From Classical Japanese (ru), 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 四段活用 (yodan katsuyō, quadrigrade conjugation), ナ行変格活用 (na-gyō henkaku katsuyō, n-irregular conjugation), and ラ行変格活用 (ra-gyō henkaku katsuyō, r-irregular conjugation) verbs.

During the later stages of the language, as with other shimo nidan verbs, the original 終止形 (shūshikei, terminal form) (ru) was gradually lost as the 連体形 (rentaikei, attributive form) るる (ruru) came to be used for both functions, realigning the conjugations. The suffix came to be also used with (sa), the new 未然形 (mizenkei, irrealis or incomplete form) of サ行変格活用 (sa-gyō henkaku katsuyō, s-irregular conjugation) verbs. Finally, the conjugation type of the suffix shifted to 下一段活用 (shimo ichidan katsuyō, lower monograde conjugation), making the modern form れる (reru).


れる (-reruichidan (stem (-re), past れた (-reta))

  1. Makes the passive voice.
    Aite no senshu ni osaretara, oshikaese!
    If you are pushed by opponent players, push them in return!
  2. Shows a spontaneous action.
  3. Forms a light honorific expression.
    Watashitachi no sensei wa, go fun gurai de modorareru to omoimasu.
    Our teacher thinks it will be back in about five minutes.
    tennōheika ga Kōkyo ni o modori ni narareru.
    The Emperor would be back to The Imperial Palace.
  4. (archaic) Makes the potential form; -able, -ible.


Usage notesEdit

  • Attaches only to the 未然形 (mizenkei, irrealis or incomplete form) of Group I (godan) verbs and the irregular verb する (suru). The result is conjugated like an ichidan verb.
  • In modern Japanese, れる (-reru) is no longer used for the potential, a function which is now expressed by the 可能動詞 (kanō dōshi) form of godan verbs and by substituting できる (dekiru) for する (suru) for s-irregular verbs.
  • In traditional Japanese grammar, this is a 助動詞 (jodōshi, auxiliary verb). Morphologically, this is an inflectional suffix whose proper shape is -are- (terminal form -areru), attaching to the stem of consonant-stem verbs.

See alsoEdit