603 - ~させられる ([causative passive])

JLPT N4: ~させられる ([causative passive])

The JLPT N4 test is hard. One could argue that the new grammar that needs to be learned for N4 is more difficult than the grammar needed for any other level of the JLPT.

Yeah, there might be more obscure grammatical constructions covered in N2 and N1, and those constructions appear in much more difficult phrases, but when looking at the grammar itself, I think N4 might be the biggest challenge.

Part of the reason for this is that most of the complex conjugations of verbs are covered in N4.

Case in point: ~させられる, the "causative passive" form.


The causative passive form is the combination of the causative form, ~させる, and the passive form, ~られる.

We have already studied both of these forms in isolation:

- [NDL #575] - JLPT N4: ~させる (let) (← check for the conjugation rules of the causative form)

- [NDL #581] - JLPT N4: ~させる (make to do) (← check for the usage of the causative form when it means "make do s.t.")

- [NDL #379] - JLPT N4: ~られる (possibility) (← this is on potential form, but the conjugation patterns overlap a bit with passive form, so you'll need to look at this lesson when studying the conjugation patterns for passive verbs. [Note that there is a massive, embarrassing error in this lesson: I mixed up the names of ichidan and godan verbs. Check the following lesson to get a clear understanding of verb types: [NDL #482] - Basics: Verb Types.)

- [NDL #588] - JLPT N4: ~られる ([passive]) (← check for the meaning and usage of the passive form)

- [NDL #590] - JLPT N3: ~られる ([naturally] thought, felt, etc.) (← check for the conjugation rules of the passive form)


The concept of the causative passive form isn't all that complex.

We're simply using causative (="make do") with passive (="was done") to say "is made to do."

An example:


わたしのバイト先では、みんな黒いシャツを着させられます
わたし の バイト さき で は、 みんな くろい シャツ を きさせられます。
Everyone has to wear black shirts at my work. // Everyone at my work is forced to wear black shirts.
Literally: “I + の + workplace (=[non-career] job + -destination) + では, + everyone + black + shirt + を + is made to wear.”

Let's take a look at what's happening here.

We have the verb 着る (きる // to wear [clothes]). This is an ichidan verb [a Group II verb].

To form the causative with ichidan verbs, we drop る and add させる, so:

着る(きる // to wear [clothes]

着-(き-

着させるきさせる // to make wear [clothes]

Now we just need to take our causative verb, 着させる, and put it into the passive form.

~させる conjugates as an ichidan verb, so all we need to do is drop る and add られる, as so:

着させるきさせる // to make wear [clothes]

着させ-(きさせ-

着させられるきさせられる // to be made to wear [clothes]

Last of all, the ~られる ending also conjugates as an ichidan verb. In the example above, we want to put 着させられる into the ます-form, so all we need to do is drop る and add ます, like this:

着させられるきさせられる // to be made to wear [clothes]

着させれ-きさせられ-

着させられますきさせられます // is made to wear [clothes]


Here's another example of the process described above:

食べる (たべる // to eat) is an ichidan verb in dictionary form.
飲む(のむ // to drink)is a godan verb in dictionary form.

↓ ↓ ↓

食べさせる (たべさせる // to make eat) is an ichidan verb in causative form.
飲ませるのませる // to make drink)is a godan verb in causative form.

↓ ↓ ↓

食べさせられる (たべさせられる // to be made to eat) is an ichidan verb in causative passive form.
*飲ませられるのませられる // to be made to drink)is a godan verb in causative passive form.

*This is not actually the most common way to put 飲む into the causative passive form. See the section on embedded-causative verbs towards the end of this lesson.


By now you've probably realized why students of Japanese have such a hard time with the causative passive―you need to have a firm mastery of both causative and passive conjugations before you even begin to attempt it.

So if you haven't read the lessons linked to at the beginning of this lesson, then you might have a hard time with ~させられる.

Once you've gone over the patterns described above, maybe try these two examples on for size:

残業させられるのはかまわないが、休日に出勤させられるのはいやだ。
ざんぎょう させられる の は かまわない が、 きゅうじつ に しゅっきん させられる の は いや だ。
I don’t mind having [being made] to work overtime, but I don’t like having [being made] to go into work on my days off.
Literally: “overtime + be made to do + のは + not concerned about / don’t mind + but (=が), + day off / holiday + に + going to work + be made to do + のは + disagreeable / detestable / disliked + だ.”

政治家たちのありえない失言にはいつも呆れさせられます
せいじか たち の ありえない しつげん に は いつも あきれされられます。
Time after time I am shocked by the ridiculously offensive things that politicians say.
Literally: “politicians + の + impossible / inconceivable + using improper words + には + always + am made shocked / am made disgusted.”


Wait, it gets more complicated.

Yeah, sorry.

The thing is, there are a lot of verbs that, in a way, already have the causative form embedded into them.

For example, earlier we saw this:

飲む(のむ // to drink)is a godan verb in dictionary form.
↓ ↓ ↓
飲ませるのませる // to make drink)is a godan verb in causative form.
↓ ↓ ↓
飲ませられるのませられる // to be made to drink)is a godan verb in causative passive form.

...but this is not actually the most common way to say "to be made to drink."

Instead, we would do this:

飲ます(のます // to make someone drink
↓ ↓ ↓
飲まされるのまされる // to be made to drink

What's the deal with 飲ます (のます)??!

This is not how we put godan verbs into the causative form, which for 飲む would be 飲ませる, as described above.

My best guess as to why Japanese people are more likely to say 飲まされる than they are to say 飲ませられる is simply that it's easier to say.

せら becomes さ.

飲ませられる → 飲まれる

There are a lot of verbs that this happens with. I've decided to call them "embedded-causative" verbs.

Rather than ending in ~させる, embedded-causative verbs often end in -asu.

Examples:

立たす(たたす // to get someone to their feet; to help someone stand up; to make someone stand

泣かす(なかす // to make someone cry; to cause someone grief

待たす(またす // to keep someone waiting; to make someone wait

Since they end in -す, these are all godan verbs.

Remember that the causative meaning is already included in each of these verbs, so all we need to do to give them "causative-passive meaning" is to put them into the passive form.

As we learned in this lesson, the passive form of a verb ending in -す is -される.

Therefore, the (embedded-causative) passive form of the verbs listed above would be:

立たされるたたされる // to be made to get to one's feet; to be made to stand

泣かされるなかされる // to be made to cry; to be caused grief

待たされるまたされる // to be kept waiting; to be made to wait

Here are some examples of these being used in sentences:


授業中にふざけすぎて、廊下に立たされた
じゅぎょうちゅう に ふざけ すぎて、 ろうか に たたされた。
I was messing around too much in class, so I had [was made] to go stand out in the hallway.
Literally: “during class + に + mess around too much (and), + hallway + に + was made to stand.”

次女が反抗期のころは、毎日泣かされました
じじょ が はんこうき の ころ は、 まいにち なかされました。
During her rebellious years, my second daughter [younger daughter] caused me grief day after day.
Literally: “second daughter + が + rebellious age + の + time period + は, + every day + was made to cry.”

予約をしたのに、1時間も待たされました
よやく を した のに、 いち じかん も またされました。
We were forced to wait a whole hour even though we had a reservation.
Literally: “reservation + を + did + although (=のに) + one hour + も + was made to wait.”


Well, that was far from the easiest lesson we've ever had, yeah?

I say this all the time, but don't worry if you can't make these verb conjugations right away. Just come back to this lesson from time to time as you progress through your studies, and you'll gradually start to feel more comfortable with this verb form.

Oh, and it may comfort you to know that I've heard Japanese people trip up on a number of occasions when trying to put a verb into the causative passive form. So we're not alone in feeling that this stuff is rather complicated.




Noticed any typos we've missed or other issues?
Report them here at this link.

Have questions about something in this lesson? Something not quite clicking yet? Join our discord community and discuss any questions / comments with us and fellow students.
You can join by heading to this link.