"so when the media show that our favorite characters behave aggressively and that this results in them getting what they want, we have our inhibitions eroded."

In the last phrase "we have our inhibitions eroded.", the verb have is causative?

  • Yes, it is causative.
    – PPH
    2 days ago
  • I think the cited example is "unnatural" phrasing anyway. I doubt it came from a native Anglophone - it looks like a peculiar example specifically designed to home in on the distinction between passive and causative verb usages, but all it does for me is prove that those two categories aren't always syntactically useful. The natural phrasing for the context is [When blah blah] ... our inhibitions are eroded. 2 days ago
  • ...,where the more "explicitly causative" phrasing: the media showing that our favorite characters behaving aggressively results in them getting what they want erodes our inhibitions (with gerund/noun showing being the "causative agent" subject) is syntactically fine - it's just a bit clumsy because the entire subject noun phrase (everything before erodes) is too complex for the context. 2 days ago
  • 1
    @Fumble I like the details of your explanations regardless of what they are or if they are right.
    2 days ago

2 Answers 2


I have to disagree with @Astralbee's reading.

Firstly the causative case can be used in many tenses including present and future. (source)

Secondly, there is no "past continuous" in the text.

My answer to the question is a simple yes. Yes, it is causative.


Passive and causative verbs would be for something that had happened in the past, for example:

  • Our inhibitions were eroded (passive)
  • We had our inhibitions eroded (causative)

Your example is neither of these. The tense is present continuous. It uses 'have', not 'had'. The implication is that their inhibitions are eroded on an ongoing basis.

For example, if I said "I had my hair cut at the salon" it would mean that had already happened - that I'd been to the salon and my hair was cut. However, if I said "I have my hair cut at the salon" it would mean that is where I normally go whenever I need my hair cutting.

  • So according to this, if we change all the verb forms to Past Tense (showed, behaved, resulted, wanted, ...we HAD our inhibitions eroded), this would de facto change OP''s example from "passive" to "causative". I don't buy that. yesterday

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