Hiromi Sensei

Japanese Lessons, Travel, Food

れる られる 受身・受動態 – You are the victim!

Passive form is often used in a situation where something bad happened to you and you are upset about it. (You are the victim of the action.) The idea of passive form is to receive an action, so it is similar to sentences such as “I was given/gifted this table by my grandfather” in English, except this sentence is not literally expressing any feelings in the sentence. If the subjected person in a sentence was affected by an action that was made by somebody else, upset about what happened, then you mostly likely use this form. In other words, you can modify regular sentences into the one with sad or angry emotions by using passive form.  

かつよう 活用 Conjugations for passive form

るverbs/一段活用動詞 いちだんかつようどうし

ます form ( Stem) + られる

食べる →食べられる たべるm nn

見る  →見られる  みる

切る  →切られる  きる


うverbs /五段活用動詞 ごだんかつようどうし

Change last letter toあvowel sound + れる (Except: う→わ)

よむ→よまれる   読む→読まれる 

ぬすむ→ぬすまれる 盗む→盗まれる 

なぐる→なぐられる 殴る→殴られる 

はなす→はなされる 話す→話される 

Irregular verbs  


くる→こられる 来る→来られる

れいぶん 例文 Example sentences: 

わたしは おとうとに チョコレートケーキを たべられた。 


My brother ate my cholate cake. (I am annoyed!)

Let’s talk about the situation shown as an example. Your brother had eaten a chocolate cake in the fridge you saved for later. In English, you would describe the situation as “My brother ate my chocolate cake. However, without adding some more information such as “I am upset about it because I was looking forward to it!” you could be only stating what happened: just about the fact.

In this case, we can write like this:



How do you translate the sentence above in passive form in English? It doesn’t say “My cake was eaten by my brother” like when you change affirmative form into passive form for the original sentence. It would be difficult to do direct translation. The reason is “I” is the subject, and the object of the verb is “Chocolate cake” as you see the particle “を”. 

Because you want to express your feeling that you are the one who is upset/annoyed about the incident, you want to use yourself as a subject and use passive form to describe this unlucky situation. Note that when you can also talk about your friend, for example, as a victim. By using passive form, you are not just stating the fact but at lease either you (the speaker), or your friend (the subjected person) is upset about what happened to the subjected person.

Your brother, who made an action is going to be an indirect object in the sentence. How does it work then? You can use passive form because you are the subject/topic of the sentence and the receiver of the action.

Passive form without expressing negative ideas or feelings

You also use passive form when you are describing the person who makes action is either not important or unknown, which is similar in English grammar. In this case, there is no feeling expressed in the sentence.


このたてものは せんきゅうひゃくねんに たてられました。

This building was built in 1900.


にほんでは えんが つかわれています。

Yen is (being) used in Japan.

First of all, this sentence does not have a negative meaning as you can see. You can add the person who built the building or who is using yen in those sentences if you wish. In the examples, you can see that the speaker does not focus on the people but something else.

Key points

Difference between present and present continuous form in Passive form

the person who made the action and caused a trouble to the victim: you.  Your brother is going to be the indirect object, so you use に for the particle for the brother. Chocolate cake is still the object of the verb, eat. Therefore, you use particle “を” for the word chocolate cake.”

れんしゅう 練習 Exercises:

Please complete sentences below using passive form.

1.Somebody took (stole) my wallet.


2.  My friend drove my car (I am not happy with it!)


3. My mother draw picture on my face. (I am the victim!) *顔 かお (face)


4. The teacher scold my (older) brother.


5. This desk is made of wood.


かいとうれい 解答例 Example answers:

1.わたしは だれかに さいふを ぬすまれた。


2. わたしは ともだちに くるまを うんてんされた。


3.わたしは ははに えを かおに かかれた。


4. わたしの あには せんせいに おこられた。


5.このつくえは きで つくられています。