第133課: The Causative I: ～させる & ～せる
The auxiliary verbs ～させる and ～せる are primarily used to create the 使役形 (causative form), which equates to “to make/let X do Y“. Before we look at what “causation” means and the grammatical restrictions, know that 作る is not used to make the causative form because it means “to make”. 作る is used in the physical sense. Furthermore, 作る is a verb, not an auxiliary verb. Knowing that Japanese uses auxiliaries to make forms such as this, you would not be tempted to make a mistake like 1a.
1a. 怒る作る X
1b. 怒らせる 〇
To make angry
Again, the causative make is “to make X do Y”. Do not confuse the causative with the similar pattern XをYにする, which is used to show that one “makes/has a thing (X) be a certain way (Y). If you were to couple this with XがYになる, you should be able to avoid confusion. Consider Exs. 2~4 which differentiates these three patterns.
The music(‘s volume) got smaller/quieter.
(I) turned down the music.
I made him turn down the music.
The Auxiliaries ～させる & ～せる: 使役形
The 使役形 is used with both transitive and intransitive verbs, but the grammar is a little different. These endings attach to the 未然形 and conjugate as 一段 verbs. In contracted speech ～させる and ～せる become ～さす and ～す respectively, which are conjugated as 五段 verbs.
Chart Note: In the chart below, class refer to the class of the verb being used as the example.
1. The copula is not used in the causative form and should be replaced with ～にさせる.
Ex. バカ｛だ・である｝ → バカにさせる (to make…out to be stupid).
2. さす is rather uncommon by itself, but when used in conjugations it may be seen. For instance, 勉強さした (made…study). This, however, just like 来さす are dialectical at best and are not correct in Standard Japanese.
3. To make an adjectival causative expression, add させる after the く-連用形 of 形容詞 and after the に-連用形 of the copula for 形容動詞.
|一段||To see||見る||見させる||見させない||見させた||見さす (X/△)||X||見さした|
|一段||To endure||耐える||耐えさせる||耐えさせない||耐えさせた||耐えさす (X/△)||X||耐えさした|
|五段||To knock down||倒す||倒させる||倒させない||倒させた||倒さす||X||倒さした|
|五段||To be delighted||喜ぶ||喜ばせる||喜ばせない||喜ばせた||喜ばす||X||喜ばした|
With Transitive Verbs
If the original verb is transitive, the direct object is marked with を if there is one mentioned. Remember, though, that if there is a transitive verb in a sentence or clause, a direct object must be implied. Japanese just doesn’t require one to be used explicitly if it is information recoverable in context. The subject of the action, in other words, the person/performer being made to do something, is marked by に.
I make my younger brother take out the trash.
To make Taro-kun kill a turtle.
My mom made my little brother feed the dog.
Sentence Note: The first に marks the brother as the person being made to do the action and the second に marks the dog as the recipient of the food.
With Intransitive Verbs
If the original verb is intransitive, を and に may seem to be interchangeable to mark the person being made to do something (被使役者）. Most resources have failed in addressing the issue that adequately matches the actual decision between these two by regular native speakers. What is certain, though, is that the deciding factor for using them is determined by semantics.
As for the particle を, it may imply a compelling force. It may also be accidental/overbearing in nature. However, as you will see though, there is speaker variation in this interpretation. It is chosen, however, with 非情物 (things lacking emotion=inanimate objects) subjects and with emotion phrases.
To anger a friend.
The wind shook the tree(s).
To make the rat die.
Sentence Note: This last sentence fits in this description as bringing about an effect such as making something die is a means of a compelling force. If we think of animal abuse, using 死なせる in the case of accusing the owner of causing the pet’s death would be completely logical.
を would be expected in situations in which the direct object is something that could never have any will to act on its own (Ex. 11).11. 心を乱れさせる。
To upset someone’s feelings.
に shows self-discipline and recognition of the will of the person being made to do something, which is why it goes with the “let” definition. Movement verbs are great examples of this. Nevertheless, natives don’t actually consciously differentiate between let and make. So, in reality, what this means is that に can give the interpretation of “let”, but in context, the speaker could still just mean “make”. In fact, as the next example shows, even when a modal like ～てあげる is added, many speakers would still choose を to mark the 被使役者.
12. 父親は子ども｛を・に｝ プールで泳がせてあげました。
The father let his child swim in the pool.
Next time, let’s have Yamamoto go.
Sentence Note: It’s unlikely that Ex. 13 implies the speaker(s) are thinking of Yamamoto’s intents, but as the English translation suggests, it’s possible to be vague on this matter.
To make the/a child(ren) sit on the bench.
To make the/a child(ren) sit.
Sentence Note: Most speakers would say 15a is more assertive, and some speakers would think 15b is wrong. There is also natural ambiguity in the exact interpretation of 15a and 15b. 15a may sound like a command or as if a parent is physically forcing the child to sit. 15b may sound like someone is having something sit in the kid’s lap.
The teacher made/let Mr. Yoshida sit there.17. 犬に公園を散歩させます。
I let my dog walk in the park.
As far as realistic usage of Japanese, a large motivation of which particle to use has to deal with not using the same one twice in a clause for the same purpose. Japanese has no problems using the same particle twice if it’s for something different like we saw in Ex. 7, but it does not tolerate the doubling of the same thing for the same purpose.
To make/let a kid go do an errand.
Sentence Note: Despite the grammatical correctness of this sentence, some speakers would say that Ex. 18 is wrong due to the doubling of に.
The parent made/had his/her child(ren) go shopping.
To make the dog walk inside the road.
Sentence Note: Though the particle を is not used in this sentence to mark a direct object, the particle に is used to mark the 被使役者 is used first and foremost to avoid from using を twice. Unlike the particle に, native speakers are not aware of there being different usages of を.
The particle に is also used with verbs that are actions regarding people such as 答える, しゃべる, etc.
The teacher made/had his/her students answer (to) the questions.
Sentence Note: The status of に as a must with 答える is the same as with 行く. Yet, some speakers would still try to replace at least one of the に with を. Grammatically speaking, the first would be the best to change, but in reality, some speakers would say ～を答えさせる.
Particle Note: Overall, native speakers use を considerably more often even when either particle is possible. When a place is added into the sentence marked with に, the number of people who would chose を to mark the 被使役者 drastically goes up. In the end, as we’ve seen, there is certainly individual differences in exact usage of these particles in this situation. So, if you get corrected harshly, do not be discouraged. It’s easiest to say that in the case for intransitive verbs, you may mark a 被使役者 with either を or に, but it is most important to most speakers to avoid the doubling of either one of them.
The teacher sent his/her students home.
I walk the dog every morning.
I’ll make/have my younger sister come to Osaka.
I walk the dog in the park.
Since the student seemed to feel bad, I had/let him/her go home earlier.
To make a person stand.
Sentence Note: 27a sounds like you’re making someone stand something up. So, you should use 27b.
Had Someone Do
When you say you had someone do something for you, instead of using the causative, you use ～てもらう・～ていただく. With expressions concerning emotions, those things are not in your control to cause. So, using them with the causative is fine. So, you can say something like 母を心配させた. This is because the causative does not have to be intentional. ～てもらう・～ていただく always are.
28. 先生に推薦状を書いていただきました。(You didn’t make the teacher do it.)
I had my teacher write me a letter of recommendation.
29. 先生に推薦状を書かせました。(Not for your benefit at all)
I made the teacher write a letter of recommendation.
Also note that the use of に is different. In the first sentence it shows from whom you received the action. In the second sentence it marks who was forced to do the action.
Please don’t make me laugh.
To clear the head.
To intoxicate a person.
I think that dialects makes Japanese a more beautiful and wonderful language.
I laughed so hard about my mom making my younger sister wash the dishes.
But, I hated that my dad made me take karate.
Could you let me play it?
I want to surprise him.
Don’t make me sad.
To have the forests burn.
We made our grandmother take a rest.
To complicate a cold and stay in bed (because of it).
Word Note: 拗らせる shouldn’t be used in its basic form. Use the intransitive 拗れる in that case.
My younger brother hates vegetables, but my mother plans to make him eat them every day.
If we were to start working now, the quicker we would probably finish.
No matter what, money makes the world go round.
The producer interrupted rehearsals frequently in order to give advice.
A. If you were a Japanese teacher, what would you make your students do?
B. If I were a Japanese teacher, I’d make my students try to read Japanese words.
A. If you were a company president, what would you make your secretary do?
B. I would make (the secretary) write a report a week.
A. If you had a smart robot, what would you make it do?
B. I’d make it do my laundry.
A. When you become a parent, what would you have your children do?
B. I would have (them) study Japanese and Korean.
A. When you’re married, what would you have your partner do?
B. I’d take him/her on a trip to Hawaii.
Unconcern or Let
“Making” someone do something and “letting” someone do something are very similar. In Japanese, context largely plays a role in determining whether ～させる and ～せる actually stand for either or because in both cases someone is causing something/someone else to do something. Contexts for when “let” is the natural interpretation include “neglect” or “unintentional” circumstances. 51. 昼に全生徒を帰らせました。 I let all of my students go home at noon.52. お風呂の水を溢れさせてしまったの！(Old person) I accidentally let the water in the tub overflow! 53. 育て方を間違えて子供をいじけさせるのは親の最悪の悪夢だ。 Incorrectly raising up one’s child and having that child grow perverse is a parent’s worst nightmare.
Please let me think about it.55. 車を使わせてください。
Please let me use your car.
When paired with ～てもらう・ていただく, the speaker humbly takes permission to do something. Rather than simply saying “I will do something”, you are saying that you are taking it upon yourself, but you are aware of the person/people responsible for allowing you to even do it in the first place. This is why ～させていただきます is becoming ever more common in honorifics. 56. 会議を始めさせていただきます。(謙譲語) Allow me to start this meeting.
When the causative form is paired with ～てあげる・やる, ～てくれる, ～てもらう, the sense of permission becomes clear and distinguishable from the “make” definition.
The teacher let the student go to the restroom.58. 父は僕に車を運転させてくれた。 My dad let me drive the car. 59. A. 子供の時、皆の両親は、何をさせてくれませんでしたか。B. 子供の時、一人で遊ばせてくれませんでした。A. As a child, what did everyone’s parents not let them do?B. When I was a child, I wasn’t allowed to play alone. 60. A. 高校の時、皆の両親は、何をさせてくれませんでしたか。B. ｛酒・アルコール｝を飲ませてくれませんでした。A In high school, what did everyone’s parents not let them do?B. They wouldn’t let me drink.