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人間の生き方をより純化にしたものが聖杯戦争という殺し合いだ

A battle to the death which is the Holy grail War, an event which is purer than the way of lives of humans.

人間の生き方をより純化にさせたものが聖杯戦争という殺し合いだ

A battle to the death which is the Holy grail War, an event which makes a thing purer than the way of lives of humans.

My idea is that in the first 1, the one with no causative,

人間の生き方をより純化にした

is describing "もの", so the thing which is purer than the lives of the humans is もの.

If I used the causative it would make もの the thing which is causing the fact of being purer.

Am I correct?

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    The first half looks weird to me, because 純化 is usually used not as a na-adjective but as a suru-verb. Neither 純化にしたもの nor 純化にさせたもの looks natural to me, just as 会話にさせる are ungrammatical. Does it make sense to you if it were 人間の生き方をより純粋にしたもの (using the na-adjective 純粋) or 人間の生き方をより純化したもの (without に)? – naruto Mar 8 '16 at 12:32
  • Yes. I think it means "A thing (in this case an avent) which is purer than the way of lives of humans". Am I right? – Splikie Mar 8 '16 at 13:21
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First of all, as I posted in the comment, 純化 is a suru-verb meaning to purify, and 純化する doesn't make much sense. We never need に there. I believe this sentence should have been:

[A] 人間の生き方をより純化したものが聖杯戦争という殺し合いだ。

Second, X + を + [te-form of verb] + た/だ + もの can mean "the product made by ~ing X", "the result from ~ing X", etc. (eg, 刺身【さしみ】とは、生【なま】の魚を切ったものだ。)

Therefore, in this case, 人間の生き方をより純化したもの just means "The human's way of life (itself) which is purified" rather than "An event which purified human's way of life." And the whole sentence means "The death match called 聖杯戦争 is a purified form of human's way of life."


Now, to answer your original question:

[B] 人間の生き方をより純化させたものが聖杯戦争という殺し合いだ。

Yes, it's also OK to say like this. This sentence is as natural as Sentence A, and means exactly the same thing as A. This is because 純化 happens to be used both transitively and intransitively, which is not the case for many other words which have ~化. (For example, 強化する/美化する is only transitive but 劣化する/進化する is only intransitive. I don't know why.)

In Sentence A, 純化 is used as a transitive verb, whose object is marked with を. The phrase literally means "The thing made by purifying human's way of life." In Sentence B, 純化 is used as an intransitive verb, whose causative form is "[causee]を[verb]させる". The phrase literally means "The thing made by making human's way of life sublime/purify itself."

By the way, the following sentence is also the same as A and B.

[C] 人間の生き方より純化されたものが聖杯戦争という殺し合いだ。

In other words, 純化したX, 純化されたX, 純化させたX all roughly refer to the same thing ("purified X"), although there's a small difference in nuance.

  • Thank you. I always get confused when I fond sentences with もの at the end because I do not know if that もの is the result or the agent of the verb. – Splikie Mar 8 '16 at 14:48
  • A doubt came to my mind now. What if I wanted to say "The thing which made purer the human life is the 聖杯戦争" ? How would I say that? Would "人間の生き方をより純化したのは聖杯戦争という殺し合いだ。" or "人間の生き方をより純化したことが聖杯戦争という殺し合いだ。" Be good? – Splikie Mar 8 '16 at 15:28
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    Yes the former is a valid cleft sentence which means "It was The Holy Grail War which made human life purer," but the latter is not. Maybe because only の can be used in cleft sentences? The latter sentence means something like "Having done purification itself is The War," which may be too philosophical for me to understand. cf: 「生の魚を切ったものは刺身だ。 The cuisine made by cutting raw fish is sashimi.」「生の魚を切ったのは刺身だ。 It was sashimi who cut the raw fish (??)」「生の魚を切ったことは刺身だ。 Having cut raw fish is sashimi (?????)」 – naruto Mar 8 '16 at 19:16
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    生き方をより純化した人々 simply is "people who have more purified [their] way of living," of course. – naruto Mar 8 '16 at 20:42
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    @Splikie 人々 is animate enough to make an intentional act, so it's most natural to treat it as agent. In order to make it into patient and retain the structure, you must fill up an explicit subject other than it, such like: 彼が生き方をより純化した人々. – broccoli forest Mar 9 '16 at 5:13

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