I'm currently learning Japanse, but then I stumbled upon a sentence in a dictionary その建物から町全体が見下ろせる which has the meaning: "The building looks down on the whole town"

But I'm confused, isn't が a subject marker particle? Shouldn't を have been used instead, which is an object marker particle?


1 Answer 1


You can parse that sentence like this:

From that building

the entire town is overlook-able.
the entire town can be overlooked.

So yes, 町全体 is indeed the subject of the sentence.

In general, potential form in Japanese work slightly different from English potential expressions. Try reading ~が[verb](ら)れる as "X is [verb]-able" or "X can be [verb]ed" rather than "I can [verb] X".

Still, it's also fine to say その建物から町全体見下ろせる. For details, please read the following questions.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .