Causative Verbs

When you make someone do something, you are causing someone to do an action. It doesn’t necessarily have to be you to make that event. Take the following sentence:

Mary made John to make food.

Here, a person is making or ‘causing’ a recipient to do an action. In other words, something is making something or someone to cause an action. The verb involved here indicates that, in the sentence, an action is being caused by something. Such verbs that indicate ’cause’ are called Causative verbs. In Nepali, causative verbs are called ‘प्रेरणार्थक क्रिया’ (prernarthak kriya). Note that all causative verbs are transitive in Nature.

However, it is not necessary for a causative verb to be translated into as ‘made’. For example, पढाउनु (padhaunu) is a causative verb in Nepali. It stems from the word ‘पढ्नु’ (padhnu) which means ‘To study/read’. Can we guess what पढाउनु (padhaunu) is then? 

It means ‘To make someone study’ like ‘He made me study books’. However, we can instead of writing ‘make someone study’ write ‘teach’ instead. Much shorter, right?

Infact, most Causative verbs work this way (when translated into English). For example, jalaaunu stems from ’jalnu’ which means ‘To be burnt’ so jalaaunu basically means ‘To be made to be burnt’ but can be shortened into ‘To burn something’ or just simply ‘To burn’.

Most causatives have ’aaunu’ as their final syllables.

Now, let’s learn how to convert verbs into causative verbs. Also, do note that intransitives can also be converted and the following are just simple guidelines and may not be applicable for all verbs. Once you convert a verb into a causative verb, it behaves like any other verb. (meaning you can conjugate it to different tenses, moods etc.)



By a consonant, I meant that half consonant we always talk about. For example, such a verb would be like बस्नु (basnu) or पढ्नु (padhnu). Anyway, the rules are:

1) Extract the root from the verb. To do this, remove the ‘nu’

2) If the first syllable of the root starts with an आ (aa) sound, convert that into an अ (a) sound first 

3) Add आउनु (aaunu) to the root of the verb. If the final letter of the root is a pure consonant, add an inherent vowel sound to it [E.g.: गर् (gar) + आउ (aau)  = गराउ (garaau)]

That is about it. Also do note that if the first syllable starts with an ‘o’ sound, then you cannot use the above described method.


बस्नु (basnu) -> बस् (bas) + आउनु (aaunu) -> बसाउनु (basaaunu)

लुक्नु (luknu) -> लुक् (luk) + आउनु (aaunu) -> लुकाउनु (lukaaunu)

हाँस्नु (haasnu) -> हस्ँ (has) + आउनु (aaunu) -> हँसाउनु (hasaaunu)



Some verbs have आउनु (aaunu) as their final syllables. For example, all these verbs have आउनु (aaunu) as their final syllables:

आउनु (aaunu /to come/), पाउनु (paaunu /to get/), पठाउनु (pathaaunu /to send/), समाउनु (samaaunu /to hold/) etc.

Please do note that even though these words have ’aaunu’ as their last syllables, they are NOT causatives (yet). 

Some verbs also have ‘o’ in their first syllable. For example:

रोक्नु (roknu /to stop/), खोक्नु (khoknu /to cough/), ढोग्नु (dhognu /to bow/, बोक्नु (boknu /to carry/) etc.

To convert them into causatives is very easy:

1) Convert the last ‘नु’ (nu) into  न (na)

2) Then add लाउनु (laaunu)

Do note that लाउनु (laaunu) is a contraction of लगाउनु (lagaaunu) and all conjugations of लाउनु (laaunu) should ideally follow that of  लगाउनु (lagaaunu). Why लाउनु (laaunu)? It is much easier to say.

Simple, right? For example:

पठाउनु (pathaaunu) -> पठाउन (pathaauna) + लाउनु (laaunu) = पठाउन लाउनु (pathaauna laaunu)

रोक्नु (roknu) ->रोक्न (rokna) + लाउनु (laaunu) -> रोक्न लाउनु (rokna laaunu)

HOWEVER, it is considered to be okay to use the first method (the one for general verbs) for the ‘o’ one, like we can say ’rokaaunu’ but that is completely your preference and accepted by modern guidelines.



To make causative-passive verbs, we need to first start with our active verbs. To make causative-passives:

1) Convert the active verb into an causative-active verb (rules are above!)

2) Now, convert the causative-active into a causative-passive verb

3) To do this, remove the उनु (unu) and add इनु (inu) instead

For example:

मेट्नु (metnu) -> मेटाउनु (metaaunu) -> मेटाइनु  (metaainu)  

We will learn to use causative-passive verbs on a later section. 

REMEMBER! Always convert into causative and then only passive!



There are a few irregular verbs that even though they look like they follow the first rule…they do not. Most of these irregular ones have monosyllabic roots. However, like above we can convert them into causatives with the addition of लाउनु (laaunu) to them. It isn’t that difficult and follows the same rules as above:

1) Convert the last ‘नु’ (nu) into  न (na)

2) Then add लाउनु (laaunu)

So, which are the (common) verbs that do not follow the standard pattern?

हुनु (hunu /to be/), जानु (janu /to go/), पार्नु (paarnu /to enmesh; lay/), ठान्नु (thannu /to assume/), सक्नु (saknu /to finish/) etc.

I hope you know what to do now and I will just provide one example to show it:

जानु (janu) -> जान (jana) + लाउनु (laaunu) -> जान लाउनु (jana laaunu)

YET there are a few verbs that do not follow the above patterns AT ALL. There are two such common verbs and they are:

खानु (khanu /to eat/) and रुनु (runu /to cry/)

The two verb’s causatives are खुवाउनु (khuwaaunu) and रुवाउनु (ruwauunu) respectively. 



Using causatives is actually very easy. Once you make a causative verb, it behaves like any normal verb meaning you can conjugate it for various tenses and aspects. For example, let’s use the causative verb ‘बनाउनु’ (banaaunu). बनाउनु (banaaunu) stems from ’bannu’ which means ‘To be made’. So basically, बनाउनु (banaaunu) means ‘To be made to be made’ or in other words, ‘To make’. We can conjugate it like any other verb and use it in sentences, like:


उसले घर बनाउँछ (usle ghar banaucha)

= He makes houses.


हामी सबै मिलेर देश बनाउँला (hami sabai milera desh banaula)

= We will all join hand-in-hand and make a country.


It wasn’t so difficult to use causatives, right? 

Sometimes, after we convert a general verb into its causative form (which ends with aaunu) we still add a लाउनु  (laaunu) after that. Why? 

Sometimes, the verb has a one-one corresponding meaning that might sound wrong…an example of this happening is with ’pakaaunu’ which means ‘To cook’…so when you say ‘John le Mary lai pakayo’ it sounds more like ‘John cooked Mary’ instead of ‘John made Mary cook’. To avoid this, we add ’laaunu’. More on this on a later section.


For causatives that have no ‘easily’ translatable counterparts like ‘बनाउनु’ (banaaunu) has, then we use the following pattern:

X made/makes/make Y do Z

For example,

रामले जनलाई काम गर्न लगायो (ram le jan lai kam garna lagayo)

= Ram made John do work.


X is ‘Ram’ 

Y is ‘John’

Z is ‘Work’


I hope you get it. Perhaps a few more examples can set things straight:

जनले मेरीलाई हँसायो (jan le meri lai hasayo)

= John made Mary laugh.


आमाले छोरीलाई पढाउनुभयो (aama le chori lai padhaunu bhayo)

= The mother taught her daughter. (or The mother made her daughter study)



Like I said before, pakaaunu usually takes up a laaunu because of its corresponding meaning to ’Cook’. This is probably because pakaaunu come from ’paaknu’ which means ’To be cooked’. However, what if we add laaunu to others, like ’hasaaunu’?

The sentence would not be grammatically correct per se but you must know the situations where it will be used. Adding that extra ’laaunu’ will add an extra ’made’ to the sentence. This example might set things clear:

जनले मेरीलाई हँसायो (jan le meri lai hasaayo)

= John made Mary Laugh.

जनले मेरीलाई हँसाउन लगायो (john le meri lai hasauna lagaayo

= John made Mary make (something) to laugh.


Let’s see the example of ’pakaaunu’. As we know, pakaaunu means ‘To be made to be cooked’. So,

जनले मेरीलाई पकायो (jan le meri lai pakayo)

= John made Mary to be made to be cooked.

जनले मेरीलाई पकाउन लगायो (jan le mari lai pakaauna lagayo)

=  John made Mary to make (something) to be made to be cooked.


These above sentences can be simplified into:

John cooked Mary.          AND

John made Mary cook.


As you can see, saying ‘John cooked Mary’ sounds very ‘Absurd’ unless he is fed up with people, I cannot tell for the sentence is technically ‘correct’, grammatically.



The causative-passive is simply a combination of causative and passive and as such, carries a meaning of something like:

X is made to do Y

Passive sentences lack an active focus to the subject. Hence one can completely omit it or decide to keep in the back burner. For example:

जन चिट्ठी लेख्छ (jan le chitthi lekhcha)

= John writes a letter. [ACTIVE]


जनद्वारा चिट्ठी लेखिन्छ (jan dwara chitthi lekhincha)

= A letter is written by John. [PASSIVE]


जनले मेरीलाई चिट्ठी लेखाउँछ (jan le meri lai chithi lekhaucha)

= John makes Mary write a letter. [CAUSATIVE-ACTIVE]


जनद्वारा मेरीलाई चिट्ठी लेखाइन्छ (jan dwara meri lai chithi lekhaincha)

= Mary is made to write a letter by John. [CAUSATIVE-PASSIVE]


Causative-Passives are not that hard to grasp but nonetheless requires some good amount of practice. Here are some sentences involving causative-passive constructions:

भाईद्वारा खाना खुवाइन्छ (bhai dwara khana khuwaincha)

= Food is made to be eaten by Brother.


विद्यार्थीहरुलाई पढाइन्छ (bidyarthi haru lai padhaincha)

= Students will be made to be made to study. [OR Students will be made to study]


त्यो मान्छेले मलाई १ घण्टा पर्खाइदियो (tyo manche le ek ghanta parkhaidiyo)

= That person made me wait 1 hour.




1. हिँड्नु (hidnu)

2. सिक्नु (siknu)


1. हेर्नु

2. खेल्नु 


1. सिक्नु 



A. 1. हिँडाउनु (hidaaunu)

A. 2. सिकाउनु (sikaaunu)

B. 1. हेराइनु (heraainu)

B. 2. खेलाइनु (khelainu)

C. 1. सिकाइयो (sikaaiyo)

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