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I am reading よつばと! On page 180 of volume 1, the character Janbo is telling Yotsuba-chan that he is a "pro" when it comes to catching cicadas. In the balloon it says:

いいか よつば 俺はセミを取らせたらプロ級だぜ。 略してセミプロだ。

I understand the meaning of the sentence overall. What I don't understand exactly is the actual "grammar-like" usage of the causative 取らせる.

I tried to think grammatically 🤔

取らせる:
俺は取る。俺はセミを取る。
俺はセミを(よつばに)取らせる。
I'll allow (teach?) you to get cicadas.

・・・取らせたらプロだぞ。
If I "teach" you to catch cicadas, you'll be a "pro".

I wonder if that thought of mine is correct.

みなさん、教えてください。

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You can think of it this way:

俺は、[(誰かが/お前が)(俺に)セミを取らせたら、]プロ級だぜ。

The basic structure of this sentence is 俺はプロ級だ.

取らせる, "make someone catch", is the causative form of 取る.
The subject of 取らせる can be "(generic) you".
The agent of the action 取る is 俺.

(誰かが/お前が)(俺に)セミを取らせたら...
Literally means "If someone/you make me catch cicadas, ..."

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  • Sorry, my previous comment was totally confused... It sounds like the translation should be "If someone makes me catch cicadas I will be a pro". Is this correct? It sounds weird in English. I'm struggling to understand what it could mean, especially as I would expect なる rather than だ for that translation. How do you understand this sentence and in what context is it meaningful for you? I did enjoy the joke though :-) – user3856370 Jun 6 at 15:03
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    @user3856370 「あいつは何をさせてもうまい。」「あの人は歌わせても踊らせても上手い。」みたいなことはよく言うんですけど、英語にしたら変なんですかね・・ Lit. Whatever we make him do, he's good. She, whether you make her sing or dance, is good. ?? If you make me catch cicadas, you'll find me almost a pro ? When it comes to catching cicadas, I'm almost a pro. みたいな感じですかね? – Chocolate Jun 6 at 15:15
  • Makes perfect sense now. Thanks. – user3856370 Jun 6 at 15:41

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