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Tweet of the Week

Learn Japanese with what's going viral in the Twitterverse.

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If there’s one thing modern-day humans excel at, it’s multi-tasking. Nowhere is that more exemplified than when we’re in the bathroom. Toilet time has become synonymous with catching up on emails, checking social media or scrolling through cat videos until we’ve forgotten whether we actually did our business or not.

Hurry up!

Spending quality time with your phone while on the toilet is particularly fun in Japan, where the heated seats truly elevate the experience. However, Twitter user @asdsntr recently got a reminder that if you’re not living alone, you should free the space for others as soon as you’re done.

トイレでまったりしてたら子供 こどもにドアの したからされた紙切 かみきれ = I was chilling in the toilet when my kid slipped a piece of paper under the door

On the note, one self-explanatory word: 「はやく。」which means “hurry up.”

How to use the passive voice in Japanese

In English, we are encouraged to use the active form of verbs and told to avoid passive sentences wherever possible. In Japanese, the passive voice actually plays an important role, especially in written text.

On your Japanese journey, you’ll encounter a lot of structures which are built on the passive form of verbs. The conjugation, although not complicated, requires some brain gymnastics in addition to knowing your verb groups:

  • ru-verbs: the last becomes られる

Example: べる (eats) becomes 食べられる (is eaten).*

  • u-verbs: attach れる to the negative stem of the verb (nai form)

Example: (write) becomes 書かれる (is written).

*Be careful not to mistake the passive voice with the potential form of the ru-verbs group, as they’re exactly the same.

Of course, you will also note the two exceptions; する which becomes される, and , which becomes られる.

In this tweet, @asdsntr refers to the piece of paper that was slipped under the door by his kid:

紙切れは子供にドアの下から差し出されました。= A piece of paper was slipped under the door by the kid.

The doer of the action is often marked by the particle . If we wanted to build the same sentence with an active voice, it would become:

子供が紙切れをドアの下から差し出しました。= The kid slipped a piece of paper under the door.

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
トイレ toire toilet
まったりする matari suru to chill out, take it slow
子供 こども kodomo kid, kids
ドア doa door
したから shita kara from under
sashidasu to send, to submit, to post, to give
紙切 かみき kamikire a piece of paper
はやく hayaku quickly, fast, hurry
べる
taberu to eat
kaku to write

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