I encountered this usage while watching a video on grammar on 日本語の森:


Now, judging by the context, it apparently means that the speaker "wants to say 'I like her.'" However, if I were to read the sentence without any context, I would probably understand it as someone "wants to be said 'I like you,'" which would seem awkward to me at best.

A specified search on Google turned up 138,000 and 392,000 for 好きって言われたい and 好きって言いたい respectively, meaning that while the former is relatively used less, it isn't rare at all.


Am I wrong to say that by 好きって言われたい, the speaker means to express the same thing as 好きって言いたい, or are the two actually entirely different as one would normally expect?

  • 1
    I watched the video from the beginning and didn't understand what you meant by saying that the context seems to override the literal meaning of the phrase. – Leebo Apr 24 '18 at 6:23
  • I think I was influenced by my personal expectation. "I hope I was told 'I like you'" seems really strange to me. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that before. Maybe it's a cultural thing? – Yeti Ape Apr 24 '18 at 6:46
  • Your translations of "wants to be said 'I like you'" and "I hope I was told 'I like you'" are indeed awkward, but only because of their grammar, and not because of the underlying concept. From your comment below, I take it you're not a native speaker though. – Leebo Apr 24 '18 at 7:07

I'll be honest; This question worries me a lot about your Japanese studies.

The two sentences mean very different and almost opposite things from each other.

「好{す}きって言{い}いたい。」 means "I want to tell someone that I like him/her."

The speaker is the type to prefer confessing.

「好きって言われたい。」 means "I want to be told that s/he likes me by her/him."

The speaker is the type to prefer being confessed to.

「言われる」 is in the passive voice form -- "to be told".

「言われたい」 means "to want to be told".

  • I think I have made it clear that I would normally understand "言われたい" as "want to be told." However, I thought this usage was very odd. If I had affection for someone, I would expect myself to be the one doing the confession. As I mentioned in my comment above, perhaps it has more to do with culture, or with personality. Thank you for confirming this for me anyway. – Yeti Ape Apr 24 '18 at 6:53
  • Studying a language by myself can be problematic--I do know the risk involved--but I currently have no other options. At least my English seems alright-ish through years of self-study (mostly), I reckon? – Yeti Ape Apr 24 '18 at 7:02
  • 2
    @YetiApe I don't find the usage odd at all. People love, and people also want to be loved, right? It would make sense that there would be common expressions for both feelings. – psosuna Apr 24 '18 at 18:57
  • You're absolutely right. I'd like to stress that just because I feel it's somewhat uncommon according to my experience doesn't mean I think there's anything wrong with it. It's interesting though how my ability to understand something so simple was hindered by my poor judgement based on personality and whatnot. Language is more about mere grammar it seems. – Yeti Ape Apr 25 '18 at 3:21

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