I told not to do
singer was told
to come down.
He was invited to
She was forbidden to
required to fill
in a form.
They were asked to
These verbs are followed by “from”
and an -ing structure.
The word “from” is essential with hinder,
optional with stop
us from starting
is not usually used in the
passive, but hinder
easily accept passive structures:
(from) falling in the hole.
hooligans were prevented
from making trouble.
by the bad weather.
The verb forbid
is followed by a full infinitive with to, just like verbs
of obligation above. It can also be used in the passive
going to forbid
the children to stay out after 9 o'clock.
They were forbidden to stay out after
nine o'clock at night.
3. Causative verbs - verbs
Of these three verbs, only let can be used as a consecutive verb, i.e. followed directly by a second verb.
Make and tell must always be followed by a noun or pronoun complement.
With these 3 verbs, the
second verb form is the infinitive without to.
I told you not to let go !
Of these three verbs, only one can be used in the passive, make
you what he saw!
was made to take
off my skates.
and leave: when followed by an object
and a subsidiary clause, leave means abandon,
get on with his work. (i.e. we went away)
does not mean the
him get on with
his work (i.e. we allowed him to....)
With this verb, the
second verb form is the full infinitive with to.
the people to
read the instructions very carefully.
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