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Japanese is Possible!
Week 32

Part 32

  • The Causative Verb "させる" (saseru)
  • Setting up your computer for Japanese
  • Online Dictionaries and Reference Tools


The Causative Verb "させる"

The causative verb "させる" is used to express the idea of "causing someone or something to do something," whether that is "letting / allowing" or "making / causing" it to happen.


Let's take a look at how we can form this verb and use it in conjunction with other verbs.


Group 1 Verbs / Godan (五段 / 5 Steps) Verbs

Group 1 Verbs are characterized by the fact that the end of the verb changes depending on what form it is in. Let's look at a few typical Group 1 Verbs to see where the term "5 Steps" comes from:


立つ (tatsu / to stand)

立 つ(-u form)

立 た ない (plain negative form)

立 ち ます・ました・
(formal forms)

立 っ て・た (-te / -ta form)

立 て  (imperative form)


書く (kaku / to write)

書 く (-u form)

書 か ない (plain negative form)

書 き ます・ました・ません・ませんでした (formal forms)

書 い て・た (-te / -ta form)

書 け (imperative form)


Group 2 Verbs / Ichidan (一段 - 1 Step) Verbs

Group 2 Verbs are easily recognized because the stem of the verb stays the same no matter how the verb is conjugated. Here is an example of a Group 2 Verb:


食べる (taberu / to eat)


notice how the "たべ" stem stays the same, while the endings change.


Group 3 Verbs / Irregular

There are only a few irregular verbs that do not fit into the above two categories. They are as follows:


する (suru / to do)

す る (-u form)

し ない (plain negative form)

し ます・ました・ません・ませんでした (formal forms)

し て・た (-te / -ta form)

せ え (imperative form)


来る (kuru / to come)

来(く) る (-u form)

来(こ) ない (plain negative form)

来(き) ます・ました・
(formal forms)

来(き) て・た (-te / -ta form)

来(こ) い (imperative form)


Verbs + Causative "―させる"

Now that we have looked at the regular verb conjugations, let's take a look at how to combine verbs with "―させる".


Group 1 Verbs (Godan) + Causative "―させる"

For Group 1 Verbs, you simply take the stem of the plain negative form of the verb, and add "―せる". You're probably wondering what happened to "―させる". Well, the "―させる" is still intact, and you will see it below in the Group 2 sections. Also, "させる" is actually the Causative form of the verb "する". Technically, the causative verb for Group 1 is only the "-aseru" or "-seru," because the plain negative form of Group 1 Verbs already end in "-a." Let's take a look at some examples.


base → negative root (minus "nai") + -seru → final conjugation (meaning)

書 く → 書 か (XないX
) + ―せる → 書 か せる ・ 書かせる
(to cause/let/make write) 

立 つ → 立 た (XないX
) + ―せる → 立 た せる ・ 立たせる
(to cause/let/make stand)

話 す → 話 さ (XないX
) + −せる → 話 さ せる ・ 話させる
(to cause/let/make speak)

行 く → 行 か (XないX
) + −せる → 行 か せる ・ 行かせる
(to cause/let/make go)


Group 2 Verbs (Ichidan) + Causative "-させる"

Group 2 Verbs simply require the addition of "-させる" to the main stem. Let's take a look at some examples.


食べ る → 食べ + させる
 → 食べさせる
(to cause/let/make eat / tabe(ru))

開け る → 開け + させる
 → 開けさせる
(to cause/let/make open / ake(ru))

信じ る → 信じ + させる
 → 信じさせる
(to cause/let/make believe / shinji(ru))

起き る → 起き + させる
 → 起きさせる
(to cause/let/make wake up / oki(ru))

投げ る → 投げ + させる
 → 投げさせる
(to cause/let/make throw / nage(ru))


Group 3 Verbs (Irregular) + Causative "―させる"

Here are the conjugations for the Group 3 Verbs.


す る → させる (to cause/let/make do)

来 る → 来(こ)+ させる → 来させる (to cause/let/make come)


Using the Causative form

Here are the basic conjugations of "させる" itself. These do not change no matter what type of verb they are connected to.


させ る

させ ない

させ て・た

させ ます・etc


Pretty simple, huh? Here's a little quiz: What type of verb is "させる" (Group 1 / Godan, or Group 2 / Ichidan) ?


Now that you know how to form causative verbs, let's look at how they are actually used. As the name implies, causative verbs are verbs of "causing / letting / allowing / making." You may be saying to yourself "How do I know which meaning it is, "let" or "make" ?" Well, that depends on the context, how the verb is used, and how the person being caused to do the verb feels about it. There isn't a distinction in Japanese like there is in English, so you only have to learn one thing to say both in Japanese. Let's look at some simple examples.


父は お兄さんに ピアノ
を 習わせた・習わせました.

"My father made/let my older brother learn the piano."

ちちは おにいさんに ピアノ
を ならわせた・ならわせました.


母は 私に (orを) ライヴへ 行

My mother made/let me go to the concert.

ははは わたしに(orを) ライヴ
へ いかせた・いかせました.


So for these first two examples, the difference between "made" and "let" isn't clear. The only way to tell is by judging whether the activity is something that the parent would "let" the child do, or "make" the child do, or if the person being caused to do the activity is in favor of it or against it.


Here are some other uses.


父は 私たちに アイスク
梶[ムを 食べさせた・食べさせました.

My father let us eat ice cream.

ちちは わたしたちに アイスク
リームを たべさせた・たべさせました.

(It's pretty clear that it is "let," unless you know that the "us" hates ice cream.)


花子は 太郎に きっぷを 買わ

Hanako made/let Tarou buy the tickets.

はなこは たろうに きっぷを 


お母さん、テレビを 見させて 

Mom, please let me watch TV.

おかあさん、 テレビを みさせ
て ください.

(Here it's clearly "let," because no one would ask to be made to watch TV.)


もう 太郎君に マンガを 読ま

I won't let Tarou read comics anymore.

もう たろうくんに マンガを 

(Here, Tarou's mother doesn't want him to read comics anymore, so she is saying "I won't let him…")


Just for fun, here are a few examples of "-させる" from the comic 新世紀(しんせいき)エヴァンゲリオン.


This first one is from near the beginning, the first time Shinji gets into the Eva.

"死ぬの なんか 恐くは ない んだ。 
父さんに 臆病者 なんて 言わせない."

"I'm not afraid of dying. I won't let dad call me a coward."

"しぬの なんか こわくは ない んだ。
 とうさんに おくびょうもの なんて いわせない.


And this quote is from the scene where Misato is telling Shinji and Asuka that they have to learn the dance routine together in order to defeat the Angels.

"これを 徹底的に 体に 覚え
させる こと.

"It's to make your bodies memorize this perfectly."

"これを てっていてきに から
セに おぼえさせる こと.


One Last Note

"させる" is often used in "-て" form in conjunction with verbs of receiving, such as "ください," "いただく," "もらう," and "くれる". This is especially the case when asking someone to let you do something with "させる." Verbs of giving can also be used, when the situation calls for it. However, this is a complex topic, we'll leave that alone for now.



Here is a little self-test that you can try, to see how well you know "させる." The verbs are given in plain form, so see if you can tell what type (Group 1 or 2) they are, and how they would be conjugated with "させる." There is a list of 230 basic Japanese verbs, complete with different conjugate forms, at CosCom Japanese Language School. Feel free to check your answers there, and refer to it any time you want to check verb conjugation (if your verb is on the list).


座る ・ しゃべる ・ 洗う ・
@歩く ・ 寝る ・ おどる ・ 歌う ・ やる



verbs in hiragana, plus meaning:

すわる (to sit)・しゃべる (to talk/chat)・あらう (to wash)・あるく (to walk)・ねる (to sleep)・おどる (to dance)・うたう (to sing)・やる (to do)


Written by Brian Dunn

Setting Up Your Computer For Japanese

If you can't read the Japanese text on this page, or on any other website on the internet, or if you can already display Japanese but want to be able to type it on your own, we hope you will be able to find something here to suit your needs。


Global IME for Japanese with Language Pack is a free plug-in that will allow users of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x+ to browse WWW pages in Japanese, and enter Japanese text in search engines, bulletin boards, and online e-mail pages, and send/receive Japanese e-mail messages in MS Outlook Express.


Windows 2000 comes equipped with Japanese support for all applications.


NJStar is a popular Japanese word processing freeware application. NJStar Communicator reportedly works for both MS Internet Explorer and Netscape Messenger, as well as many other software applications. With lots of great features, this Japanese word processor is a great tool.


Pacific Software Publishing's Kanji Kit is a true Japanese add-on system to English Windows. Kanji Kit allows you to use Japanese in all your applications inside of your English Windows environment. A 60-day free trial version is also available on the Web. They also carry a lot of other Japanese software on their site, including learning software and Japanese word processors, many with free demos.


UnionWay International Corporation This company's Asian Suite 97 runs on English Windows 98/95/NT/3.x. Asian Suite 97 will allow the users to use many English-based applications to process Japanese, Korean and Chinese (both traditional and simplified).


Lava Software Japanese Word Mage for Mac OS and Windows 95/98/NT is a Japanese application suite designed specifically for students of Japanese as a second/foreign language. This application includes a word processor, multi-lingual HTML editor, and kanji/ vocabulary study system.


Jim Breen's Japanese Page is a great overall site for finding information on setting your computer up to run and type Japanese, and also a ton of links to online dictionaries (cut and paste words you don't know for quick and easy look-up, etc.) and Japanese-related sites.


The Guide to Japanese Computing on the University of Washington's Technical Japanese Program Homepage also has links to Japanese software, even for the Mac.


Monash University ACCESS-J Japanese WWW Page Viewer This allows internet users without Japanese language software capabilities to view regular Japanese web pages and mailing lists (if you can't get Japanese on your computer, or if you only use public computers where it's impossible to install Japanese software). It does this by going through a special program that loads the pages in its own window and loads small .gif files for every Japanese character on the page. It's not perfect; I had trouble with logging into my online e-mail website running through this window. But I was able to access my groups, Yahoo Japan, Jim Breen's WWWJDIC, and many other sites, with no problems at all. The one drawback is the speed - it takes a long time to load pages. However, I'm sure as you keep browsing and it caches characters, it will speed up. And if this is your only choice, it's better than nothing, right? For a test run, here is the JIP Lessons Page, seen through the viewer.


Written by Brian Dunn

Copyright ゥ 2001 All Rights Reserved.

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