The sentence in question (from here

どれ、 たべさせて もらおう。

The provided translation is: "Let's see, I think I will eat."

The volitional conjugation of もらう makes sense, and I am aware of the meaning of the 〜てもらう pattern, but I can't figure out how this combines with the causative conjugation of 食べる.


1 Answer 1


Based on this answer (Linked by @Chocolate in his comment) to a different question, which is much more general and encompasses more situations, here is my attempt at answering myself:

  1. The causative conjugation 食べさせる means either "make eat" or "let eat".
  2. While already clear from context, the 〜てもらう reinforces that "let eat" is meant, not "make eat".
  3. The volitional conjugation 〜もらおう makes the whole thing future-y.

So in the end a more literal translation would be "I shall allow myself to eat", which in context is clearly meant with some irony (/sarcasm? Not sure what the right term is).

I would be thankful if someone could confirm or disagree with this interpretation.

  • I do not feel confident enough to post an answer, but according to this other answer, 「~させてもらう」 can be translated to: "to take the liberty of doing ~ ", which is pretty similar to your proposed "to allow oneself to do ~".
    – jarmanso7
    Oct 26, 2020 at 17:34
  • I've read the source and it feels to me that it's not irony nor sarcasm, just the monkey's thought directed to himself.
    – jarmanso7
    Oct 26, 2020 at 17:38
  • @jarmanso7 I don't know the right English word for this, but since the monkey is saying it to the crab (at least that is how I understand it, not as his internal thoughts), who clearly can't get up the tree to the fruit, it sounds a bit like he is mocking the crab, or something along those line. And at least to me, so elaborately stating that he allows himself to eat only really makes sense if he doesn't really mean it entirely seriously.
    – user40476
    Oct 26, 2020 at 18:29
  • I apologise. I just read the short passage and completely missed the conversation with the crab. I agree with you.
    – jarmanso7
    Oct 26, 2020 at 18:53

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