There is a conversation in the anime Darling in the franxx, and a higher up is telling this sentence to Zero Two so that she won’t go off acting on her own:


My first guess would be the polite passive, but it’s a bit weird, since the speaker is the higher up here, and she doesn’t use polite passive in her other sentences with Zero Two.

Is the kind of passive that indicates that an action affects you (like 怒られる) used with transitive verbs? Cause if yes, then that would be my second guess, especially that there is an を particle signalling owner’s passive which if I remember right can show your involvement with a matter.

1 Answer 1


Let's take a closer look at your specific sentence.


Now let's chop out just the core clause, which is the key portion here.


So we know that someone is taking an action. That would usually be rendered in the active voice as 行動【こうどう】を取【と】る, as you allude to in your question post. Using the passive voice for the verb here implies not polite indirection (which would indeed be odd, given the social context -- the identities of the speaker and listener), but rather a special kind of construction.

This construction is often called the "suffering passive" in English-language explanations. One key difference in the grammar is that, for base verbs that are transitive (他動詞【たどうし】), this construction (I think) requires the object particle を rather than the subject particle が. The basic meaning is "X happened (or was done by someone else) in a way that was outside the control of the speaker, and that (usually) resulted in a negative impact on the speaker".

This past Q&A describes some of the general nuance, and this other past Q&A describes the grammar (including for base verbs that are intransitive or 自動詞【じどうし】).

So in 行動【こうどう】を取【と】られる, we know that the agent of the verb (the person or thing doing the action) is not the speaker, and from the fuller context, we know that the speaker doesn't want the listener to take that action. So if the listener does do that action, it would not be good for the speaker.

Taking all of this together, we can parse the fuller sentence something like so, from direct translation to idiomatic:

勝手【かって】な行動【こうどう】を取【と】られると困【こま】るわ →
[勝手]{selfish}な[行動]{action}を[取られる]{be taken}[と]{if}[困る]{feel bad}わ →
if [you] take selfish action on me, I'll feel bad →
I'll be in a pickle if you go your own way on me.

  • 1
    Ah, yes, suffering passive, I forgot the phrase for it but that's also what's behind 怒られる.  Thank you for clearing this for me!
    – Mernn1
    Sep 21, 2022 at 19:49

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