I have been studying the causative, passive, causative-passive forms and found that they are very confusing. I am not confused much about the conjugation (される, etc), but in identifying the who/what the subject is and what he is doing (or what is being done by who).

Anyone who also have this confusion? Please point me to resources where I can practice (for a workbook/drill kind) or examples that can be of great reference.


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Genki II Textbook (Although not technically free) is a great resource.

I am not confused much about the conjugation (される, etc),

but in identifying the who/what the subject is and what he is doing

(or what is being done by who).

(Almost everything down below is from Genki II)

Here's a way to remember it.


先生学生 に 会話を覚えさせました

("Director") は ("Cast") に ("Action").

The professor made the students memorize the dialogue.

The "director" decides what is allowed and what is to be done. Marked with は or が.

The "cast" performs the action. Usually goes with に.

The "action" is described with a causative form of the verb.


 は 友達 に 車を使われました。

("Victim") は ("Villain") に ("Evil Act").

I had my car used by my friend.

In most passive sentences, the "victim" has been unfavorably affected by the "villain's" act.

The one doing the action is the "villain", and the "victim" is affected in some way or another.

Here is an example where I think it is "not unfavorable", however the "victim" will still be affected.


Everything is included in this package. ("Everything" is "being included" by "the package".)

In this case, "Everything", or あらゆるもの, is the "victim", who is being affected by "being included".

"The package", or パッケージ, is the "villain" who is including "everything."

The reason why I don't consider this an "unfavorable" situation is because the sentence is about inanimate objects.


 は 彼女 に 車を洗わされました

("Puppet") は ("Puppet Master") に ("Action").

My girlfriend made me wash her car.

The "puppet" (i.e. 私 or "me")is forced into performing an action. Marked with は or が.

The "puppet master" (i.e. 彼女 or "My girlfriend")"wields power over, and manipulates", the "puppet". Uses に.

The "action" forced upon the "puppet" is described with a causative-passive verb.

  • 2
    I'm curious about the word "tricked" in the English translation of the last example. I think that has a nuance which is not necessarily carried by 洗わされる. Perhaps "My girlfriend made me wash her car" is a better translation. Anyone agree/disagree? – Locksleyu Aug 9 '17 at 15:57
  • @Locksleyu agree. I will change it because although the book gives that translation, it can lead to confusion. Thanks! – knowledge_is_power Aug 9 '17 at 15:58
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    @Locksleyu I'm probably beating a dead horse here, but I also agree that the 'tricked' translation is suspect. If I were to say my girlfriend tricked me into washing her car, I'd personally say something to the effect of: 私が彼女の車を洗うよう、彼女に騙{だま}された。 Maybe not the most natural translation, but I would definitely use 騙される。 – ajsmart Aug 9 '17 at 20:34

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