4

The following sentence comes from 中上級の日本語 magazine for february:

新聞記事は、記者がコツコツと取材をしてデータを集め、それをもとに出来事を調べたり、関係者の話を聞いたりして書かれています。

It is grammatically correct but I find the change from active to passive voice, ie from extensively describing journalists' activities in the active voice to connecting those activities to the topic of newspaper articles in the passive, quite jarring.

Is this just because I am not a native speaker, who would find this quite natural, or is it just not very good writing? (Given that this is a magazine for students of Japanese you would not expect bad writing in the explanatory passages by the magazine's staff.)

7

Having read it several times, I could only say that that is good writing. It contains no errors, ambiguity or unnaturalness; therefore, it would not cause any misunderstanding among the readers.

Mixing active voice with passive voice in a sentence is nothing new in English, is it? Consider the following sentence.

"Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing to remove the liquid. "

I find the structure of this English sentence similar to that of the Japanese sentence in question. Only, the passive voice verb phrase "is made" (「書かれています」 in the Japanese) will come at the end of the sentence in the Japanese.

  • Part of the confusion might be because of the use of both topic and subject. I think that English L1 speakers (for example) sometimes have to spend a tiny bit more effort to link 〜が and 〜は, especially when they are doing different jobs with different verbs in the same sentence. – bright-star Dec 22 '16 at 18:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.