Explanation on the construction of vocabulary

Chapter 5 of Tae Kim covers causative verbs.

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/causepass

Or if you like Imabi more:

https://www.imabi.net/thecausative.htm

Or Wasabi:

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Just to be clear… 見せる is etymologically derived from the causative, but it is not a true causative verb, or else you couldn’t have 見せさせる.

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Huh. Sort of unrelated to the original topic, but is there actually a grammatical rule against constructing something like 食べさせさせる, if you wanted to say “They made me make you eat” or the like?

You cannot append させる to させる, so you’d have to translate that in some other kind of construction. Which I’ll try to figure out later when I’m not getting dressed for work.

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No worries; I was more curious whether that rule exists than about what the best alternative way to phrase it would be. Rule or not, it looks confusing enough that I’d probably never legitimately want to write it that way. (It’s pretty awkward in English too, phrased that way.)

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Read this post and try it out!

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A bit of research suggests that nested させる may actually be technically grammatically possible, but that Japanese people would find it confusing and unnatural. A better way is to use ように

食べさせるようにさせる
To make someone make someone eat

You could then continue to nest ように to make more “making” happen.

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But what if I made someone make someone else keep on nesting it?

You’d get punched.

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Then you are probably this guy:

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Oh, just to clarify for the OP before this thread goes off anywhere stranger… the actual reason why 見せる is not really a causative verb form is that it’s not actually the modern causative form of 見る; that would be 見させる. So all this stuff about nesting causatives is irrelevant to the construction 見せさせる. I almost missed that distinction myself, so it’s worth calling out here, I think.

Just don’t you dare try to 見せさせさせる anything to anyone.

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面白くなくない!

I always want to say something like that, similar to “that’s not not interesting”. (That actually is interesting though, so thanks.) Though maybe 面白くないわけじゃない would be more natural?

I don’t think that kind of construction is particularly confusing. The problem with nested させる is that it involves more than 2 people in a single verb construction. The advantage of ように is that it allows you to insert the people in between for precise clarification. You can’t put objects in the middle of a させる construction.

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Have you actually heard people use a double negative conjugation like that though? Even if it would be understood, I’m curious if it’s that common compared to something like わけじゃない.

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It’s definitely something you can encounter. A brief search of なくない on BCCWJ reveals tons of 少なくない, which is not this type of construction, but examples of what you’re referring to are in there as well. There’s even a 少なくなくない in there lol.

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Japanese use double negations all the time.
面白くなくない is just the tip of the iceberg, really.

Adding a は between the two negations is also pretty common. 面白くなくはない

As you brought up, わけ is also commonly used. 面白くないわけではない。

You can also make it into a question, what further reverses the whole thing. 面白くないわけじゃなくない?

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen articles and exercises focused just on explaining Japanese multiple negatives to foreigners. Japanese people do use them a lot and you can quickly get lost. But in the end it is so ridiculous it gets funny. Lol

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I’m gonna have nightmares about this tonight. :fearful:

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I have encountered people using double negatives before. After I told my exchange students I was 可愛くない, they insisted I was 可愛くなくない, and we just kept on adding more くないs from there. However, I’m not sure if that structure is natural in normal conversation.

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That’s so かわいくなくなくなくない that it makes me want to cry

hehee

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The exchange students seemed to think so too…

But it was 可愛くなくなくなくなくない!

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