Japanese Study Materials: 使役の形 ・ Causative Form

Japanese Study Materials: 使役の形 ・ Causative Form
使役の形 ・ Causative Form

In Japanese you can express the idea of making someone do something, or letting someone do something, by using the causative form verb conjugation. It may sound a little strange that one conjugation is used to express both “letting” and “making”, but the meaning becomes clear in the context of the sentence. Godan (Group I) verbs and ichidan (Group II) verbs both have their own conjugation rules.

ごだん動詞 Godan Verbs

Start with a plain form verb (ふつう形), remove the [u] ending sound and replace it with the [a] ending sound hiragana, and then add  せる or せます.  All plain form verbs end in the [u] column on the hiragana chart, so you can just move up two rows to find the corresponding [a] ending sound. You can also start in the polite/masu form (ます形) by cutting off the ます and changing the [i] ending sound hiragana to the [a] ending sound hiragana.

Examples ・例えば

  • (I) say → (I'm) made to say; (I'm) let/allowed to say言う → 言わせる
  • (I) drink  → (I'm) made to drink; (I'm) let/allowed to drink飲む → 飲ませる
  • (I) play  → (I'm) made to play; (I'm) let/allowed to play遊ぶ → 遊ばせる
いちだん動詞 Ichidan Verbs

For this verb group you should start by finding the verb root, or verb stem. You can find the verb root by first starting in the polite/masu form (ます形 ). The verb stem is just the polite/masu form (ます形 ) without the ます. Once you’ve found the verb root all you need to do is add させる or させます.

Examples ・例えば

  • (I) see/watch → (I'm) made to see/watch; (I'm) let/allowed to see/watch見る → 見させる
  • (I/it) stops  → (I/it) is made to stop; (I/it) is let/allowed to stop止める → 止めさせる
  • (I) eat → (I'm) made to eat; (I'm) let/allowed to eat食べる → 食べさせる
Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs are just that — irregular. They don’t have any set rules. Fortunately there aren’t a whole lot of them. The most common are する・to do, and 来る・to come. 

Examples ・例えば

  • (I) do  → (I) am made to do; (I) was let/allowed to doする・します → させる・させます
  • (I) come → (I) was made to come; (I) was let/allowed to come来る・来ます → 来させる・来させます
Quick Reference Sheet
Passive Form PDF Download

If you see a mistake please correct me! You can leave your correction in the comments below. I am not a native speaker. I just have a love of the language and enjoy studying it. I made these study materials in order to help my learning process. I am posting them online in hopes that it can help others too. Let’s learn Japanese together! 🙂