I am confused with following question. What's the difference between たべられる and たべさせられる?

2 Answers 2

  • 食べる "to eat (something)" (active voice)

  • 食べられる "to be eaten (by someone)" (passive voice)

  • 食べさせる "to make/let (someone) eat (something)" (active voice, causative)

As you might know, the passive voice can sometimes express a feeling of unhappiness towards the result of the action (that is done against one's will).

In this case, the one doing the action of the verb is always doing it against his will, forced by someone.

Hence, 食べさせられる means "to be forced (by someone) to eat (something)".

I ate the cake.

The cake has been eaten by me. ← Unnatural because of the inanimate subject

I made/let my little brother eat the cake.

My big brother made me eat the cake. / I've been forced by my big brother to eat the cake.

I had to wait my friend for a good hour. / My friend made me wait a good hour.

For the Godan verbs, される is often used instead of せられる:

待つ → 待たせられる → 待たされる

  • I made my little brother eat the cake - Didnt I forced him? :) feels like forced if I made him.
    – Tahi
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 17:57
  • Yeah, it's just the active version of 弟は私にケーキを食べさせられた。 But it can also mean I let him eat the cake.
    – Alox
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 18:25

Does this help to illustrate the difference?

  • "Unfortunate"

    I was swallowed by an octopus.

  • "Not so serious"

    Someone made me eat octopus.

  • "Unlikely"

    An octopus (spoon-)fed me.

  • 1
    タコに食べられた can also mean "My precious thing (cake, for example) was eaten by an octopus." Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 17:03

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