0

わたしは誰かに買いたかったものを買われた。

Hi there I’m slightly confused with this sentence means, and also why is 買いた used?isn’t the past tense for買う 買った?

3

「わたしは誰{だれ}かに買{か}いたかったものを買われた。」

is, of course, a perfect sentence in every way.

why is 買いた used? Isn’t the past tense for 買う 買った?

「買いた」 is not meant to be used as the past tense of 「買う」. Rather, 「買いたかった」 is the past tense of 「買いたい」, which means "to want to buy". So, 「買いたかった」 means "wanted to buy". Are you following this?

「買いたかったもの」 means "the thing that I (had) wanted to buy".

Next, 「買われた」.

That is in the passive voice form, commonly known as the "suffering passive" in Japanese grammar. It means "was bought by another person (instead of you)". You did not get it; You suffered.

Thus, as you already understand, the sentence means:

"Someone bought the thing that I (had) wanted to buy."

The original is in passive voice as I stated, but it is not natural to say this in passive voice in English. So, my translation above is in the active voice.

To force the passive voice, however, it could be translated to:

"The thing that I (had) wanted to buy was bought by someone (else)."

Trust me, you will keep encountering the suffering passive as long as you study Japanese.

  • 1
    We do have a form of suffering passive in English. Compare "My car was stolen" vs "My car got stolen". The latter (using auxiliary "get") is suffering passive. In this sentence, you could say, "The car I wanted got bought by someone else!" This would sound very natural in English conversation. Understanding this sometimes helps me to know when to use suffering passive in Japanese. – mamster Mar 30 '18 at 15:53
  • 1
    @mamster Great comparison! In the literature the get-passive is often described as "adversative", so anyone who wants to know more can use that as a search term. Of course, adversative passives aren't always used in the same situations in both languages, and indeed can't be because both constructions have language-specific grammatical requirements. – snailboat Mar 30 '18 at 17:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.