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Japanese passive verbs are difficult to use, aren't they?

In fact, not many people know about the fundamental differences between English and Japanese passive verbs.

In Japanese, passive verbs are often used like this.

Aさんは テストで0点をとりました。


You should not write the second sentence as shown below.

Aさんは テストで0点をとりました。


It is because when you speak Japanese, you want to make sure your viewpoint is consistent.

In the paragraph above, You are telling a story about A-san's experience.

So, you use passive verb to make the subject “Aさん” for the second sentence. In other words, A san is the protagonist of this story!

This is not the case for English as your viewpoint is neutral as if you have an objective view.

This is why Japanese use passive verbs more often than English.

Some people even say ”Japanese is FPS (first person shooter) while English is TPS (Third Person Shooter)”, comparing them with video games. It sure is true!

Kazuya Tomo Japanese Language School