I've seen this construction a few times but couldn't find it in my textbooks, so I'd like to know how it's called and, if possible, how it works.

Since it was pretty much unclear, here I add some clarifications on what I'd like to know.

Here's an example:


How does it work and what's the function of the 2nd に particle? I was told that it works the same way as AはBにVpass as in 私は子供に泣かれた。 This one is understandable. I see the person who got an action done to, I see the doer and I see the action itself. But what about that construction the I mentioned before?

Here's an explanation I got from a guy on the internet:

The 1st に represents relations between В and А

Who made A upset? (Who did a negative action towards A?) Вに

The 2nd に represents an action made by B towards C

To whom B called? Cに

I don't seem to get how those 2 に interact with each other in such a way that makes them have 2 different meanings while being a one part of a simple sentence. Also, I don't understand how to use this construction and what's more how to translate it when a different verb occurs.

I hope I made some clarifications and did not confuse you even more. Looking forward to see some explanations and maybe a couple of examples. Thank you.

  • 2
    Are you certain that the verb was in the passive-voice form ~~された? If possible, could you rewrite the sentence using actual words instead of A, B and C? You may ignore my second question, but my first is very important. Nov 24 '19 at 1:52
  • 2
    Can you post an actual example of a sentence, from real Japanese source? Because the A, B, C example is a bit confusing. If those are persons AさんはBさんにCさんに電話された doesn't make sense to me. Maybe AさんはBさんにCさんに電話させられた ? A was forced by B to call C ? (And A is almost always me, and I didn't like it) Nov 24 '19 at 2:03
  • @l'électeur, yes, a guy from Japanese related chat gave me the original sentence as an example.
    – Tawahachee
    Nov 24 '19 at 21:50
  • @Thomas Petit, I assume that It must look like "AさんはBさんにCさんに" but the verb was indeed in passive voice.
    – Tawahachee
    Nov 24 '19 at 21:51
  • 1
    If the verb was really passive voice, then I would say it's just probably a mistake by the person who gave you that line. But I'm not 100% sure, it would be nice to have a confirmation by a native speaker. Nov 25 '19 at 7:15

This isn't really a separate construction, but the standard passive construction where the verb requires a noun+に.

Consider the following two 間接受動/{被害,迷惑}の受け身 sentences. (I am using unnatural translations (hopefully) for clarity.)

  • 私は財布を盗まれた : I had someone having stolen my purse.
  • 私は親に電話された : I had someone having called my parents.

(The speaker of the second sentence is a kid who got caught lifting something in a convenience store, for example.)

Both express that the speaker did not like something someone did (stealing a purse, calling the parents).

Now someone can be revealed by putting Noun+に, just as in usual passive. E.g., 私は殴られた/私は彼に殴られた : I was hit / I was hit by him.

  • 私は彼に財布を盗まれた : I had him having stolen my purse. = I had my purse stolen by him.
  • 私は彼に親に電話された : I had him having called my parents. = He called my parents, which I hated.

Thus the consecutive に phrases are not really interacting. The first に is the standard に in passive for indicating who did the action, while the second に complements the verb. In the particular example of the question, the second に is required by the verb 電話する.


Another example:

  • 私は彼に先に行かれた : (E.g., in a race) He went ahead, which made me uncomfortable.

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.