"To Cause"

May 25, 2012, 03:22 AM posted in I Have a Question

I know there is a Qingwen that discusses 令,使,让 etc but where I get confused is the difference between these ones and 引起,引发 and 造成.  I was wondering if there is a lesson that helps describe the differences between all these or if someone could help explain the differences to me?

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May 25, 2012, 05:32 PM

I usually see  引起,引发 and 造成 in formal writing and news reporting. I think that  造成 is typically used when the outcome is negative. 


现在交通堵塞是成问题,特别是高峰时间简直水泻不通。依我看,主要是交通混乱造成的堵车 。

 Or check out the definition on NCIKU. All of the example sentences are negative.


I'm not sure about 引起 and 引发 but I think you will find them mostly in formal writing.

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May 25, 2012, 10:11 PM

There was a similar question some time ago, you might find it useful -http://chinesepod.com/community/conversations/post/11338#comment-205976

For 引起 and 引发, which aren't discussed there, I'd say its probably best to not hope for a formal rule, but rather aim for absorbing the subtleties more naturally.  For example, in the phrase 引起强烈的反应,  I'd say 引起 is usually the right choice, 反应 being the kind of thing one usually 引起's, though I'd find it difficult to explain why.

You might try running a search on each term, reading the search results headings, 10 minutes or so and you'll have absorbed several dozen examples of each term's use, your brain should sort it out from there.