Causative, Passive, Passive-Causative and Natural Potential Verb Forms
Below is a chart summarizing the causative, passive, passive-causative and natural potential verb forms. I stole it from the most excellent book, Making Sense of Japanese by Jay Rubin. I can’t recommend this book enough – it is one of the best study books I have purchased and it provides the best discussion of wa (は) and ga (が) I have seen. All chart entries are complete sentences, with implied subjects, objects, and agents, using the transitive verb kaku (書く- to write). All the verb forms have been put into the perfective –た form as you would most likely encounter them in real-life and they have been translated using first-person singular subjects and masculine third-person singular pronouns for simplicity, employing the feminine at two points to indicate the presence of a third party. The emphasis here is on the number of players involved and direction of the action, not levels of respect.
|Conjugated form of 書く||Translation|
|I wrote it.|
|I wrote it for him.|
|He wrote it for me.|
|I got him to write it for me.|
|I made/let him write it.|
|He did me the favor of making/letter her/me write it.|
|I got him to let me write it, or I got him to make/let her write it.|
|I let/made him write it.|
|It was written, or I was adversely affected by his having written it.|
Tegami ga kakareta.
|The letter was written.|
Tegami o kakareta.
|I suffered the consequences of his writing the letter.|
|I was forced by him to write it.|
|It had been written. (false passive)|
|It successfully wrote itself.|