I was reading in Basic Japanese Grammar Dictionary about the passive voice, and it says that you use ~られる form to conjugate verbs. (p33)

So [逃]{に}げる would be 逃げられる, ok.

But it is used other form, like in this example on the book:

(Mr. Yamada's wife ran away from him)

逃げる -> 逃げられた

What form is correct?

What are the differences if both are correct (逃げられる and 逃げられた)?

What is this form called?


2 Answers 2


Pretty simply, 逃げられた is the past tense of 逃げられる (or past-passive form of 逃げる).

For godan/consonant-stem verbs:

  • 笑う plain/dictionary form "to laugh"
  • 笑われる passive form "to be laughed at"
  • 笑われた past-passive form "was laughed at"
  • 笑います polite/masu form "to laugh"
  • 笑われました polite past-passive form "was laughed at"

For ichidan/vowel-stem verbs:

  • 閉じる plain/dictionary form "to close"
  • 閉じられる passive form "to be closed"
  • 閉じられた past-passive form "was closed"
  • 閉じます polite/masu form "to close"
  • 閉じられました polite past-passive form "was closed"

EDIT: I don't think this is advanced at all. (ら)れる conjugates just like normal ichidan/vowel-stem verbs, so you don't need a special chart for this. If you know how to conjugate normal ichidan verbs such as 折れる and 疲れる, you know how to conjugate (ら)れる, too. (Actually, monolingual dictionaries lists (ら)れる as a distinct "auxiliary verb", not a "form" of a verb.) I think you already know this, but 逃げられる is an example of 'sufferer passive' explained in the link in the comment section.

  • Is it a more advanced topic? I don't see in verb conjugation charts, even in the BJG Dictionary doesn't show this past-passive.
    – Legust
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 10:59
  • @Legust Please see my edit.
    – naruto
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 11:18
  • I just found at the られる¹ entry an explanation about the past and non past conjugation (p369)
    – Legust
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 11:41

Both are correct. The potential form of 逃げる as you said is 逃げられる.

The sentence you found, however, is the past conjugation of the potential form.


Mr. Yamada's wife ran away from him.

To use the past potential form of a verb you first have to find the normal potential form, and then conjugate it as if it was the past form of a る verb.

Here's another example on how to do it.

飲む -> 飲まれる -> 飲まれた

  • I mispelled ran, in the book is also ran.
    – Legust
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 19:00
  • 1
    potential -- You mean "passive", no?
    – chocolate
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 3:55

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