I have the following sentence to translate for class.


So far I have the following.

Professor Iwata
until he honorably retires
is honorably researching bivalve fossils throughout the whole world and
honorably wrote? articles for magazines etc 
also honorably appeared on the educational program that was broadcasted on TV

I am having an issue with the お書きになられたり.

First, it seems to be either doubling up the honorifics (normal?) or using the passive and I am not sure why.

And then there is the part. I know the たりたりする structure for "doing things like ... and ...". But the rest of the necessary structure doesn't appear to be there.

Can anyone explain what it is saying?

  • 2
    Yep, お書きになられる is a double honorific construction(二重敬語). It's considered wrong prescriptively, but it's very common. The たり without the final する is also quite common, although some might consider it a bit sloppy.
    – dainichi
    Apr 28, 2014 at 1:06
  • 4
    @dainichi With a little polish that comment seems like it'd be a more than suitable answer...
    – ssb
    Apr 28, 2014 at 4:22
  • I agree. I would accept it if it was an answer versus a comment. Apr 28, 2014 at 15:48
  • You don't have to say "honorably" for every verb in your translation. Not only does it sound weird, it's implied you're honouring him/her by the usage of 敬語.
    – istrasci
    Apr 29, 2014 at 15:03
  • Our professor just wants us to indicate things like that. That's why I always say it. Apr 29, 2014 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


In modern Japanese, honorific verbs are not further conjugated into involitional action*(自発), passive or potential. If any, it's double honorific. So is your example.

Double honorific is often reputed wrong, but actually it had been used for centuries and is still used today. Some people (with a certain political view) started to insist we should no longer use it after WW2.

  • In theory, involitional action, passive and potential could connect to honorific conjugations but people no longer use it today. Many people will consider it even a grammatical error.

(* examples of involitional action: 泣けた・泣けてきた: burst into tears)

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