Edward Mack

University of Washington

Adversitive Passive



We do not expect, in most cases, to find an object with a verb that appears to be conjugated as a passive. In this case, what we have is the indirect, or adversitive, passive (間接受身), in which the topic/subject of the passive verb will be affected (emotionally) negatively (in most cases) by the action, the agent of which would be marked by ni (if it appeared in the sentence.)


Mr. Yamada’s wife ran away on him. (Presumably a negative.)


Taro had a cigarette smoked by Haruko (imposed) on him. (Also negative.)


Mr. Kimura, having had a pretty woman sit beside him, looks happy. Here the effect is positive.

Usually, the agent of the event is animate and the action is volitional. There is, however, one common exception to that rule:


I was rained on.

Therefore, the phrase in the sentence at the top, were it an independent
sentence with all implied elements made explicit, would be:


I do not want him to perceive the tumult and confusion (in my heart/mind) (as
that would bother me.)

1 Comment

  1. tmack

    30 December 2007 at 11:31 pm

    ZH suggested that “I got rained on” might convey the affective passive better than “I was rained on,” but I deleted his comment accidentally.

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