Conjugating Verbs to Passive Form (〜られる)

    • Verb
    • Conjugation Form
    The passive form is a type of Japanese verb form that often ends in 〜られる. This form can be used for to create passive sentences, and also as an honorific and to show spontaneity.

    What Is the Passive Form?

    The passive form of verbs in Japanese are those ending in either 〜られる or kana from the あ column + れる—verbs like 食べられる (to be eaten), 飲まれる (to be drunk), or 来られる (to be come). To make a sentence passive, honorific, or spontaneous, a verb is conjugated into this form.

    If you are looking for more details about some of this form's meanings and functions, check out our page on the passive form 〜られる, honorific 〜られる, and spontaneous 〜られる.

    Now, let's take a look at how to convert verbs into the passive form.

    Godan  → 会われる
     → 立たれる
     → 写される
    代わ → 代わられる
     → 書かれる
     → 泳がれる
     → 死なれる
     → 学ばれる
     → 休まれる
    Ichidan 食べ → 食べられる
    起き → 起きられる
    閉じ → 閉じられる
    Irregular 来るく  →  来られるこ   
    する → される

    Godan Verbs

    For godan verbs, replace the ending vowel from the う column on the kana chart with its corresponding あ column kana and add 〜れる. So if your ending is む, your ending will be 〜まれる. If it's つ, your new passive ending will be 〜たれる.

    Let's try conjugating the verb 読む (to read) into its passive form.

     + ま + れる = 読まれる

    Easy peasy! Now what about 買う (to buy)? This one looks even easier because the verb itself ends with う. But changing 買 into 買あれる is actually incorrect. In this case, it becomes 買われる.

    ❌ 買 + あ + れる = 買あれる

    ⭕️ 買 + わ + れる = 買われる

    Why is this? This is because all the verbs ending in 〜う used to end in 〜ふ in classical Japanese—hundreds of years ago. So the verb 買う in classical Japanese is 買, and it changes to 買はれる. Unlike modern Japanese, these ancient ふ and は sounds are pronounced as う and わ, just like the particle は is pronounced わ today. The modern 〜う ending verbs still conjugate the same as the classical 〜ふ ending verbs, so the passive form of 買 is actually 買われる. For the same reasons, the passive form of 会 (to meet) is 会われる and 縫 (to sew) is 縫われる.

    Ichidan Verbs

    For ichidan verbs, just replace the 〜る ending with 〜られる (which is actually the same for the potential form. For example, 食べ (to eat) becomes 食べられる.

    Irregular Verbs

    As for irregular verbs, the passive form of 来るく  (to come) is 来られるこ   , and する (to do) becomes the totally-different-looking される.