The Right Way to Form Japanese Sentences

Keep on practicing your Japanese and learning new things! You’ve learned how important the passive voice is to the Japanese language. Now, it’s time for you to master some very specific Japanese: putting a clause into the passive voice by modifying the sentence’s noun. It might sound confusing, but it’s really quite simple. In fact, I’ll bet you already speak this way all the time. If you’ve ever said something like, “The first edition books aren’t sold at the bookstore,” you are well on your way.

In this Lower Intermediate Japanese article, discover how to form popular Japanese sentences in which the modifying clause is in the passive voice. We use this sentence structure so much it’s a necessary part of the Japanese language. After you read all of the great examples in this Lower Intermediate Japanese article, you’ll be a natural!

Vocabulary: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

shikata (ga) nai – “it can’t be helped”

kobiru – “to try to gain someone’s favor”

daiichi – “primarily”

sankoo ni naru – “to be of some help, to serve as a reference”

taido – “attitude, manner”

kinshi – “prohibition, ban”

Grammar: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

Today’s grammar point is the usage of “passive verb + noun,” in which we use the passive voice in a clause modifying the noun that follows it.

In the case of today’s first example below, the preceding clause, kodomo ni yorokobareru, modifies o-kashi. Conversely, o-kashi can become the subject of a passive sentence, as in o-kashi wa kodomo ni yorokobareru.

Today’s Example (1):

  1. Kodomo ni yorokobareru o-kashi ga ii n ja nai ja. “I guess sweet stuff that the kids will appreciate would be great.”

In today’s second example, the preceding clause, suupaa de urarete inai, modifies kookyuu na tabemono. Conversely, kookyuu na tabemono can become the subject of a passive sentence, as in kookyuu na tabemono wa suupaa de urarete inai.

Today’s Example (2):

  1. Suupaa de urarete inai kookyuu na tabemono mo ii na. “Expensive foods that you can’t find at a supermarket would be great, too.”

*Modifying clause with passive voice + noun:
Modifying Clause with Passive Voice / Noun / “English”
kodomo ni yomarete iru
 / manga / “comics which are read by kids”
sono mise de urareta
 / e / “picture which was sold at that shop”


  1. Kore wa, kookoosei ni yoku tsukawarete iru jisho desu. “This is the dictionary that is commonly used by high school students.”
  2. Kaisha de kimerareta ruuru o mamoroo. “We should follow the rules decided on at the company.
  3. Dasareta tabemono wa, zenbu tabenasai. “Finish all of the food that’s served to you.”

To instantly access complete 10-15 minute audio lessons (a native Japanese teacher and additional hosts explain the lesson dialogue, vocabulary, phrases and grammar in detail) and PDF lesson notes (detailed explanation of dialogue, vocabulary, phrases, and grammar), and interact with other Japanese language learners, visit the link below:

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Uzumaki Naruto

Author: Uzumaki Naruto

Expert tips before traveling Japan, including reviews of Japanese food and restaurants to help you make your trip as enjoyable and rewarding as possible.

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