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I was reading through wikiHow and stumbled across this sentence:

今夜10時までにこのレポートを終わらせなければならない

Why do they use the causative form of 終わる here? What I know is that the causative form is used to say "let/make someone do something". In this sentence, who is making who do something? Who is the subject? What is the object?

Or perhaps there exists another usage of the causative form?

I'm guessing the direct translation of that sentence would be:

I must (make myself?) finish this report by 10 pm tonight.

Why don't they use the transitive form 終える instead?

今夜10時までにこのレポートを終えなければならない

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you :)

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今夜10時までにこのレポートを終わらせなければならない

The subject is often omitted in Japanese sentences. As for the agent identification, both "Someone else makes/lets one do the report by 10 p.m." and "I make/let myself have finished the report by 10 p.m." will do. (Probably "let" sounds sparing time doing~ and "make" sounds more coercive.)

When you say this to a third party, it sounds more coercive. When you say it to yourself, it depends on your feeling. i.e. If you feel pressure, you may regard it as coercion.

  • "I must/have to (make myself) finish this report by 10 pm tonight."

I guess using "must/have to" indicates there is some enforcement.

今夜10時までにこのレポートを終えなければならない may sound like "should" if you just feel it's important. i.e.

  • "I should finish this report by 10 pm tonight."

All in all, it depends on the context. The two sentences might be identical. As for an obligation, however, the latter is weaker than the former.

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