So how can I say "My TV was broken by you", which one is correct?

  • 僕のテレビは君に壊れた

  • 僕のテレビは君に壊れられた

  • Can we rephrase this as "You broke my TV"?
    – ajsmart
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 19:39
  • 1
    If you want, but the question here is about the passive form, that's why it is written in that way Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 19:46
  • Noted, I'll take that into account.
    – ajsmart
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


This falls under the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs. You are using the intransitive verb, when you should be using the transitive verb.

Transitive verbs require an agent to do them. They do not happen on their own, and need someone/something to do them. For example:

I woke Brian up.

I opened the door

Intransitive verbs happen on their own naturally. In other words, they are done automatically, without your help. For example:

I woke up.

The door opened.

There is a transitive/intransitive pair for the verb break. The transitive form is 壊す{こわす}and it means "to break." Because it is a transitive verb, you need to do the breaking, it does not break on its own.


You broke my TV.

The intransitive verb is 壊れる{こわれる}, and it means "to break, to be broken." This is a thing that happens on its own, and no one did anything to break it.


That TV is broken.

You are trying to say, "My TV was broken by you." This requires a passive voice, where the TV is the subject of the sentence. So you were on the right track when you used ~られる when you attempted this sentence. 壊す is a godan verb, so we won't use ~られる、but rather 「~base 1 + れる。」The conjugated form becomes 壊される。


Hope it helps.

  • Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that you can use the passive structure ~られる with intransitive verbs.
    – ajsmart
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 20:02
  • 1
    I believe you are right. There would be no need for a passive form if there was no one to do the action.
    – TFlo83
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 20:05
  • Perfect answer, this is exactly what I needed thank you a lot Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 20:06
  • 2
    @ajsmart In Japanese, intransitive verbs can be used in the passive form too. You should look up "indirect passive (Japanese grammar)" or so. e.g. 先に行かれたら困る: it'd be unfavorable for us if you go first. You can make "us" as in "for us" into the subject of the sentence in Japanese.
    – user4092
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 21:58
  • 3
    I don't think that you can use the passive structure ~られる with intransitive verbs -> 間接受け身(indirect passive), 迷惑の受け身(suffering passive) なら、「自動詞の受け身」ありえますね、一応…「妻に死なれた」「恋人に逃げられた」「子供に泣かれた」「雨に降られた」とか。tomojuku.com/blog/firstlesson1/passive-5 ・ japanese.stackexchange.com/a/23865/9831
    – chocolate
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 22:01

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