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触れさせていた VS 触れていた

zuotengdazuo

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十香はその場に座ったまま、不思議そうな顔をして、唇に指を触れさせていた。

Hi. What is the difference between 唇に指を触れさせていた and 唇に指を触れていた?

Thank you.
 

Toritoribe

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Just from that single sentence without knowing the background context, I would interpret that 指 refers to a finger of someone else in 触れさせていた, not 十香's.
 

zuotengdazuo

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Just from that single sentence without knowing the background context, I would interpret that 指 refers to a finger of someone else in 触れさせていた, not 十香's.
Hi. Thank you. But according to the context, it’s 十香 who touched her lips, so the finger was hers.
 

Toritoribe

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Yes, judging from the fact that you asked about it, I thought it would be actually the subject's finger. What I meant is to say it's unusual. One of the reasons might be that it's hard to add 指 there. There is no problem with 唇に触れていた. 指で唇に触れていた is acceptable but sounds too objective. Anyway, my impression is that the writer seems to have a tendency to prefer to use causative forms.
 

zuotengdazuo

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Thank you again.
One of the reasons might be that it's hard to add 指 there.
Do you mean the expression 唇に指を触れていた is unnatural? But I have checked the dictionary and learnt that it’s valid.
 

Toritoribe

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Yes, it's valid like 石像に手を触れる, but I personally felt it's not so common. (I found only two examples of ~に指を触れる in a corpus.)
 

zuotengdazuo

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Thank you again. So do you think 唇に指を触れさせていた would sound more subjective than 唇に指を触れていた? But apart from that, both expressions mean the same, right?
 

Toritoribe

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The description is both objective. Both are written from the observer's viewpoint. It seems to me that 触れさせていた has a nuance of a volitional action more strongly. The meaning is the same, yes.
 
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