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Passive Form (Adversity with Transitive Verbs)

Passive Form (Adversity with Transitive Verbs)

The Adversity Passive Form, also known as the Indirect Passive Form, is one of two versions of the Passive Form in the Japanese language. As opposed to making the direct object or the indirect object of the verb the subject of the sentence like the Simple Passive Form (also known as the Direct Passive Form) does, the Adversity Passive Form instead makes the entity adversely affected by the actions of the verb the subject of the sentence.

For example, in English, consider the Active Form sentence “A thief stole my car.” In changing this sentence into the Simple Passive Form, it would become “My car was stolen by a thief.” In this Simple Passive Form, the sentence has effectively adopted the direct object of the verb, “my car,” as the new subject. And although in some cases the Simple Passive Form can also alternatively make the indirect object of the verb the subject of the sentence, that is not the case here because the verb “to steal” does not quite allow for an indirect object to its action. However, it is clear that the act of a car being stolen has affected an entity, as in the owner of the car, which is you, the speaker of the sentence. So, in order to make you, the entity that was adversely affected by the action into the subject of the sentence, we employ the Adversity Passive Form of the sentence, which is the sentence “I had my car stolen by a thief.” In this new sentence, the nuance of sympathy towards the adversely effected, you, is much more present than in both the Active Form and the Simple Passive Form of the sentence.

Additionally, the Adversity Passive Form is used with both transitive verbs and intransitive verbs. As should be self-explanatory, when used with transitive verbs, the subject of the sentence is an entity being adversely affected by the actions another entity has performed to something other than itself. When used with intransitive verbs, the subject of the sentence is an entity being adversely affected by the actions another entity has performed unto itself.

Example(s):

サッカーボールに頭を打たれた
Soccer ball ni atama o utareta.
(I was hit in the head by a soccer ball.)

公園で荷物を盗まれた
Kouen de nimotsu o nusumareta.
(I had my luggage stolen at the park.)

電車のなかでジョージワシントンは知らない人に靴を踏まれた
Densha no naka de George Washington wa shiranai hito ni kutsu o fumareta.
(George Washington had his shoe stepped on by a stranger on the train.)