I previously asked a question regarding causative form of verb (Using もらう with に/を particle and passive/causative forms)

Looking at example sentence 5 (AさんはBさんに病院に送らせてもらう), this translates to "B let/made (someone/A) send (something else/ someone else) to hospital (as a favor for A)", or at least is what I wrote, and it seems from the answer that this translation is indeed correct.

Upon reading further on japanese causative forms, I stumbled upon https://www.wasabi-jpn.com/japanese-grammar/japanese-grammar-proper-particles-with-the-causative-form/ which states that the action taker is marked with the に particle (or sometimes を). Assuming that's the case, wouldn't the sentence translate to "A let B send (someone/A) to hospital"(normally used as first person), where the てもらう/てくれる only serves as a more explicit marker that A "let" instead of "made" B.

What went wrong with my understanding here. Any pointers would be appreciated.

  • 1
    AさんはBさんに病院に送らせてもらう only sounds "We will make B to send A to hospital".
    – user4092
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


It bears repeating that this sentence is artificial in that you would normally not twist the sentence that much, and you would use a sentence with 許可 or something to denote the fact that B-san gave permission for the action. And I didn't notice to mention this previously, but since てもらう is present tense, "let/made" should really be "lets/makes" (present) or "will let/will make" (future) here.

送らせる ("to make (sb) send (smt)"/"to let (sb) take (smt) (somewhere)") here is treated as the full verb, so it will never have the simpler meaning of 送る ("to send"/"to take (sb)(somewhere)") as long as it is used in that form. And since に points to the action taker in a passive sentence, here, B-san is the one who does the direct action 送らせる, while the もらう is the "action" (of receiving a favor) taken by the passive party, which is almost certainly (but not necessarily) A-san as given by the は. (You could also interpret this sentence to have another passive recipient of B-san's 送らせる and have A-san be related to this in some other way, like "I (C-san) will have B-san let me take A-san to the hospital", but this would make the meaning/usage of the sentence even more unnatural than it already is.)

てもらう and てくれる would be opposite in meaning here. AさんはBさんに病院に送らせてくれる would also sound really weird, but it would technically translate to something like "A-san will let/make B-san take (someone, probably the speaker?) to the hospital, and this is considered a good thing by the speaker (who is probably neither A-san nor B-san))". Here I'd assume A-san is B-san's superior and decided to do a favor to the speaker by ordering B-san to take the speaker to the hospital.

  • Is the example sentence in its passive form? I'd thought that for it to be in its passive form, the verb should really be 送らせられてもらう instead of 送らせてもらう. If it was the former, your explanation would make sense. The latter however, is an active(normal) sentence (I think). And what I read in the link, the に particle in a regular causative sentence marks the doer(the one being made/let) to do verb
    – Newbie
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 7:45
  • It's really the てもらう that turns it into a passive-ish construct, with a meaning similar to 送らせられる although it implies that the receiving end benefits from the action (or possibly that the receiving end asked the action taker to take that particular action, etc). I guess you could say that it "flips around"/"reverses" the action taker to become the other party instead. 送らせられてもらう would be like a double-passive in this sense.
    – VVayfarer
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 7:57
  • Thanks for the reply. Just to be sure, is it only もらう, and not くれる and あげる that changes the sentence into its passive counterpart. And by extension, if the sentence is already in its passive form, does post-fixing a もらう sort of "passify" the passive form (double passive)
    – Newbie
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 8:15
  • 1
    くれる、あげる、やる、さしあげる etc only give the connotation that the action is beneficial to the recipient or that the action taker is doing it in favor of the recipient, while てもらう "flips" the acton taker and the receiving end. You don't really hear people use もらってもらう, but it would mean "have someone receive something". ってもらってもらう is never used in real life, but it would technically flip the positions twice.
    – VVayfarer
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 8:39
  • Thanks for the explanation, cleared up a lot. Have accepted the answer
    – Newbie
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 8:51

You must log in to answer this question.

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