Open main menu




From Classical Japanese らる (raru), which followed 下二段活用 (shimo nidan katsuyō, lower bigrade conjugation) and attached to the 未然形 (mizenkei, irrealis or incomplete form) of monograde, bigrade, カ行変格活用 (ka-gyō henkaku katsuyō, k-irregular conjugation), and サ行変格活用 (sa-gyō henkaku katsuyō, s-irregular conjugation) verbs.

As with other shimo nidan verbs, the original 終止形 (shūshikei, terminal form) らる (raru) was gradually lost as the 連体形 (rentaikei, attributive form) らるる (raruru) came to be used for both functions, realigning the conjugations, and the conjugation type shifted to 下一段活用 (shimo ichidan katsuyō, lower monograde conjugation), making the modern form られる (rareru).

Some linguists suggest that られる is a variant of れる, where a reduplicative "r" is added to avoid vowel clusters. (e.g. 食べる + れる → *tabe- + *-are- → *tabeare- + *taberare- → 食べられる)


られる (ichidan conjugation, rōmaji -rareru)

  1. (jodōshi) Used to form the passive of verbs.
    1. Makes the passive voice.
      昨日先 (きのうせん) (せい) ()られた
      Kinō sensei ni homerareta.
      I was praised by my teacher yesterday.
    2. Makes the potential form; -able, -ible
      このキノコは ()られますか。
      Kono kinoko wa taberaremasu ka.
      Is this mushroom edible?
    3. Shows a spontaneous action.
    4. Forms a light honorific expression.


Usage notesEdit

Attaches only to the 未然形 (mizenkei, irrealis or incomplete form) of Group II (ichidan) and Group III (irregular) verbs. The result is conjugated like a Group II (ichidan) verb.

The passive form of verbs from other conjugation classes are formed with れる (-reru) instead of られる (-rareru).

Recently in colloquial speech, られる (-rareru) used for the potential can be shortened to れる (-reru), e.g.  ()きれる (okireru),  ()べれる (tabereru),  ()れる (koreru). This practice is called  () (こと) () (ra-nuki kotoba).

See alsoEdit