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25 Jun 2017
So I wondering about the following sentences:
  1. 私は母に魚を食べさせられました。
  2. 母は私に魚を食べさせました。
They are the same in meaning, correct? It's just that subject/object changed places? Or is there also a hint of "bullying" in 1 and just stating the fact in 2?

How about this one, could it exist:
  1. 私は母に魚を食べられました。I guess grammatically it is ok (?), but how about the meaning? Is it "I was annoyed by the fact that my mother ate the fish"?
Unlike #1, #2 doesn't always have "forced" nuance. It can mean "let/permit/allow".
The last one is the passive of adversity. The speaker is adversely affected by the event "my mother ate the fish". The fish is usually my fish, though.
Thank you. But if we assume that it's clear from the context in 2 that it means "my mother made me eat...", would 1 and 2 be the same? I know the speaker is influenced by the event im both examples, but wouldn't 1 have an extra hint of some unsatisfactory emotion while 2 is pretty neutral?
In your example, yes, 食べさせられた expresses the speaker's dissatisfaction. However, the causative-passive is not always passive of adversity. For instance, in the sentence 何気なく見た映画に思わず感激させられた, the speaker doesn't feel dissatisfaction. The nuance differs depending on whether the speaker can control the action or not. (Concretely, the verb is non-volitional or others' volitional action. 感激する is non-volitional, so you can't control the action/emotion.)
Came across this crazy sentence just now:


How does it even work? 終わる is intransitive, how can it be causative? You cannot say 課題終わる, or judging from the sentence above you can?
Thank you. Funny, jisho.org only gives it as intransitive, so I trusted it blindly ;)

I would still appreciate a little bit of help with the sentence...

...を終わらせなければならない。 Somebody made me have to end something? I must make something end? I don't really get how it works.
It's the latter. 終わる just describes an event, whereas 終わらせる puts focus more on the subject's volition, so the nuance is close to the transitive pair 終える. You can think that the causer and causee are both the subject in this usage. Of course the causee can be another person in 終わらせる, for instance 部下に仕事を終わらせた.
Incidentally, the former "to make me have to end" is 終わらなければならなくさせる (この日本語の課題を金曜日までに終わらなければならなくさせられた).
Ok I think I understand the concept. One more question though.
You can think that the causer and causee are both the subject in this usage.

So, in the sentence この日本語の課題を金曜日までに終わらせなければならない "I" am both causing the action and experiencing the action, correct? So, I am making myself finish the assignment? Why so complicated, wouldn't この日本語の課題を金曜日までに終わらなければならない mean the same?
For the first part of your question: I think you are confusing 終わらせる with 終わらさせる, no?
(Maybe that helps you figure out the 2nd part?)
Hmmm does 終わらさせる exist? Isn't causative of 終わる - 終わらせる?
You are right :emoji_astonished:. It doesn't exist.

Sorry, stepping back out of this one now and going back into lurker mode.

Edit: Maybe I was thinking of 終えさせる...
Toritoribe-san has always answered your question, but I just felt the need to point this out.

Came across this crazy sentence just now:


終わる is intransitive, how can it be causative?

Not sure where you got this impression from, but intransitive verbs can absolutely have causative forms.

Verbs like 死ぬ (to die), 凍る (to freeze, i.e. become frozen), and 驚く (to be surprised)—just to name a few examples—have the very commonly seen causative forms 死なせる, 凍らせる and 驚かせる, the meanings of which should be easily deduced with a bit of common sense.

Same is true for 終わらせる, which (as Toritoribe-san pointed out) simply means "to cause to end", or in more natural English, the transitive meaning of "to finish".
So, in the sentence この日本語の課題を金曜日までに終わらせなければならない "I" am both causing the action and experiencing the action, correct? So, I am making myself finish the assignment? Why so complicated, wouldn't この日本語の課題を金曜日までに終わらなければならない mean the same?
終わる is originally intransitive, so less-volitional than 終える. It's basically used to describe an event, as I wrote in my previous post. Thus, 終わらなければならない is just a neutral/general description about a duty, for instance in a general statement この悲劇は終わらなければならない This tragedy has to end. On the other hand, 終わらせなければならない or 終えなければならない is more volitional, therefore more personal, so the subject is "I/we" in this expression (この悲劇は終わらせなければならない I/We have to end this tragedy).
Thank you, that helped my understanding a lot. If you have some free time one day (though I guess you don't), I'd appreciate a few more examples like this one so that I could once and for all grasp the idea behind such forms. (causative+must, with transitive/intransitive words). It's ok if you don't though, I know you are busy as it is.
Are you talking about verbs which can operate as both intransitive and transitive verbs, or just about the difference between intransitive and transitive pair verbs? If the former, those kinds of verbs are not so many in Japanese.
Transitive/intransive verbs, not necessarily pairs. I would just like to see 1. how intransitive verbs are used in causative (havent really seen much of that before) + plus how they are used in causative form + must form. 2. Transitive verbs + must.
As jt_-san already clearly explained above, intransitive verbs commonly have causative forms. Grammatically, unaccusative verbs (非能格動詞) can have causative forms, whereas unergative verbs (非対格動詞) can't. Incidentally, this rule applies also to whether the verb can have the passive form or not, thus, unergative verbs can't have passive forms.
unaccusative verbs
彼が走った。 He ran.
causative: 彼に/を走らせた*。I made him run.
causative + must: 彼に/を走らせなければならなかった*。 I had to make him run.
passive of adversity: 彼に走られた。I was adversely affected by his running.

雨が降った。 It rained.
causative: 低気圧が雨を降らせた*。 A low pressure caused rain.
causative + must: 村を救うため、何としても雨を降らせなければならなかった*。 To save the village, we had to make it rain by any means.
passive of adversity: 雨に降られて困った。 I was troubled with the rain.

*Another forms 走らした/走らさなければならなかった and 降らした/降らさなければならなかった also exist. These forms are from another causative forms 走らす and 降らす, respectively. 終わらす/終わらさなければならない exist, too.

unergative verbs
地震が起きた。 An earthquake occurred.
地震を起きさせた and 地震に起きられた are both invalid.
(Incidentally, 彼に自分で起きさせた or 彼に起きられて困った are valid. 起きる is unaccusative in this case.)



Wonderful examples, thank you very much! It dawned on me, suddenly I understood why this form is called "causative". Till now I've always thought of it like "to let somebody do something" and "to make somebody do something". But it's also "to cause something to happen", as it is so clear from the examples with the intransitive verbs. Really, thank you.
Indeed, the causative form can mean "to cause something to happen" in intransitive verbs (e.g. 空が曇る --> 空を曇らせる), but the transitive counterpart is usually used for that meaning when it exists. For instance, 木を燃やす is used instead of 木を燃えさせる, and the same goes to 岩を落ちさせる vs. 岩を落とす, 氷を溶けさせる vs. 氷を溶かす, or 湯を満ちさせる vs. 湯を満たす.
As you might realize, these -す ending transitive verbs have relation to causativity or agent's volition. Actually, す is a classical auxiliary verb for causative, corresponding to せる/させる in modern Japanese. These transitive verbs are originally from the causative form of the classical verbs 燃ゆ, 落つ, 溶く and 満つ, respectively. The intransitive counterpart 燃える, 落ちる, 溶ける and 満ちる are also from the same etymologies, of course.
We have a thread about this topic. See the following thread. (It's a bit long since it includes numerous example sentences. You can ignore them.)
causative form | Japan Forum

Confusingly, the meanings are not always the same between the causative form of intransitive verb and transitive verb especially when the causee/object is animate.
I made/let the dog get on the table.
(The causer is the speaker and the causee is the dog. Thus, the agent of the action "to get on" is the dog.)

I put the dog on the table.
(The agent is the speaker.)

Note that 乗らせる is really used, but another expressions such like 乗るようにさせる or 乗らせてあげる are more common. Plus, 乗せる can also works as causative of the intransitive action "to make/let get on", as mentioned in the thread I linked above. Similarly, 自分で起きるようにさせる is more common and natural than 自分で起きさせる.
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