From Genki II:

You cannot express your suffering from somebody failing to do something either, because you cannot add the passive suffix to an already negated verb. Therefore you cannot use the passive to say things like "Professor Yamashita was annoyed because students did not come to his class".

I don't understand why I can't just use the negative form of a passive verb. So from the above example, I can use 休まれる, but これない can't express the same idea?

  • You do understand that this is about the suffering passive, and not just the "simple" passive, or whatever you would call it, right? This kind of question tends to just boil down to "they don't use it that way, so you can't use it that way."
    – Leebo
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 5:50
  • Yes I do understand that, the textbook calls it "affective" passive, but knowing that did not help me understand so I posted this question. Okay, so the answer is because "it's not used that way". I just thought there was something more because the textbook gave a different explanation that I failed to grasp about "already" negated verbs.
    – Dani
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 6:00
  • It's possible I'm just missing something about the question and there's more to say about it.
    – Leebo
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 6:09

1 Answer 1


Simply let's take "somebody eats something mine" situation.

(1) ケーキを食べられた (I really wanted to eat it! but) The cake was eaten.

(2) ケーキを食べられなかった

(1) is normal suffering passive example. (2) is negative form as the way you showed, which is expected to mean "I really wanted someone to eat it but the cake wasn't eaten."
But (2) simply sounds "I couldn't eat it." because "れる", "られる" have multiple meaning other than passive such as potential form!!

You can say "ケーキ食べられなかった" for expressing "The cake wasn't eaten." but suffering meaning gets simply disappeared in this case.

You can also say "ケーキを食べてもらえなかった". It exactly means "I really wanted someone to eat it but the cake wasn't eaten." and sounds natural. Note that in this sentence there is no passive form.

If I was to say it by using suffering passive, I would say "ケーキを食べないという嫌がらせをされた". This sounds awkward a little but it tells us the nuisance well.

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