I am aware that "言われる" means "to be told". My impression would be that "私に言われても" means "Even if I told you..." while "私が言われても" means "Even if I am told...".

But this site answer seems to suggest that another interpretation of "私に言われても" is "Even if I am told..."

Is that a correct interpretation, and, if possible to explain, why?


1 Answer 1


言われても is Suffering Passive (迷惑の受身), a kind of Indirect Passive Structure (間接受身構文), and 私言われても is Direct Passive Structure (直接受身構文).

「(あなたが)私に言う」 (Active/能動) "You tell me."
→ Direct Passive: 「私が(あなたに)言われる」 "I am told (by you)."
→ Indirect Passive: 「(私が)(あなたに)私に*言われる」 "You tell me (and it affects me in some way)." This means "You do the action 私言う (you tell me) and it affects me or I am suffered/annoyed, etc." *The に marks the indirect object of 言う.

So... yes, that is a correct interpretation, and 「私言われても(困る)...」 is actually far more natural and more common than 「私言われても...」 for saying "Even if I'm told / Even if you tell me (I can't do anything)..."

For more about Indirect Passive, you could refer to:

  • I know this answer is a few years old, but I just came across it as I was curious about this structure. I skimmed through the Japanese links you gave and didn't see any examples like 私に言われても where the person who is suffering uses "に", but maybe I missed something. Can you provide other examples of this in modern Japanese?
    – Locksleyu
    Commented Nov 30, 2020 at 19:41
  • @Locksleyu 「私に聞かれても(困る)」ってよく使われますね。「うちに来られても(困る)」とか。 私に言われても where the person who is suffering uses "に" <- The に marks the goal of the verb 言う, 聞く, 来る. It's 私に/うちに in 私言う say to me, うち来る come to my place.
    – chocolate
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 1:37

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