Many of the Jp-related posts in the [Lingustics] SE are very advanced.

For example ----


(1) Vstem-causitive-passive-aspect-desiderative-NEG-tense

All the possibilities are not, of course, exploited in each expression, but the following illustrates some of the lengthy but commonly observed forms:

• 行かせられない 'go'-CAUS-POTEN-NEG-PRES

• 行かせられたくない 'go'-CAUS-PASS-DESI-NEG-PRES

• 歩かせ続けたい 'walk'-CAUS-CONT-DESI-PRES

What are some very long & complicated verb forms?




行かせられ続け得たくない (?)

行かせられ続け得たくなかった (?)

( 得難かった )

Are there well-known examples?

  • This must depend on the definiton of form...I tend to think of 続ける/得る as an auxiliary verb, not a verb form.
    – naruto
    Aug 27, 2016 at 9:26
  • 過去の習慣を示すのは アスペクト だとすると。 ______________ ・・・しがちだった。 はアスペクトだろう。 ______________ ・・・したものだった。 は、少し微妙で分からん。 ???
    – HizHa
    Aug 28, 2016 at 4:40
  • I remember reading about this example that apparently appeared in Doraemon: 宿題をやらせられたくなかった。I didn't want to be made to do my homework. Interesting because the order of the endings is exactly the reverse of the English (causative + passive + desire + negative + past tense). However, I would agree with Naruto that 続ける is more of an auxiliary than an ending, but one that joins on the 連体形 as opposed to the て form. Jan 3, 2019 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


Japanese is an agglutinative, head-final language.

English is more analytical language.

This means that some meanings that are expressed in English using modal verbs and subordinate clauses can be expressed with agglutinative conjugation in Japanese.

Since it's head-final, the conjugational morphemes are appended after one another (while in head-initial language they would be prepended) - this could explain why the order in which the markers are applied looks reversed in Japanese and in English:

"Did (PAST) not (NEG) want (DESI) to be (PASS) made to (CAUS) eat (root)"

食べさせられたく なかった tabe (root) -sase (CAUS) -rare (PASS) -taku (DESI) nakatta (NEG-PAST)

This form can be seen as analytical, made of two separate words:

  • 食べさせられたく - being an adverbial phrase
  • なかった - meaning "it was not that ~" and taking the adverbial phrase before it as an argument.

Which brings us to analytical forms in Japanese: The forms with 続く, 続ける, 得る, いる, ある, おく etc. can all be seen as analytical modal forms, which take nominal/adjectival form as an argument.

It depends on the specific verb what form it will be:

  • nominal/adverbial form 1 (連用形): ~続く, ~続ける, ~得る
  • nominal/adverbial form 2 (so-called て-form): ~いる, ~ある, ~おく

These are distinct from the agglutinative conjugation forms since they are based of full-fledged verbs, whose grammaticalised meanings stem from their regular lexical meanings:

  • 続く - "<something> continues", 続ける - "to continue <something>"
  • 得る - "<something> is obtainable"
  • ある - "to be" - as in "車が門の前に止めてある" - "the car has been parked at the front of the gate" (focus on the past action) (this form is less commonly used)
  • いる - "to be" - as in "車が門の前に止まっている" - "the car is parked at the front of the gate" (focus on the current state - a result of a past action)
  • おく - "to put" -> "to do <something> in advance"

They form sentences with subordinate clauses, and the main verb in each of those clauses may undergoes the agglutinative conjugation process.

Also, the meanings of the conjugational morphemes tends to be broader than the meaning of modal verbs. Causative can mean:

  • "to make (order, force) <someone> do <something>"
  • "to allow (agree for) <someone> do <something>"
  • "to allow (make it possible to) for <someone> do <something>"

Last, but not least - in conjugation like this, we are limited with respect to combinations we can form - the following examples are wrong:

  • X 食べられさせた ("made it that <something> has been eaten")
  • X 食べさせさせた ("made <someone> make <someone else> to eat")

To express those meanings, we would need analytical forms, probably with some nominalisations and させる used as full-fledged verb (causative form of する), not as a morpheme.

  • 2
    nominal/adverbial form 1 (連用形): ~続く -- Can you give some examples? I can think of examples of 連用形+続ける (やり続ける, 歩き続ける, 食べ続ける...) but can't think of any of 連用形+続く... 今、明鏡国語辞典を引いてみたら、「続ける」には🈔動詞の連用形に付いて複合語を作る 用法が載ってますが、「続く」には載ってないですね。
    – chocolate
    Jun 13, 2019 at 12:59
  • There are some examples of 連用形+続く in results of this dictionary query: dictionary.goo.ne.jp/srch/jn/%E7%B6%9A%E3%81%8F/m2u - 打ち続く、降り続く、立て続く、乗り続く. Although there are also some whose meanings are not a simple composition of meanings of the constituent verbs. So maybe suffixal 続く has more lexical than grammatical nature...
    – Yanagi
    Jun 13, 2019 at 13:21
  • おおっ、確かに、「雨が降り続いた」って言いますね~ (「降り続く」以外は使わないけど)
    – chocolate
    Jun 13, 2019 at 13:24
  • もう一度考えたら、この「~続く」は文法的か造語的か、どちらとも言えませんが...
    – Yanagi
    Jun 13, 2019 at 13:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .