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"この町に住ませて頂きたいんです。" is a line from a movie. That grammar makes sense to me. In this context, 使役形 is used to create a humble mood. (頂く) makes it even more humble.

Based on that, today I said: "3年ぐらい、広島に住ませて頂きました。" I was told that is incorrect. In fact, this is correct: "3年ぐらい、広島に住ませてくれました。" This grammar confuses me.

I feel that "この町に住ませて頂きたいんです。" should be sounded-out into passive voice: "I want to be forced to live in this town."

However, I don't know how to sound-out "3年ぐらい、広島に住ませてくれました。" into passive voice? By using 使役形 in this context, I am just pretending that someone has power over me (so as to humble myself). But, when I hear 「くれる」, I sense that the two parties must be specified (me and someone else). But, since I am just pretending there is someone with that power, there really is no one else.

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この町に住ませて頂きたいんです is more like "I want to be allowed to live in this town". But your phrase using いただきました sounds fine to me. Did they say why it was incorrect? – istrasci Oct 21 '13 at 21:24
Refer to this post (and further, the linked post within it) for more info. In my knowledge, the only difference is perspective and possibly giving respect where due, but otherwise they are interchangeable. I'm really curious about the reasoning she gave you. – istrasci Oct 21 '13 at 22:13
up vote 3 down vote accepted

「この町に住ませて頂きたいんです。」 is a fairly unusual way of saying that one wants to live in a certain town because people just do not have to beg to live in a certain town in real life --- at least not in Japan anyway. Who said it to whom in the film? And in what kind of situation?

For the same reason, 「3年ぐらい、広島に住ませて頂きました。」 sounds strange. (That comma is unnecessary BTW.) It sounds as if you begged someone for some kind of rent-free arrangement or you had to receive permission from the police or court to live there because you were on probation or something. Or are you just incredibly super-humble to begin with?

「3年ぐらい、広島に住ませてくれました。」 means a different thing than the sentence immediately above in that with 住ませて頂きました, the unmentioned subject of the sentence is the speaker, but with 住ませてくれました, the subject is another person who let you live there (probably for a very low or free rent and even with board). So, if it is that kind of person that you wanted to talk about, 「3年ぐらい、広島に住ませてくれました。」 is a very natural-sounding sentence.

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IMHO, 広島に住ませて頂きました means something like [皆様]{みなさま}の[温]{あたた}かい[支援]{しえん}のおかげで、広島で大きな[災]{わざわ}いにも[会]{あ}わず[生活]{せいかつ}することができまし‌​た. It does not sound unusual. (BTW, 住まわせて is more grammatical than 住ませて) – jovanni Oct 22 '13 at 3:35
せて頂く is not actually 使役形+謙譲語. it is せ(せる:使役)+て(て:接続助詞)+頂く(動詞:謙譲). – jovanni Oct 22 '13 at 18:11

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