Consider this sentence

speaker is talking to himself about how to deal with an adversary (X), he has so far tried to hire a 暴漢 to beat up X, and a 探偵 to snoop on X, both of which have failed.


in this case would interpret this as:

  • (俺が)暴漢に(Xを)襲わせても返り討ち、探偵を雇っても不発……。

Compared to






At first glance it would appear

風 "causing" 髪をなびかせる - i don't think 髪を風に(して)なびかせる applies here

興奮 "causing" 目を血走らせた

As far as i can tell, that does not seem grammatical. But i can't easily add unspoken (...) to these for them to make sense.

compare to:


where 風 is no doubt 短い髪をなびかせる'ing.

How is に and the following causative expressions used here?


1 Answer 1


Both なびく and 血走る are "intransitive verbs that do not take を" when used plainly. When you form the causative form from these verbs, you have to mark the agent (causee) with , not に (See this rule). Here に plays a role that has nothing to do with the grammar of causation (I believe you already know this is 原因の「に」).

    髪がなびく。            目が血走る。     (simple intransitive usage)
風に髪がなびく。      興奮に目が血走る。     (simple intransitive usage with に)
    髪をなびかせる。        目を血走らせる。 (causative usage)
風に髪をなびかせる。  興奮に目を血走らせる。 (causative usage with に)

Don't confuse this with causative forms made from transitive verbs, where the agent is marked with に (e.g. 息子にお菓子を食べさせる, 暴漢に奴を襲わせる).

  • to confirm, this works because なびく and 血走る are inherently intransitive right?So 原因の「に」can be used even though なびかせる and 血走らせる are "transitive" so they can take を。However can 原因の「に」be used in "AにBを食べる" where 食べる is inherently transitive? I don't think so but i'd like to confirm
    – charu
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 2:53
  • 1
    I don't think AにBを食べる means something...
    – naruto
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 3:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .