I want to exaggerate my previous question by nesting one more causative action. Assume that there are a policeman, a girl with her dog, and a snatcher on the street. The dog belongs to the girl.


How do I express the following sentence in Japanese? Is my sentence below correct?

I want the policeman to make the girl make her dog bite the snatcher.


------- ことを女の子にさせて

------------ ほしい警察官に私は。


1 Answer 1


Nesting ~させる is not really common:

  • (1) 少女は犬をひったくりに噛みつかせる。 (OK, simple)
  • (2) (?) 警察官は少女に犬をひったくりに噛みつかせさせる。 (may not be wrong, but very hard to understand)
  • (3) (*) 私は警察官に少女に犬をひったくりに噛みつかせさせさせたい。 (almost gibberish)

An easy and natural way is to use ~するよう(に) (≒"so that ~") and say like this:

  • (4) 少女が犬をひったくりに噛みつかせるよう、警察官に言わせたい。
  • (5) 私は警察官に、少女に犬をひったくりに噛みつかせるよう言ってほしい。
  • (6) 少女の犬がひったくりに噛みつくよう、警察官に言って欲しい。
    (using no causative せる/させる at all. It's obvious that 警察官 is saying something not the 犬 but to the 少女, so this should be enough)

It's much harder for me to translate this without using よう.

  • (7) (?) 私は警察官に、少女に犬にひったくりを噛みつかせさせて欲しい。
    (using (2) above, but even harder to understand)
  • (8) (?) 私は警察官に、少女に犬にひったくりを噛みつかせることをさせて欲しい。

The last one is the closest to your translation attempt, but ~ことをさせる isn't not common in the first place.

Note that ~て欲しい can be used only for the speaker's own desire.

  • @優しいエイリアン Yes. The "causee" is marked with を, because 噛みつく is an intransitive verb which happens to take に. General rule here. ひったくりを犬に噛みつかせる means "to make the snatcher bite the dog".
    – naruto
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 7:06
  • dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/44885/meaning/m2u 噛む is transitive (eg, ガムを噛む), but 噛みつく is always intransitive. Thus, 「犬をひったくりに噛みつかせる」 is roughly the same as 「犬にひったくりを噛ませる」. I understand it's confusing... The same can be said with 抱く(vt)/抱きつく(vi), 追う(vt)/追いつく(vi), 食らう(vt)/食らいつく(vi), etc.
    – naruto
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 7:24

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