What is the logic behind "と考えられる"?

After having this review pop up a few dozen times I have started to realize I have a pretty lackluster understanding of this grammar point.

Quickly getting to examples, it seems to change from receptive form and potential form within sentences, or at least their translations.


If it is that policy, it is conceivable that we would receive standardized support.


The nature of light is actually thought to be both a particle and a wave.

I don’t necessarily think I’ve found anything special here, but I am still nevertheless pretty confused as to how to think of the grammar point. Within the grammar point it describes it as just taking the auxiliary verb られる, but can’t this be either? But it doesn’t explicitly state that it can be both in this grammar point but the translations sure do insist that it is both being used as a potential and receptive form depending on the sentence.

To be more direct, why in this sentence below is it not “If it’s that policy, it’s thought that we will receive standardized support”


If it is that policy, it is conceivable that we would receive standardized support.

This is the reason why I’ve come to limit my translations of grammar points to the one (or two) that are closest to what the Japanese is actually saying, given the varied ways you can say the same thing in English. In this case, I simply use the meaning of the verb 考える (To Think; To Consider), and apply that to the translation.

Another thing I’ve noticed is the pattern [と] + [Verb in Passive form] as an action that is universally adopted (for lack of a better term). Such as:

The Passive form is very similar to the Potential form, yet still different depending on the type of verb so be careful not to get them mixed up. That is what’s being used here.

Hopefully this will help you get a better understanding of this grammar.

Take care!

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At least in my understanding, It appears as in this specific grammar point, you should always interpret the verb as being in the receptive/passive form, and only when you have a very good reason to, interpret it as potential…

Where did you find this example? It could be a mistranslation, if it’s not, I’ll have to study it again as well :joy:

Thanks for taking the time to answer!

So if I understand you correctly are you saying what is happening in " あの政策せいさくなら、一定いってい支持しじられるとかんがえられます。" is that the 得られる is potential so that is probably where the bunpro translation comes from of conceivable, but really whats happening is that it is being considered, or thought of, that the support is able to be attained.

So is a more directly translated way of saying it “It is thought if its this policy its possible to get the standardized payment” ? With the “thought of” being とかんがえられる and “possible” being 得られる?

I guess I just find this point in particular to be pretty impossible to find the key logic behind it, it seemingly swaps between potential and passive and to me they are extremely different meanings.

Can be considered, and gets considered are expressing something entirely different. One is a possibility and the other is stating a circumstance as nearly fact.


China may well be considered the new superpower if it maintains its current economic growth.

This is a great example to me, saying can be considered or is considered ends up changing the statement entirely. Same with


The nature of light is actually thought to be both a particle and a wave.

“Can be considered” makes it sound like its up in the air and we have no real sure idea, but is considered or thought to be expresses what is currently the scientific consensus on a matter.

I’m sure there must just be something I am completely missing, but I am having a hard time clearing up my own ignorance on this topic and there doesn’t seem to be a lynchpin of logic that connects them all. Maybe It’s just completely going over my head or maybe the English translations are misleading, I will try and re-read your response a few times more.

The examples I provided are all examples sentences from Bunpro on the と考えられる grammar point と考えられる (JLPT N2) | Bunpro – Japanese Grammar Explained

Yeah it seems most believe it should be passive as the way you view it, so maybe the translations are misleading in this situation. Or maybe the difference between them is much less strong in Japanese than in English.

Sometimes Bunpro have a few odd balls, it’s possible. Well, now that I’m thinking about it, that “conceivability” may come from なら as well, because they are thinking about a possible outcome, that may or not become a reality. So they can’t just say WILL happen, but COULD happen.

More directly, they have a thought that something could happen, then, it’s conceivable.

Personally, I wouldn’t translate these in their potential form, so instead of saying “can be considered” or “can be thought”, I would translate these as “it is considered” or “it is thought”. The reason being that, at least according to BunPro, these verbs are not being conjugated in their Potential form, but rather in their Passive form. Therefore, I would translate the following as:

If it’s that policy, it’s considered to be able to earn (us) constant support.

The “to be able to earn (us)” is coming from 得られる.

As for the translation to “the nature of light” sentence, that one is fine as is :+1:.

While I can see how “is conceivable” or “can be considered” are used here, they also make things a bit confusing, which is why I mentioned limiting the translations and keeping them closer to the original meaning in my first post.

Often translations don’t correspond 1:1 every time, otherwise you’d end up with a weird translation in one of the languages. However, I feel that for the purpose of grasping the meaning of grammar points, and also in order to better understand what each word contributes in a sentence, BunPro would benefit from having a more literal translation of sentences that need them and place them in parentheses or something (perhaps making them as literal translation, which they at least do sometimes in the description of the grammar).

I understand that it’s VERY HARD to come up with translations that don’t add extra words and/or meanings to the original but, at the same time, it can create confusion when translations don’t match the original sentence perfectly. Again, a tough job.

Anyway, is this helpful?


Its super helpful, I appreciate you taking the time to answer when I have made threads about things. Sometimes it can really help to have someone else acknowledge what your saying makes sense as a question. After looking at your points I think you are correct and it should be passive form, and my confusion was coming from the translations mainly, and my viewpoint (that I still have) that in English they create sentences with a very large difference in meaning. But when I take a step back and view them as passive, I can see how a few of them ended up getting translated more as potential sounding. But I am happy to feel like I have a baseline of logic to fall back to and work from, which is the fact that I will be viewing this as passive from now on and I think it all adds up when I look at it that way.


Awesome to hear that!

One thing that I think would help tremendously in this sense, which I’m sure has been requested tons of times before, would be for BunPro to color code English words to correspond to the Japanese equivalent. If there are words being added, and/or there’s a grammar point with extra context (i.e. ておく = Doing something in preparation for…), placing them in parentheses would be even better. To be fair, BunPro does the latter on occasions, but it would be nice if it was consistent.

That, on top of creating translations that give preference to conveying the feeling of the Japanese more closely, which BunPro also does for the most part, should be the ultimate goal. A lot of times I feel like there are extra transactions for a grammar point that end up being confusing instead of helping, mainly once you get to N3 and above, which is why I’ve made it a rule to try to extract the actual meaning of the Japanese, even if it sounds weird in English, at least up to a point. Sometimes the literal translation sounds too weird in English, so I take some liberties here and there.

I think what’s actually missing is consistency. Thankfully the BunPro team is very diligent and they get stuff done quickly. I’m sure these things are already on their radar.