If ”かぶせる” is a "causative verb," what does it mean when a causative verb is conjugated in the causative form?

プランターに生えているカタバミの葉を用意し、アルミホイルをかぶせさせる。 http://www.city.obama.fukui.jp/~edu/rika/school/hamatyu2/jugo16/school_hamatyu2_a_1.htm

ドルチェ・ガバーナのマネキンは、絞首刑になる人にかぶせさせる 目隠しがあった。 http://perabita.seesaa.net/article/163983279.html


Let's break this down logically. To say

A makes B cover C with D

you would say


In the first sentence mentioned in the question, not all of ABCD are immediately evident, but if you follow the link, you'll see that this is about what a teacher should instruct students to do, i.e.

教師が生徒に、葉にホイルを被せさせる The teacher makes the students cover the leaves with foil.

No problems using 被せさせる here.

The second example is trickier. We already have 絞首刑になる人に ending in に, but this could be either B or C. Also, A is not explicit. So either:

誰かが絞首刑囚に、誰かに目隠しを被せさせる Someone makes people who get hanged cover somebody's eyes with blindfolds


誰かが誰かに、絞首刑囚に目隠しを被せさせる Someone makes someone cover the eyes of people who get hanged with blindfolds

The first one hardly makes any sense, and in the second one, there doesn't seem to be any reason for the extra level of indirection.

Surely what is meant is one of the following:

絞首刑になる人にかぶせる目隠しがあった。 They had the blindfolds that you cover the eyes of people who get hanged with.

絞首刑になる人のかぶる目隠しがあった。 They had the blindfolds that people who get hanged wear/put on.

絞首刑になる人にかぶらせる目隠しがあった。 They had the blindfolds that you make people who get hanged cover their eyes with.

So bottom line:

The first usage is correct, the second one is wrong.

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  • thank you very much for such a detailed answer to a poorly phrased question. – yadokari Jan 23 '12 at 22:28

In the first sentence, かぶせる is not a causative form of the verb; it's a normal verb, meaning "to cover." (It's important to realize that not every verb that ends in 〜せる is the causative form of another verb.) Hence, かぶせさせる is not double-causative; it's single-causative.


Have the children prepare leaves from the sorrel growing in the planter, and cover them in foil.

The second かぶせさせる is the same; it's just a causative form of a regular, transitive verb (かぶせ+させる).

ドルチェ・ガバーナのマネキンは、絞首刑になる人にかぶせさせる 目隠しがあった。

The Dolce and Gabbana mannequins had the sort of blindfolds that you put onto people who are going to be hanged.

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  • thank you. I'm sorry but i don't understand your first sentence. In the first example why is it written かぶせさせる? Is the verb we are talking about かぶる or かぶせる? – yadokari Jan 22 '12 at 5:04
  • The verb is most definitely not かぶる; it is かぶせる. かぶせる is not a causative form; it's a normal, transitive verb. That verb is then conjugated into causative form, becoming かぶせさせる. Here's a link to the dictionary entry for かぶせる: dic.yahoo.co.jp/… – NattyBumppo Jan 22 '12 at 5:09
  • thanks again. what does かぶせさせる mean? in the first example it means "have them cover.."? And in the second example it would mean "make them put on"? like "the sort of blindfold you make someone put on when they are going to be hanged"? – yadokari Jan 22 '12 at 5:26
  • かぶせる means "to put on" or "to cover with," so かぶせさせる means "to make (someone) cover" or "to have (someone) cover." The causative here is pretty standard; in the first example, it means "to make them put (the foil on the leaves)." In the second example, it is, as Ito-san said in another comment, more similar to かぶせる in meaning than かぶさせる. But grammatically, it's just causative, not "causative of causative." – NattyBumppo Jan 22 '12 at 6:37

Hmm, strange... These should be 「アルミホイルを[被]{かぶ}せる(=to cover =[覆]{おお}う)」/「絞首刑になる人に[被]{かぶ}らせる(=the causative form of [被]{かぶ}る)」, no...?

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  • 1
    I agree. Judging from the question, some people seem to say かぶせさせる when they mean かぶせる. Sounds like sloppy wording to me. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 22 '12 at 6:19
  • Doesn't this remind us of 「ら抜き言葉」 these days? Sometimes it seems to me some Japanese people haven't learned to use '正しい' Japanese... I think they didn't take 'the Japanese language'(I mean as a school subject) seriously at junior/senior high. – user1016 Jan 22 '12 at 15:51

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