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Minna No Nihongo Lesson 48 Grammar

Minna No Nihongo Lesson 48 Grammar

  1. Causative verbs

How to make causative verbs

Causative verbs
polite form plain form
I いきます いかせます いかせる
II たべます たべさせます たべさせる
III きます 







All causative verbs are Group II verbs; they conjugate into the dictionary form, ない-form, て-form, etc.

e.g.  いかせる、いかせ(ない)、いかせて

  1. Causative verb sentences

There are two types of causative sentences: those which indicate the subject of an action with を, and those which indicates it withに. When the verb is intransitive, as in 1) below, をis used, while when the verb is transitive, as in 2), にis used irrespective of whether the object of the verb is stated or not.

1) N (person) をV (intransitive) causative

make/let a person V (intransitive verb)


The department manager makes Mr. Kato go to Osaka on business.


I let my daughter play freely.

[Note] When an intransitive verb with “N (place) を“ is used in the sentence, the subject of the action is indicated with に, as shown in (x), but without a phrase with を, the subject of the action is indicated with を, as shown in (y).


I make my child walk on the right side of the road.


I make my child walk.

2) N (person) に Nを V (transitive) causative

make/let a person V (transitive verb)


I am busy in the morning, so I  make my daughter help prepare breakfast.


The teacher let her students freely voice their opinion.

  1. Usage of causative

Causative verbs indicate compulsion or permission. A causative sentence is used when the relationship between a senior person and a junior person is very clear (e.g., a parent and child, an elder brother and younger brother, a superior and subordinates, etc.) and the senior person forces the junior person to do a certain act, or allows him to do something. (*) and (i) are examples of compulsion and (**) and (ii) are those of permission. But when the speaker tells a person from outside his own group that he will make someone from within his group do something, as seen in the example below, the causative sentence is used regardless of their status.




When you arrive at the station, please call me.

I will send a member of my staff to the station to pick you up.

Thank you.

[Note 1] When a junior person has a senior person do a certain action and the senior versus junior relationship between them is obvious, Vて-form いただきますis used. If the two are equal or the relationship is delicate in terms of which one is senior, Vて-formもらいます is used instead.


I had the department manager explain it to me.


I had my friend explain it to me.

[Note 2] As shown above, a causative verb usually cannot be used to describe a junior person having a senior person do something. However, as can be seen below, there is an exception when verbs denoting emotion such as あんしんする, しんぱいする, がっかりする, よろこぶ (be glad), かなしむ (feel sad), おこる (get angry), etc., are used.


When I was a child, my poor health worried my mother.

  1. V causative て-form いただけませんか

Would you please let me do …?

In Lesson 26 you learned Vて-formいただけませんか, which is used to request someone to do something. V causative て-form いただけませんか, on the other hand, is used to seek permission.


Would you please tell me how to use photocopier?


As I’m going to attend my friend’s wedding, would you please let me leave earlier?