I came across this sentence in my textbook:


I notice that the sentence use passive voice of "残す". Is there any reason why it doesn't use active form as follows?


Thanks in advance


1 Answer 1


First, let's check the basic difference of the following:

  • 残る is intransitive. "to remain/stay"
  • 残す is transitive. "to leave [something]"
  • 残される is the passive-form of 残す. "to be left".

A 問題 is something that can remain, stay or be left, but we are not talking about a 問題 which is leaving something else. Therefore 問題残して(いる) is wrong. 問題残している may not be wrong because this も may have replaced を instead of が, but it depends on the context.

  1. 問題残っている = 問題残されている = There is a remaining problem.
  2. 問題残っている = 問題残されている = There is also a remaining problem.
  3. 問題残している = [Someone] has left a problem.
  4. 問題残している (wrong; "a problem left something"?)
  5. 問題残している = [Someone] has also left a problem.

Practically, we don't say 3 or 5 that commonly unless you are intentionally focusing on the person who left the problem.

When the subject is an inanimate object like 問題, 残っている and 残されている are interchangeable. When the subject is a human, 残っている sounds like they stayed intentionally, whereas 残されている sounds like they were left against their will.

  • Thanks for your explanation. That solves my problem. I forgot the ending "いる" in the sentences. The original post is edited.
    – A Learner
    May 31, 2020 at 12:52

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