original (Causative Intransitive): 彼女は私の肩に頭を凭れさせる


new (transitive): 彼女は私の肩に頭を凭せる

way back when i asked this, i took it as sometimes there is no transitive pair for an intransitive verb so the causative is used to take direct object with を (like with はためく?).

Looking back on it this most of these definitely have a transitive pair, so what is the difference then?

can be applied to this from the link:

(original) レンズをあちこちに巡らせる vs レンズをあちこちに巡らす。 

  • Sorry but it's not quite clear what your question is. Are you asking about the difference between using the causative form and using a transitive verb?
    – kandyman
    Nov 1, 2018 at 10:07
  • 2
    Transitive vs Causitive Intransitive as the title says
    – charu
    Nov 1, 2018 at 14:07

1 Answer 1


According to this article, there are a few main differences.

One difference is that if the thing that is being caused to do something is inanimate, it can sound unnatural:





The reason for this is that the causative construction implies a willingness of the thing that is being caused to do something to do that action. So because of this, in your example, レンズをあちこちに巡らす is probably the more natural construction.

Another difference is that there is a difference in meaning:

乗客を降りさせる = make the passenger get off the vehicle

乗客を降ろす = let the passenger get off the vehicle

In the former, the driver or whoever causes the passenger to be motivated to get off the vehicle. The latter is a routine thing in that the passenger is just let get off.


Semantics of Japanese Causativization (1973) gives the following example for the difference between the transitive and the causative intransitive when the direct object is inanimate.


This is used when the engine is stopped through normal means such as a key is used to turn off the engine.


This is used when the engine is stopped through abnormal means such as putting sand or rocks in it. In other words, the engine is unable to be controlled through normal means. When the causative intransitive is used, the engine is seen as a not just an inanimate object, but as a thing that can act/move on its own.

Thus, レンズをあちこちに巡らせる likely implies that the レンズ was moved around unnaturally (i.e. it wasn't supposed to be moved in the first place or the ability to move it was damaged/broken so some unusual methods had to be used to move it).

  • since the source material used レンズをあちこちに巡らせる instead of the "more natural construction" what is that implying?
    – charu
    Nov 2, 2018 at 17:38
  • @charu i added an edit that hopefully explain the difference in implication.
    – Ringil
    Nov 4, 2018 at 16:22
  • in this case, the operator of the camera was trying to focus on a rapidly moving object, so likely an abnormal usage. so i think your explanation fits great!
    – charu
    Nov 4, 2018 at 16:52
  • Given this explanation, why is it more common to say 仕事終わらせる instead of 仕事終える, when we're talking about finishing the work in the normal way?
    – max
    Apr 16, 2022 at 6:04
  • @max I think it's because 終える is sometimes used when you don't really have control over the thing ending or not whereas 終わらせる is always used in situations where you have control. japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/82366/… has a decent take as well.
    – Ringil
    Apr 16, 2022 at 12:31

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