In the following sentence, taken from an article about tatami the transitive and passive verbs (編む&作る)seem to be combined into one phrase to express what I have said translation but it does not seem to fit any logical grammatical sequence:


Tatami-omote is the surface of the tatami mat, in other words the part that comes into contact with people's feet. It is made from rushes woven together.

I assume the Japanese (if not my translation) is correct but can somebody explain the logic of what is being described grammatically?

My best guess is that the passive verb (作られている) is somehow acting on the transitive (編んで) in the same way that ある acts on transitive verbs in expressions such as 「ご飯を作ってあります」(note) but it is my first time to see this and I don't recall it in any text book.

Note: を was chosen deliberately in this example to be consistent with my subject sentence.

1 Answer 1


I think イグサという植物の茎を編んで is an adjunct that tells us how the main clause verb 作られています happens. That is, it's similar to the English:

tatami-omote is made [by weaving rush stalks]

Note that the English has one passive (is made) and one non-finite verb (weaving). It corresponds fairly well to the Japanese, in which 作られている is passive and 編んで is non-finite. There's no need for the other verb to be passive, just like in English weaving doesn't need to be passive.

  • I am not familiar with the phrase non-finite but wikipedia tells me it is the a verb not inflected by grammatical tense (such as the infinitive (non- vs in-?)). Pls correct me if I am wrong. Are you saying that the て-form is non-finite? Does this also apply to the present-progessive 〜てある form and also sentences where we have て-form followed by verb in perfect た-form?
    – Tim
    May 10, 2014 at 15:30
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    @Tim Japanese has two morphological tenses, often called past (た) and non-past (る), and a clause with either of these is considered finite. A clause ending in 〜て isn't either of these, so we can call it non-finite.
    – user1478
    May 10, 2014 at 16:16
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    If we extend the discussion to predicates where 〜て is followed by a subsidiary verb (補助動詞) such as いる・ある・いく・くる・おく etc., it gets a little more complicated to describe, because usually the combination acts more like a single predicate than two separate predicates joined by て. Your sentence with 編んで and 作られています, however, has two predicates, one finite and one not. The finite verb is 作られています.
    – user1478
    May 10, 2014 at 16:51

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