I am sure this has been asked before, but due to this form's similarity to the causative-passive (e.g. 行かせられる), I simply cannot find anything except for some thick Japanese explanations complete with overly technical grammar terms.

I do not understand why the passive form is せられる instead of される for verbs like 発する, 罰する, 反する, and so on (so-called する verbs?). The conjugation table on Tangorin does not even list this せられる form at all.

Is the form される, e.g. 発される, ungrammatical, unnatural, or allowed? Moreover, do these verbs have other naughty naughty irregular conjugations that I have to look out for?

On a side note, I once read a discussion that said the alternative form of this type of verb (e.g. 罰す) is not used anymore, but I cannot locate that discussion. Would someone kindly shed light on this as well?



Based on the "Best answer" from https://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1118086201 *, and summarizing dramatically to fit your questions:

Short answer

  • せられる is one form of classical Japanese for される. It's not an incorrect conjugation, but it's not a mainstream conjugation, either. For the verbs in question, I imagine that usage of this non-mainstream conjugation has remained active until now, for one reason or another.

Other noteworthy info

  • せさせる is one form of classical Japanese for させる
  • せぬ is one form of classical Japanese for しない. One modern use I've seen frequently is 予期せぬ

*(The post is a few years old, so at least one referential link from that post seems to be obsolete, but the following should at least get you started on further research if you wish.)

  • 1
    That article is one of several that I tried to read, but gave up halfway through. I did it again, tho, and I think the most valuable takeaway for me is that される is the designated modern form (in official docs at least). – Yeti Ape Jun 1 '18 at 2:07

This is not an attempt at a legitimate answer, but one that serves as a reference for people who may have the same doubt as I do.

  1. せられる vs. される
    The answer in (1)this article explains the origin of the form せられる, and how modern governmental authority recommends using される instead. Moreover, the person also comments on how he/she believes that different conjugated forms for NOUNする & NOUNす verbs have in effect different affects.

  2. NOUNする vs. NOUNす
    (2)This topic and (3)this one both touch upon this subject, yet I do not think there's a decisive conclusion. I believe you cannot just say the NOUNす form is outdated and forget about it altogether, because it depends on context, the speaker/writer, etc. Besides, when conjugation comes into play, things get even more complicated.

    • Take 愛する & 愛す for example, (4)people seem to say that 愛しない is wrong (see links 3 & 4), and 愛さない should be used. Therefore, although 愛する exists, 愛しない does not for gods-know-what.

My takeaway as a beginner:
Yeah, pretty much forget about all this, and learn these verbs's usages case by case, like just about everything else.

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