Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Jessi: Hi everyone and welcome to the New JLPT N4 Prep Course Lesson 6. Jessi here.
Naomi: こんにちは。直美です。このレッスンでは、文法と読解の問題3を紹介します。
Jessi: In this lesson, we'll cover もんだい 3 of the Grammar and Reading Comprehension section.
Naomi:もんだい3は 短い文章を読んで、穴埋めをします。穴埋めは “filling in the blanks”.
Jessi: So in もんだい3, you are supposed to select the grammar that best fits into the reading passage.
Jessi: There will be 5 of this type of question on the test. In this section, you're tested not only on grammar structures, but also conjunctions and particles. To prepare for this section, we recommend that you thoroughly review the particles and conjunctions you have learned up until now.
Naomi:そうですね。助詞 particles を復習してくださいね。
Jessi: And speaking of particles, there is a new particle series out that is hosted by Naomi and me. So please give that a listen - I think it will really help.
Naomi:はい、そう思います。 Here, we'd like to introduce the top 3 particles that appeared on the JLPT in the last 5 years.
Jessi: Oh, sounds great. What are they?
Jessi: So the third most common particle is を. を will be covered in Particle Series Lessons 2, 7, and 17.
Jessi: The second most common particle is が. が is covered a lot in the Particle series - you find it in Lessons 2, 4, 9, 10, 19 and 20. And now, what's the that's most common particle in this level of the JLPT?
(drum roll)
Naomi:に. Amazingly, it's not は, but に.
Jessi:に is covered in Particle lessons 5, 6, 7, 17, and 22.
Naomi: So make sure to review how particles are used, especially を、が and に before taking the JLPT.
Jessi: Also in this lesson's PDF, we gave 3 particles that translate to “only” in English, but have slightly different usage and nuances.
Naomi: Right. The particles だけ・ばかり・しか
Jessi: Here, let's briefly explain the difference. だけ means “only” or “just” in general. ばかり also means “only” or “just” but it implies that something is more than one expected. And しか only appears in a negative sentence.
Naomi: Right. ジェシーは肉を食べる means “Jessi eats meat.” If you say... ジェシーは 肉「だけ」 食べる。
Jessi: This would ”Jessi only eats meat.”…which is not true, by the way (laughs). This is a straightforward, neutral statement.
Naomi: You can also say ジェシーは 肉「ばかり」食べる。
Jessi: This also means “Jessi only eats meat” but it implies that she eats more of it than the speaker expected. It emphasizes the amount.
Jessi: ”Jessi eats nothing but meat.” The しか in this sentence is used with a negative verb to emphasize the idea of “nothing but meat”. For a more detailed explanation, please check out the lesson notes.
:*****Grammar review********
Jessi: So Naomi-sensei, other than particles, what should we review for JLPT N4?
Naomi: You should definitely review how to form the passive and causative.
Jessi:OK then. So let's review the passive tense first. Passive sentences are sentences where the subject is affected by the action of the sentence.
Naomi: Hmmm. Sounds complicated.
Jessi: I know, it's hard to put into words, but let us give you an example. Take a sentence like “the boy kicked the ball”. This is known as an active sentence. This same sentence in the passive tense would be “the ball was kicked by the boy”. So the subject, the ball, is affected by the action, to kick.
Naomi: Mm mm! okay, that makes sense!
Jessi: Some other examples of passive sentences would be... “I was hit by a car” or “My wallet was stolen.”
Naomi: It's not a very happy sentence.
Jessi: I know, not happy situations.
Naomi: Anyway, to make a passive sentence, you need to know how to create the passive form of the verb. 食べる (Jessi - “to eat”) becomes 食べられる(Jessi - “to be eaten”), ぬすむ(Jessi - “to steal”) becomes ぬすまれる(Jessi - “to be stolen”).
Jessi: The conjugation rules for this are is explained in detail in the lesson notes, so be sure to check them out if you're not sure how to make the passive tense. Now, let's move on to the sentence structure of the passive.
First, let's start with a regular or active, sentence. So, Naomi-sensei, how do you say “Birds eat bugs.”?
Naomi: Bird is とり, and 虫 is bug so...とりは むしを たべる。
Jessi: And now, how would you say, “Bugs are eaten by birds.”
Naomi:むしは とり に たべられる
Jessi: So there we just change it into the passive. Notice that the one that does the action - in this case とり birds, is marked by the particle に. This is really important.
Naomi:とりに(Jessi - by birds) 食べられる(Jessi - to be eaten)
Jessi: So for example, if you wanted to say “eaten by animals”, that would be...
Naomi:動物(どうぶつ) is animal, so 動物にたべられる 
Jessi: Eaten by animals. OK, now how would you say “My wallet was stolen by a thief”?
Naomi: ”My wallet” is 私のさいふ。”To be stolen” is ぬすまれる。 “a thief” is どろぼう So...
Jessi:わたしのさいふ は どろぼう に ぬすまれた?
Naomi: Perfect!(笑)わたしのさいふ は どろぼう に ぬすまれた。じゃ、つぎはcausative を復習しましょう。Let's review the causative next.
Jessi: The causative in Japanese can be translated in two ways. One is “to make someone to do something”, and the other is “to let someone to do something.” You need to choose the translation that best suits the context. Both versions show up on the JLPT.
Naomi-sensei, can we hear a sample sentence?
Naomi:わたしは こどもに しゅくだいをさせました。”I made my child do homework.”
Jessi: And there are two things you need to remember for making a causative sentence. One, the person who makes or lets someone do something is marked by は or が.
Naomi: So if you want to say “I made my child do homework.” the beginning of the sentence should be わたしは or わたしが.
Jessi: And the second thing. The person who actually performs the action is marked by に.
Naomi: That's why こども was marked by に.
Jessi: Right, because the one who actually did the homework was the child. Can we hear the full sentence again?
Naomi: Sure. わたしは こどもに しゅくだいをさせました。or わたしが こどもに しゅくだいをさせました。
Jessi: ”I made my child do homework.”
Naomi: If you say 先生は学生に勉強させました。that would be…
Jessi: The teacher made the students study.
Naomi:そうです。But this rule cannot apply to sentences talking about emotion, such as “you make me smile”, “you make laugh”, can it?
Jessi: Good point. With certain actions related to emotion, such as なく”to cry”, おこる ”to get angry”, わらう “to laugh”, よろこぶ “to be pleased”, and so on, the person who is made to do the action is always marked by を. For example?
Naomi:トムは いつも せんせいを おこらせる。
Jessi: ”Tom always makes the teacher angry.” So the person who gets angry is not トム but the teacher 先生.
Naomi: So先生を怒らせる is…?
Jessi: “to make the teacher angry”
Jessi: OK. So now we're ready to review this lesson with a quiz. Naomi先生 is going to read a Japanese sentence. Your job is to choose the best English translation. Are you ready? Here's the sentence.
Naomi:わたしは ははに わらわれた。
Jessi: Is it…
1. I was laughed at by my mother or My mother laughed at me. or
2. I made my mother laugh.
Can we hear the sentence again?
Naomi:わたしは ははに わらわれた。 The answer is?
Jessi:1. “I was laughed at by my mother.” or “My mother laughed at me.” わらわれる is the passive form of わらう “to laugh” OK. How would you say choice 2, by the way? I made my mother laugh.
Jessi:わらわせる is the causative form of わらう. Alright, so how did that go? Make sure to review the lesson notes and brush up on the passive and causative forms. And that's all the time we have for this lesson. See you next time!


Japanese Grammar Made Easy - Unlock This Lesson’s Grammar Guide

Easily master this lesson’s grammar points with in-depth explanations and examples. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 24th, 2010 at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.


How are your JLPT studies going? The passive and causative can be pretty tricky at times, but make sure you get them down for the test! :hachimaki:

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 22nd, 2018 at 06:09 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.





Just one thing to fix your comment.

We often say 役に立った to mean "useful", instead of saying 有用であった,

which is too formal and written word.




Team JapanesePod101.com

July 30th, 2018 at 07:55 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.




その内容について ほかのレッスンを教えてください。




Japanesepod101.com Verified
December 3rd, 2017 at 06:45 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Andrew,

Thank you for your positive feedback!

Please stay tuned! Every week we'll have new lessons for you!



Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team Japanesepod101.com

December 2nd, 2017 at 09:23 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Great preparation for the JLPT. Thank you

January 30th, 2017 at 10:14 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.


Thank you for your lesson!


Thanks to japanesepod101


Im (finally) able to study Japanese in a way that is easy to understand.


I have been self studying japanese for about two years.


When I read in my japanese language books, and find something I dont understand,


I always go to this site.


As I find it easy to understand.




I have a question.


In japan, is the passive voice used more then the active voice?


I understand the general idea of the passive voice,


However, Im abit confused of when I can / should use it.


For example,

① ジョンは先生に質問をした

  John asked the teacher a question.

② 先生はジョンに質問をされた

  The teacher was asked a question by John.



When is it alright to use example 1,

And when is it alright to use example two?

Besides in essays and articles, is the passive form often used in Japan?

Or can one just use the active form? (Such as in, daily situations and the likes)

In short, I am confused about when to use the passive voice and when to use the active voice.

Thank you in advance!


JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 24th, 2015 at 06:10 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Susanne Lüthy san,

konnichiwa! :smile:

Yes; you're right!

Causatives can be used both in informal and formal speeches.

So, your sentences are perfect! Well done.:innocent::thumbsup:

As to 'aitagatte', it could be just one person instead of three. It just has to be '-gatte'

as in 'aitagatte' and 'hoshigatte' if the person who 'wants (to)' is not yourself.

And, in your sentence, you left 'ga' out, but the very correct way is:

M san (to) T san (to) S san ga (A-san ni) aitagatte imasu.:wink:

Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

Susanne Lüthy
June 23rd, 2015 at 05:57 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Good afternoon, I have studied this lesson and have three questions, may I kindly ask you to check them .... thanks in advance ... I understand how to construct the passive and causative sentence ... yet, am I correct in the assumption that you do not only have to use the informal way but that you could also use the masu form ...

1. e.g. saifu o dorobou ni nusumareta ... or nusumaremashita ...

2. Watashi wa kodomo ni shukudai o sasemashita or saseta ...

3. M san, T san, Si san aitagatte imasu ... the translation: Mr M, Mr T and Ms S, they all are waiting to meet you ... hoshigatte is here used because the writer, is writing in the name of three other persons ... Thanks for your help and kind regards SL

September 23rd, 2011 at 04:01 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Brilliant thankyou!!!

September 16th, 2011 at 10:54 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.


Thank you for letting us know.:razz: The error has been fixed.

Natasha -san

Causative →Lower Intermediate season 6 Lesson 12, 13, 14, 15

Passive →Beginner season 6 Lesson 22 and 23 (which will be published in November this year), Lower Intermediate season 6 Lesson 10 and 11.

Causative passive→ Lower Intermediate season 6 Lesson 16

I hope this helps.

September 16th, 2011 at 04:34 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Thanks for the lesson! Which other JP101 lessons focus on Causative and Passive verbs? I find these particularly difficult!