Passive vs Causative vs Causative-Passive

Just curious, I’m I think only one that has trouble remembering these forms?! I understand the meaning of each and how to use them, but since they are similar I often confuse them.

Does anyone have any suggestions/tips on how to remember these?

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I feel like your question doesn’t really have a straight forward question… if that makes sense. You pretty much say that you understand the meaning of each and how to use them, which leaves me questioning what you’re confused about. If you understand how to use them and their meaning, I’m not really sure in what way you’re getting confused. If you elaborate a little bit more about what’s confusing that might help.

I initially thought you might be mixing up the two when they come up (so you use passive when it asks for causative and vise versa), but I didn’t know for sure since you say that you understand the meaning of both and how to use them.

I feel you. These are tough.

Given that you say that you understand the forms, I’d say you simply need more exposure/immersion. My suggestion is therefore: Leave them in them your review queue and keep an eye out for the forms in whatever Japanese content you use.

Maybe not the answer you were looking for, but I feel like memorizing small differences between these would be time poorly spent.


Doing N4 there’s a lot of new verb forms. I have had to make a crib sheet to assist/reinforce.

Passive form - was done to, without consent - areru あれる
	- move to あ row + add れ
	- られる for Ichidan
Causative form (make someone do something) = aseru あせる
	-  move to あ row + add せ
	- させる for ichidan

Causative-passive form (to be made to do something) = aserareru あせられる
	- move to the あ row + add せられる (せられます)
	- させられる for ichidan
	- する form is させられる

This caused me such a pain for a long time. Cure Dolly’s videos on the subject cleared it up and after seeing some examples in games and shows cemented it. I think it’s genius to call the passive form the receptive form as it’s far more intuitive than passive. I don’t like remembering stuff, personally, so knowing how they work and seeing examples is the best way to learn imo.



Literally just this.

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With the release of the N4 grammar explanations, we will have covered all of these topics (expecting to release in about 2 weeks). So we would love some further feedback once it comes out!

This was something that I was super confused about early in my learning as well.

@rdennison7 like Cure Dolly, we renamed the passive. However, we called them ‘displacement verbs’, based on the speaker perspective that occurs in them (exaclty the same thing that happens with keigo). Be sure to give us your opinion after they are released!