I understand the difference in concept; YがXを向ける = "Y turns X", and ZがYにXを向けさせる = "Z makes Y turn X". But in practical usage with 注意を~, I can't tell the difference. Do native speakers just use them interchangeably?

Below are both example sentences from alc.co.jp:

~に (人) の注意を向けさせる: bring ~ to the attention of

~に (人) の注意を向ける: direct someone's attention to ~

Same particles, and basically the same English translation. There is also a sentence in a Japanese grammar book I'm reading about the sentence-ending particle よ:


How would the meaning change if 向ける were used here instead?

2 Answers 2

  1. 私は黒板に彼の注意を向けた
  2. 私は黒板に彼の注意を向けさせた
  3. 私は彼に黒板に注意を向けさせた

These are basically interchangeable. In Sentence 1, the speaker directly drew his attention to the blackboard (his attention was moved by 私). Sentence 2 is more indirect; the speaker made him to direct his attention to the blackboard (his attention was moved by 彼 because 私 asked him to do so). Sentence 3 is a slightly modified version of Sentence 2; now you can see the agent (causee), 彼, is explicitly marked by another に.

There is no significant difference between them, but Sentence 1 may tend to sound like the speaker directly drew his attention e.g., by tapping the blackboard, whereas Sentence 2 & 3 tend to sound like the speaker asked him, "Hey look at the blackboard".

Sentence 3 has two に's in succession, which is not wrong but not very nice, either. If you care, remember you can always replace 黒板に to 黒板:

  1. 私は黒板へ彼の注意を向けた
  2. 私は黒板へ彼の注意を向けさせた
  3. 私は彼に黒板へ注意を向けさせた

As is stated in the question, it seems to me that 注意を向けさせる and 注意を向ける are sometimes used interchangeably. But when preceded by(だれだれ)の, this makes their use more restricted shown in the following examples.

? 私は その美しい花に 彼女の注意を向けさせた。(sounds unnatural because of the causative verb 向けさせる)

私は その美しい花に 彼女の注意を向けた。(most natural in these four sentences)

*私は 彼女に その美しい花に 注意を向けた。(彼女に concords only with the causative verb 向けさせる)

私は 彼女に その美しい花に 注意を向けさせた。(grammatical but sounds a little awkward because of two に)

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