Hi guys, how are you today? In today’s online Japanese article from Bond Lingo we are going to learn to express the idea of “let” and “make” with させる saseru.

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The Japanese Causative Verb Form Saseru (〜させる)

This is the causative verb for in Japanese and is a really important verb form to learn. This form is featured in the N4 JLPT exams so really you should be learning this pretty on in your journey. It is also used frequently in daily conversation.

Now you may be wondering, why does it mean “make” and “let” aren’t those 2 different things? Well yes, but we will cover more of that later in the article. We are first going to start by looking how to for させる verbs and then look at creating some example sentences for you all. Once we have mastered those we will present you with a great study tip to help you further master this grammar point in your own time.

So if you are ready we are now going to let you learn something and make you feel happy, let’s jump right in.

How to form the Japanesecausative verb form させる

In Japanese the causative form is known as “shieki” 使役 and is used with standard verbs to turn them into causative verbs. A verb in the causative form can mean to either make or let someone do something. Confusing we know, but through the context of the situation you can most likely pick up which meaning it is.

So to create the させる Saseru form you have to look at the 3 different verb groups.

  • For group 1 the “iru / eru-verbs”  change the finalる with させる.
  • For group 2 the “u-verbs” change the verb to its negative plain form and swapない for せる.
  • For Group 3, well these are exceptions so just remember that:
する becomes させる
くる becomes こさせる

Now that we’ve got that down, look at the table below to see some real verbs being conjugated into the causative form. Pay close attention to their verb group.


From these examples you should be able to recognise the verb groups and their conjugations into the causative form. Now, to ensure you have remembered this, you should go ahead and write out a table of your own and try to conjugate them yourself. This way you will get better at conjugating verbs into the causative form more efficiently.

Now lets look at some complete sentences to see how the causative form works in context.

Example sentences with the Japanesecausative verb form させる

So take a look at the sentence below to get a deeper understanding of when to use させる。

In this first sentence we see a kind friend letting their buddy eat their burger. They have granted permission with させる. You can use the particle に to indicate who you are giving permission too.

Example sentences with the causative verb form させる
Example sentences with the causative verb form させる
Boku no ba-ga- wo tabesaseru
I will let you eat my burger

In this next example we move from “let” to “force”. In this example the speaker is forcing yamada san to do their work. You can use the particle に to indicate who you are forcing.

Kono shigoto wa Yamada san ni yaraseru
I will make Yamada san do this work

From the context, you can tell that this next example most likely means, “to let” rather than “force”. What kind of parent needs to force their son to play? Imagine the child has been nagging to play all day so the parent finally gives up and lets him play.

Musuko ni asobasemasu
I will let my son play

Take a look at this study tip for an exercise you can complete on your own to get the most out of each session.

Effective study exercise for rememberingさせる

A great exercise to put into practice would be to write out 10 “force” saseru sentences and 10 “let” saseru sentences. With this you can really get to grips with the form and become faster at using sentences in conversation. You should try to span theses over a wide range of scenarios too.

So guys that now brings us to the end of today’s lesson. We really hope you enjoyed it and learnt some new things around the causative form. If you have any questions or any suggestions about content you would like us to write about, please get in touch and let us know. You guys are the reason we love creating awesome content and we want to inspire you and help you along the way in your Japanese adventure. 

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