As this game is selling well, I plan to buy one too.

How would we express this in Japanese?

  1. よくうれているようだから
  2. よくうられているようだから

Would the above sentence be interpreted as an active or passive form in Japanese?
Is there an instance when an active voice in English takes a passive interpretation in Japanese?

1 Answer 1


Intransitive "to sell" is 売れる/売れている in Japanese. You don't have to use any passive voice here.

But yes, sometimes English active verb is better translated into passive in Japanese. For example, "The sign reads 'NO TRESPASSING'" may be best rendered as 標識には立入禁止と書かれている. In this case there is no verb equivalent to intransitive "read" in Japanese.

Such cases are not so frequent, but after all, it all depends on each verb. You have to learn one by one looking up dictionaries, I think.

BTW よく売られている is also possible, and may mean "is commonly sold (in many shops)".

  • So - if the sentence read 'the game is being sold well' ,it would have taken よく売られている form?
    – IUnknown
    Nov 10, 2014 at 3:13
  • No. Do use 売れている. No need of passive voice. If you use 売られている, it may lead to different meaning, as I said above.
    – isayamag
    Nov 10, 2014 at 3:57

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