Components

Grammar detail: verb passive form

verb passive form - is done
300 words
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The passive form a verb indicates that 'something was done (by somebody)'. So for example, in English, 'I eat a meal' is active, whereas 'the meal was eaten by me' is passive.
In Japanese, the passive form is formed as follows:
  • For ichidan (る) verbs, replace the る with られる. For example:
    たべる eat ➜ たべられる is eaten
  • For godan (う) verbs, replace the vowel in the last sound with the equivalent sound containing あ, then add れる. For example:
    よむ read ➜ よまれる is read
    ,
    はなす speak ➜ はなされる is spoken
  • There are a handful of irregular forms. For example:
    する do ➜ される is done
    ,
    くる come ➜ こられる (see note on politeness below)
The passive form acts as a standard ichidan (る) verb. See our verb conjugation overview for more information.
Note that for ichidan verbs, the passive and the potential forms are identical:
  • たべる eat ➜ たべられる can mean either 'is eaten' or 'can eat' depending on context
For godan verbs ending in る, there is a slight difference:
  • みる see ➜ みられる is seen (passive), but みれる can see (potential)
Note that in Japanese, the passive form is often used to increase the level of politeness, and in some cases, English does not have an equivalent passive form. One example is くる - there is no direct passive form in English, but the Japanese passive form こられる indicates a higher degree of politeness. For example:
たなか
田中
さんいっしょに
られました

Did you come with Ms Tanaka?
する (to do) is another verb for which the passive form is often used to increase politeness. する (plain form) ➜ します (ます form) ➜ されます (passive form, politer than ます form) ➜ なさいます (honorific form, politer still).
In Japanese the passive form is known as
うけみけい
受身形
.
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Kanji used in this grammar

ジュ   うける to receive, to accept   うかる to pass (an exam)    
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シン   み body, person   
ケイ   ギョウ   shape   かたち    かた    
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デン   た rice field   
チュウ   ジュウ   なか middle   
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ライ   く to come   きた to be forthcoming   きた to induce   
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