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士道は今さらながら身を竦ませた。

zuotengdazuo

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1. 士道は今さらながら身を竦ませた。
2. 士道は今さらながら身を竦まらせた。
3. 士道は今さらながら身が竦んだ。
4. 士道は今さらながら身が竦まった。

Hi, dear teachers. Could you please explain the difference between the above four sentences?
Thank you.
 
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I wouldn't call myself a teacher, more like a fellow student, but I'll take the liberty of giving you my thoughts anyway.

1. 士道は今さらながら身を竦ませた。
The causative indicates the subject is causing the object to act, even here, where that means Shidou is making himself (his body, more specifically) act.
This seems like a normal way to say it.

1'. 士道は今さらながら身を竦めた。
This is almost the same thing, but more directly, using the transitive 竦める instead of 竦む. I feel like this places less emphasis on the effort that the subject is exerting, but I don't think the difference is big.

2. 士道は今さらながら身を竦まらせた。
This means the same as 1. but using 竦まる instead. The dictionary define 竦まる as meaning 竦む, but 竦む is, I think, much more common. Especially in this conjugation.

3. 士道は今さらながら身が竦んだ。
4. 士道は今さらながら身が竦まった。
This sounds like Shidou's body is recoiling by itself, without his volition. Again, 竦む and 竦まる are the same meaning, so aside from the common vs. the uncommon word, there's not much difference.

Sentences 1 & 2 do make me consider more strongly the 2nd definition of 竦む, as if Shidou might be 'cowering' or 'shrinking in fear'. Sentences 3 & 4 since they suggest a lack of volition strongly imply definition 1, that Shidou must have frozen stiff on the spot.

 

Toritoribe

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#1 is mostly for "to make one's body smaller". It can be used both for volitional action or non-volitional action (e.g. by being startled), but more often for volitional. 身をすくめた is more common for this meaning.

#3 is mostly for "to be frozen." The body is not moved.

#2 and 4 are grammatical, but not used.
 

zuotengdazuo

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Thank you both!
By saying 士道は今さらながら身を竦ませた。, 士道 was recalling a situation he had been in where was almost killed. So he was scared even now and his making his body smaller is non-volitional, I think.
So do all three following versions imply this emotion and this non-volitional action?
士道は今さらながら身をすくめた。
士道は今さらながら身を竦ませた。
士道は今さらながら身が竦んだ。
 

Toritoribe

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I used "mostly", because both 身をすくませた and 身をすくめた also can be used for "to be frozen." It's not so common, though. Thus, "to be frozen" is also possible in that context.

A supplemental explanation for #2 and 4.
Note that not all conjugation forms of verbs are really used. For instance, 動かせる is only used as the potential form of 動かす, and is never used as the causative form of 動く. Instead, 動かす works as the causative form of 動く. Similarly, すくめた or すくませた is used instead of すくまらせた, and すくんだ is used instead of すくまった.
 

zuotengdazuo

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I used "mostly", because both 身をすくませた and 身をすくめた also can be used for "to be frozen." It's not so common, though. Thus, "to be frozen" is also possible in that context.

A supplemental explanation for #2 and 4.
Note that not all conjugation forms of verbs are really used. For instance, 動かせる is only used as the potential form of 動かす, and is never used as the causative form of 動く. Instead, 動かす works as the causative form of 動く. Similarly, すくめた or すくませた is used instead of すくまらせた, and すくんだ is used instead of すくまった.
Thank you again. 士道は今さらながら身を竦ませた。is the original sentence in the novel.

a. 士道は今さらながら身をすくめた。
b. 士道は今さらながら身を竦ませた。
c. 士道は今さらながら身が竦んだ。

Actually I’m wondering if a and b imply internal causes (e.g. his emotions) while c implies external causes (e.g. someone forced his to do so). Do you think so?
 

Toritoribe

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For the situation "he was scared", I don't think those are different in nuance significantly. Those all mean "to be frozen by fear". #C is the most natural to me, though.
 
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