BondLingo Blog

させる causative form in Japanese

Today we will look at させ, the causative form, which has two uses.

The first is to “make somebody” do something

The second is to “let somebody” do something

At first it’s confusing, “WHAAAT, two uses? Why!” don’t worry the more you use it, the easier it gets. This is a really good way to help you express yourself with more advanced Japanese.

Let’s take a look at the following verb stems.

させる   to make/ to let (casual)
させない   to not make/ to not let (casual)
させます    to make/ to let (formal)
させません to not make/ to not let (formal)

How to make these VERBS

Let’s have a look at the second use “To Let”:

Group 1 verbs: Take off “” and add “あせる

のむ To Drink のませる To make/ to let someone drink.

およぐ To Swim およがせる    To make / to let someone swim.

Group 2 verbs – Take off “” and add “させる

たべる  To Drink  たべさせる to make / To let someone drink

Group 3:

する becomes させる   To make/ to let someone do

くるbecomesこさせる To make/ to let someone come

Let’s have a look at the first use “To Make”:

Person APerson BVERB SASERU   

母は私に野菜を食べさせる

My mother makes me eat vegetables

私は友達にあやまらせた

I made my friend apologise

先生はアダムさんに宿題をやらせた

Sensei made Adam do his homework.

Let’s have a look at the second use “To Let”:

Person APerson BVERB SASERU   

母は私に野菜を食べさせる

My mother lets me eat vegetables

私は友達にあやまらせた

I let my friend apologise

先生はアダムさんに宿題をやらせた

Sensei let Adam do his homework.

As you can see, there are no clear differences between these two uses, and really the only way to tell is from context. Whether it’s “To Make” or “To Let” you have to just try and understand this from the context of the conversation.

Good luck everyone, It’s really a great grammar point to learn.

Learn Japanese online with BondLingo ?