I can see that someone got mad or someone made someone else mad. The things that make it difficult are
に and the
られる form of
怒る. What does this mean? How do you figure out who did what in these types of sentences?
It may first bear mentioning that 怒られる is usually used specifically to mean "got scolded by", rather than "to became the focus of someone's anger".
This may make it easier to understand.
Maybe the fact that
But in Japanese, they are both expressed as
The two examples above describe (roughly) the same event; in both sentences, A is who scolded, and B is who was scolded. But in the first sentence, it is B that appears with
Language hacker raised an interesting point in the comment, so I will add something. You can also see the difference between the two usages of
This is one of those cases where the Japanese られる doesn't quite line up nicely with the English passive:
With the passive られる, the subject of the sentence (usually 私 if it's omitted) is the "target" (on the receiving end) of the action. In other words, something is done to the subject rather than by the subject. (The by part is marked by に, as sawa mentioned.)
To address your comment about the たい construction, then:
Also, when に is used not with 怒られる, but with 怒る, it marks the cause of anger:
What none of the other answers pointed out is that the
Unlike regular passives, which take a transitive verb and move the object so it becomes the subject, the 迷惑の受け身 also works with intransitives and can make sentence patterns you wouldn't find with regular passives even when working with transitives. In general, the constuction means that something was done, and someone was affected by experiencing that action - almost always negatively. That
(To give credit, the last two sentences are derived from that linguistics presentation I mentioned)
What does all that have to do with 怒られた? I think it can be interpreted as an example of this pattern in addition to the classic passive. Someone was mad and I was in trouble because of that (hence, he was mad at me). In addition, since 怒る is listed in my dictionary as an intransitive verb, this syntactic interpretation makes even more sense to me.
Note: Edited after some consultation with native speakers.
I feel your pain. These used to confuse the heck out of me for a long time, so I know where you are coming from.
I'm assuming you are in a situation where you're reading something, and context can be spread out over pages. You find a sentence fragment like 「ボブに怒られた」 and you're wondering if someone is angry at Bob, or Bob is angry at someone. The subject was maybe established three pages ago, and you could maybe go back and check, but you want to be able to keep trucking like a native speaker would, sure in your knowledge of which way the action is flowing.
First, for the purpose of sorting this out, think of に in terms of being a pointer. It says that something is going toward the thing that it is connected to. Anger doesn't really move around like a ball, but just imagine it does.
So we have two cases:
Both sentences have "Bob" and "anger" in them, but, if your confusion is like mine was, you're not sure which of them means Bob is angry, and which means someone is angry at Bob. Or, at least, how to reliably and systematically determine the difference.
In both cases, に points at Bob, so to figure out who is angry, we need to be more precise about what exactly is coming at him. There's a ball of anger coming at him, the type of ball is different because of the different verb form.
In the first case, ボブに怒った, it's just plain anger coming at Bob. The anger ball is being thrown at his head by someone. He just receives someone's anger. Thus, someone is angry at him.
In the second case, ボブに怒られた, what is coming at Bob is the potential to be angry. He is being endowed with anger. This time, because of the verb form, the anger ball is absorbed into Bob, so this time it's Bob that is angry. Something or someone made him angry.
You can at this point, be sure about the direction of the action, without being thrown by the use of に. However, there is more to the story.
You could also translate ボブに怒られた as "Bob scolded [someone]". It's a fragment, so we don't know who Bob is angry at, but the thing is, Bob has been endowed with anger, and anger as a concept is usually directed at someone or something. So Bob is angry, most likely, at the person who threw the anger ball at him. He has still been endowed with anger, so it's still okay to think of it as "Bob was made angry". It's just that the focus is on Bob, and and his anger is probably going somewhere now that he has it.
What if you want to put the focus on the person who made Bob angry? Then you could do this:
This also says "Bob was made angry" or "Bob scolded [someone]" but because of the ~らせる form, the emphasis is on the fact that someone (or something) made Bob angry.
Let's say Taro made Bob angry. If we say 太郎がボブに怒らせた, we are saying that Taro is definitely responsible for Bob's anger, even though Taro might not have done anything deliberately. The point is that focus is on Taro's action.
If we say 太郎がボブに怒られた, we're saying Bob got angry at Taro, even though Taro might not have done a thing to deserve it. The focus is on Bob's reaction.
In short, the point is that に always directs action onto something. But when you use られる, or らせる, you are directing an endowment onto the target. The target then takes on that quality instead of just receiving it.
Hope that helps.