im self learning japanese and having problems understanding られる or 受け身 form of verbs.

I am wondering why the following sentences are not ok:



However it says

僕は雨に降られた is ok.

Can anyone explain why this is the case?

  • What is your 交差点 example supposed to mean? And is this トム Tom?
    – naruto
    Sep 22, 2018 at 0:20
  • Sorry that was a typo for tom. And it means that tom was stopped in the middle of the intersection by a car.
    – bob
    Sep 22, 2018 at 0:35
  • Well that's a weird situation... Tom ignored the traffic light and ran in front of a car? Or someone in the car noticed Tom and called him to say hello in the middle of an intersection?
    – naruto
    Sep 22, 2018 at 0:40
  • Good question; no clue its a stand-alone sentence lol
    – bob
    Sep 22, 2018 at 0:44

1 Answer 1


Are you taking those examples from "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar"? The book itself says the reason:
"In indirect passive sentences the agent of the event is usually animate and the action is volitional".

This kind of passive is usually used when you suffered the actions of someone else.

When you say 僕は雨に降られた it is as if you are putting the blame on the rain, as if the rain wanted to hurt you on purpose.
Of course that is not true, so usually you cannot use that kind of passive for inanimate objects.

  • Indeed, it said that but I had no clue what that meant in plain english lol. So is 僕は雨に降られた correct or not? In the book it said that its correct.
    – bob
    Sep 22, 2018 at 0:43
  • @bob 雨に振られた is a rhetorical and not normal expression. It's not really correct when you apply the same standard as the rest. It's just relatively seen among those exceptional expressions. Incidentally, the example should be 車に止まられた, not め. (If it's 車を止められた, it's nothing problematic.)
    – user4092
    Sep 22, 2018 at 5:23
  • Would トムは交差点の真ん中で車を止めた? also be ok
    – bob
    Sep 22, 2018 at 11:59
  • That's a totally different sentence. It's no longer passive. トムは車を止めた: "Tom stopped a car". トムは車に止められた: "Tom was stopped by a car".
    – user4092
    Sep 22, 2018 at 15:36

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