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Assume A has a partner named B. Last week both made an appointment to have dinner (dating). For a certain reason, A cannot come for the appointment and calls B by phone saying

・・・キャンセルさせてください。 Please make me cancel ...

Question

A wants to cancel the appointment, but why does A ask B to make A cancel it as if the source of problem is on B's side? I think A should say

・・・キャンセルしてください。 Please cancel ...

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  • 1
    If A cancels, does B also need to cancel? Can A cancel just his/her own attendance
    – user4032
    Feb 4, 2017 at 11:46
  • 4
    Isn't it 'please let me cancel' rather than 'please make me cancel'? Feb 4, 2017 at 11:57

2 Answers 2

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It works like "Please let me", so

キャンセルさせてください = Please let me cancel [our appointment]

(It wouldn't be interpreted as "Please make me cancel [our appointment]".)

You could also say

キャンセルしてください = Please cancel [our appointment]

but it is a lot more direct (and thus less polite).

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I want to expand @Earthliŋ's above very good answer, but it will not fit in a comment so I place it here.

使役形 itself is not 謙譲語 or 丁寧語, but it softens a request and is often used together with 謙譲語 or 丁寧語. 

謙譲語

If you are asking politely to be allowed to use a toilet you could say

トイレを使わせて頂けませんか?(使役形+謙譲語)

However, without 使役形, 謙譲語 would be unacceptable

NG トイレを使って頂けませんか?(終止形+謙譲語)

丁寧語

A more direct way to ask to use the toilet by formulating with 使役形

トイレを使わせて下さい。 (使役形+丁寧語)

However, with 丁寧語, 使役形 is not required as in:

トイレを使うことができますか?  (丁寧語)

トイレを使っても良いですか?  (丁寧語)

There are 使役形+丁寧語 formulations which are not allowed as in:

NG トイレを使わせますか? (使役形+丁寧語)

NG トイレを使わせることはできますか? (使役形+丁寧語)

NG トイレを使わせてもいいですか? (使役形+丁寧語)

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    「使わ」は未然形ですけど、「使わ (る・て・ます)」って、「未然形」じゃなくて「使役形」とかになるんじゃないですかね・・例えば「使わせます」は未然形+丁寧語ではなく「使役形+丁寧語」とか「(動詞の)未然形+使役の助動詞+丁寧の助動詞」とかになるのでは?
    – Chocolate
    Feb 5, 2017 at 9:34

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