In the never ending adventure that is my quest to learn a new language, I’ve run into a countless amount of speedbumps and roadblocks. Typically I manage to get past them eventually, but one I find myself constantly stumbling on are the causative and passive forms of verbs. Recently, I started taking lessons with an actual teacher, and I asked her to help me out with them, to better wrap my mind around how and when to use them. So this blog entry is really just to document that information while it’s still fresh in my head and try to reinforce it.
The passive form is used when something happens to the subject of the sentence. The way this form is created is as follows:
|Verb Type||Conjugation Rule|
|-る||る becomes られる|
|-う||ない form, minus ない, add れる|
食べる -> 食べられる 寝る -> 寝られる 話す -> 話される 飲む -> 飲まれる
The verb we used in some of our examples as 無くす - “to lose”.
無くす -> 無くされる
All verbs in this form become -る verbs, so they follow the same conjugation rules.
無くされる 無くされた 無くされます 無くされました
The first two are the present and past casual forms, the second two are the polite forms of the present and past forms.
私はペンを無くされました。 My pen was lost. / I have lost my pen. 私は田中さんにペンを無くされました。 Tanaka-san lost my pen.
Something we covered is that the person who has caused the action takes the に particle, which in this instance is Tanaka-san.
Some further verbs we used were:
捨てる - throw away, discard 捨てられる - thrown away, discarded 見る - see 見られる - was seen (by someone) 笑う - to laugh 笑われる - laugh (at someone) 怒る - to get angry 怒られる - mad at バカにする - to make fun of someone バカにされる - made fun of 笑う - to laugh 笑われる - laughed [at] 雨が降る - to rain 雨に降られる - to be rained on
Some further example sentences:
私は子供にバカにされました I was made fun of by [a] kid. 雨に降られるました I was rained on. 私は蚊に刺されました I was bitten by a mosquito. 足を踏まれました My foot was stepped on. 財布を盗まれた My wallet was stolen.
The causative form, on the other hand, involves making someone do something. The teacher described it as a power relationship - you have the ability to make someone do something. The causative form conjugates similarly to the passive form (which has always been part of my confusion).
|Verb Type||Conjugation Rule|
|-る||る becomes させる|
|-う||ない form, minus ない, add せる|
So, passive is られる/れる, causative is させる/せる. Some example verbs:
And some of the verbs we used in the lesson:
働く - to work 働かせる - made to work 飲む - to drink 飲ませる - made to drink 習う - to learn 習わせる - made to learn 持つ - to hold 持たせる - make someone hold something 諦める - to give up 諦めさせる - made to give up 練習する - to practice 練習させる - made to practice 拾う - to pick up 拾わせる - made to pick up
A brief note, to indicate the difference between using ～てもらいます and the causative form.
後輩に車を運転してもらいました The junior [student, colleague, etc] drove the car [as a favor] 後輩に車を運転させた The junior was made to drive the car
The first form indicates something was done as a favor, while the second form indicates they were made to do it. Another good example sentence:
お母さんは子供にピアノを練習させました The mother made the child practice piano.
For more information on these forms, and the causative-passive form, there’s a great article on Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese.
I definitely still have work to do committing these to memory, though.