Meanings of え, せ and れ in verbs

OK, so my mind is probably just trying to find some patterns, that aren’t there. But I find it intriguing how え, せ and れ in (at least ru-verbs) are seemingly used to differentiate active/passive or me/somebody else.
Maybe I am totally off track, but verbs like 見る seem to be the active “me” form. I do something so to speak. But 見せる is something I make you see/show, right?
I find there is a weird correlation, when looking at other verbs like 生きる to live, but 生まれる to be born.
Or even 生え. Though I know the 生 is pronounced differently, but the pattern seems somehow obvious?

Or am I getting delusional?


I just moved your thread, if you don’t mind :wink:

Unlike us Pleasants, maybe the high-leveler can help~

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Yes, it’s true that many verbs that are originally based on other verbs that have れる or られる (and others) appended to them. 生まれる is the same as the passive form of 生む, but often these become their own verbs when they take on meanings that go beyond just being a conjugation of the original verb, or when their form gets corrupted a bit such that its form is no longer a strict conjugation the way the grammar rules are set up.


見る、見せる、見せられる、見える、見れる、見られる are all inflections of the same verb (to see, to show (make see), to be shown (be made seen), visible, be ableto see, to be seen).

生きる、生む、生かす、生える、these are different verbs, even tho it’s easy to see why they share the same kanji (to live, to give birth, to put a skill to use, to grow)

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I don’t know if you can say that 見せる is a conjugation of 見る currently. I seem to remember it having been a corruption of 見させる, which does still exist as the causative of 見る, but maybe I’m misremembering. There’s a nuance between 見せる and 見させる as well.

Same with 見える, I don’t know if it’s accurate to call it a conjugation.

見れる (and all ら抜き言葉) will get you points off on a Japanese test, but it’s commonly used in spoken Japanese.

the thing is that these nuances get lost in translation, that seems to make it difficult for newbies.

the difference between 見せる and 見させる is, that the former translates more to “let see”, while the latter is more “make see”.

skipping the ら was “unsophisticated” a few decades ago, but nowadays, people use it to make clear that it’s a potential. both are fine though, and then, you get which is meant by context.

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I mean, I think I would still rank it as “spoken Japanese” and advise against people using ら抜き言葉 in any context where it actually matters, but I do agree that no one will think less of someone using it in conversation.

i agree, in written form, i’d use the proper variant, with ら.

Oh. that is super interesting. thank you for sharing

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Thank you guys, it’s good to know that my mind isn’t as paranoid as I thought :wink:

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nah, it’s not paranoid.
there’s a few very specific forms for specific nuances, and then there’s られる (shortened to れる in modern, spoken japanese, except for when it’s passive) and させる - and then you can connect them to させられる. you could even make some very crazy connections like 納豆を食べさせられたくなくなってきた
nobody speaks like that though, hehe.

(i slowly came to not want to be made eat natto)

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