The ability of an element to catenate is primarily based on the bond energy of the element to itself. 
-This ability is also influenced by a range of steric and electronic factors, including the electronegativity of the element in question, the molecular orbital hybridization and the ability to form different kinds of covalent bonds. 

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That is if carbon does not shows catenation property then no hydrocarbons will be there.So many substances are formed with carbon only due to its catenation.