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Like what's the exact conjugation breakdown going on there? I've spent days scouring various things and I can't for the life of me figure out the exact breakdown causing a "かれ".

I'm not leaving off any conjugation bits, so it's definitely not me misreading something like 叩かれた.

If you could explain what's going on in general terms rather than specifically -ku verbs, that might be more helpful, but I'm at my wits' end and will honestly take anything at this point.

力いっぱい背中を叩かれ、大介は思わずよろめいた。

Two friends, the person strongly hitting 大介 on the back is a friend trying to cheer him up. He did it without warning, but it's not aggressive. The sentence is narrative and describing the situation, non-spoken.

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    Please include the full sentence and some context, otherwise any answer will have to be a short in the dark...
    – Earthliŋ
    Jul 23, 2020 at 7:55
  • @Earthliŋ Edited in for you!
    – user39778
    Jul 23, 2020 at 8:10
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    This is probably answered by this question japanese.stackexchange.com/q/70321/1628. Please take a look.
    – Earthliŋ
    Jul 23, 2020 at 8:17
  • @Earthliŋ So my first instinct was actually right! I'll definitely remember て/た can be dropped (especially in prose, apparently!) from now on! Thank you!
    – user39778
    Jul 23, 2020 at 8:26

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The conjugation is the passive voice of the verb 叩く, which becomes 叩かれる in the passive. Usually, it would connect to another clause in the て form (叩かれて), but the continuative form (連用形), which is 叩かれ, is also used as a way to connect clauses, especially in written Japanese.

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