776 - ~させてもらえませんか

JLPT N3: ~させてもらえませんか (would it be all right if I...? // could I possibly...?)

~させてもらえませんか is very similar to ~させてくれませんか, which we saw in the previous lesson.

In short, it is a polite way to ask for permission to do something.

Like this:


A:
先生、先生の自転車の写真を撮らせてもらえませんか
せんせい、 せんせい の じてんしゃ の しゃしん を とらせてもらえませんか。
Sensei, would it be all right if I took a picture of your bicycle?
Literally: “sensei, + sensei + の + bicycle + の + picture + を + let (me) take (and) + can’t receive + か.”


B:
ええ、どうぞ。
ええ、 どうぞ。
Sure, go ahead.
Literally: “yeah, + go ahead.”

It can be easy to mix up who is performing the action when saying ~させてもらえませんか, so be careful.

Since we are using the させる form of the verb in question, the person performing the action is the speaker. Consider how the meaning changes when the verb is not in させる form:


先生、先生の自転車の写真を撮ってもらえませんか
せんせい、 せんせい の じてんしゃ の しゃしん を とってもらえませんか。
Sensei, could you please take a picture of your bicycle for me? // Sensei, could I possibly get you to take a picture of your bicycle for me?
Literally: “sensei, + sensei + の + bicycle + の + picture + を +take (and) + can’t receive + か.”


The easiest way to understand ~させてもらえませんか is to review all of these lessons:
- [NDL #413] - JLPT N5: もらう
- [NDL #414] - JLPT N4: ~てもらう
- [NDL #575] - JLPT N4: ~させる (let)
- [NDL #771] - JLPT N4: ~させてください
- [NDL #772] - JLPT N3: ~させてくれませんか



Note that we are using the negative potential form of the verb もらう, which means "to receive" or "to have (someone do something):"

もらう(to receive
もらえる(to be able to receive
もらえない・もらえません(can't receive
もらえない?・もらえませんか(can't receive?


As always, the best way to get a feel for this grammar point is to see it used in a number of situations.

We'll start by looking at an example with もらえない?, which is more casual-sounding than もらえませんか


A:
床に寝るから、1日だけ泊まらせてもらえない
ゆか に ねる から、 いちにち だけ ともらせてもらえない?
Could I stay at your house for just one night? I’ll sleep on the floor.
Literally: “floor + に + sleep + because, + one day + only + let (me) stay (the night) (and) + can’t receive?”


B:
うん、いいよ。
うん、 いい よ。
Sure, no problem.
Literally: “yeah, + good + よ.”


When you want to boost the formality, you can use the humble いただけませんか (cannot receive?) instead of もらえませんか, as in this example:


A:
ここは私に払わせていただけませんか。こないだのお礼です。
ここ は わたし に はらわせていただけませんか。 こないだ の おれい です。
Would it be all right if I paid this time? It’s my way of saying thank you for the other day.
Literally: “here + は + I + に + let (me) pay (and) + can’t receive + か. + the other day + の + thanks + です.”


B:
そうですか。ありがとうございます。
そう です か。 ありがとう ございます。
Oh. Well, thank you.
Literally: “is that so? + thank you.”


Putting the verb もらう or いただく into negative form is not required, by the way.

For example, the following sentence says いただけますか (can receive?) instead of いただけませんか (cannot receive?):


A:
今度の草野球、私も参加させていただけますか
こんど の くさやきゅう、 わたし も さんか させていただけますか。
Would it be all right for me to play in the next baseball game?
Literally: “this time / next time + の + grass-lot baseball, + I + も + participation + let (me) do (and) + can receive + か.”


B:
ええ、いいですよ。
ええ、 いい です よ。
Yeah, sure.
Literally: “yeah, + good + です + よ.”
Note: I almost put, "Yeah, of course" here, as I thought "Yeah, sure," if said with a certain intonation, could sound apathetic. The speaker here is welcoming the listener to join in the activity.


That's all for this one.

Hope you're enjoying your studies!

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