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Hopefully this is a nice easy one, but it's something I need clarification on. So I have a sentence here, using (I think) -せる form. (倒せない)

アイテムを使わないと倒せない敵もいるが、戦いの基本はやはり剣だ。

My question is a general one - what does it mean when -せる form is used?

倒しません、 倒さない、 倒せない these are all the same meaning aren't they? Or not?

  • There is no such thing as a せる-form. Not too educational to keep it in the title. – l'électeur Mar 31 '14 at 8:41
  • Yes that is my lack of understanding. I'll try changing it. – VictorySaber Mar 31 '14 at 9:20
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I don't know what you mean by "-せる" form.

-せる can appear at the end of the verb in at least two ways.

  • As the potential form of a verb, which ends in -す. 帰す -> 帰せる
  • As the causative form of a verb. 帰る -> 帰らせる

Here, -せる is the potential form of the verb 倒す, so

倒す "to throw over, to knock down"
る "to be able to throw over / knock down"
倒せない "not to be able to throw over / knock down"

by which you get

倒しません e.g. I don't throw it over (polite)
倒さない e.g. I don't throw it over (informal)
ません e.g. I can't throw it over (polite)
ない e.g. I can't throw it over (informal)

  • That's what I needed, somebody to show the comparisons. Thank you! – VictorySaber Mar 28 '14 at 14:31

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