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passive voice and potential forms

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passive voice and potential forms

Postby OlgaD » Sat 05.14.2011 3:40 pm

Hello!

I have a problem understanding the meaning of those two sentences
1. 雨はとめられない

2. だれにもとめられない

I know that this has to do with the passive and potential forms. とめられる can mean "can stop" but also it can mean "is stopped", right? Someone told me that the sentence 1 means rain can't be stopped or the rain does not stop, but I don't think it's ok. I would say とめれられる when I would like to say CAN be STOPPED and 雨はとめない when I'd like to say someone doesn't stop rain. The RAIN DOESNT STOP would be とまない for me."Can stop" would be とまられる, right? (I know we can also use the simplified potential form like とめれる but I would like to concentrate on those longer forms). Or maybe we can't use intransitive verbs (like とまる) and we have to use only transitive, like とめる? I suppose we can't, but I want to make sure.

And I don't know if the first sentence means "the rain can't stop [falling]", or "rain can't be stopped" or "isn't stopped". Because different peple tell me different forms. But if I want to say CAN'T BE STOPPED shouldn't I use とめれられない? Another person told me it means "The rain doesn't stop" (or can't stop if we talk about the potential form). If it's the passive voice though, why is is in passive? Why wouldn't it be simple とまない? Because とまない means DOESN'T STOP for me, and とめれられない means "isn't stopped" for me (or can't stop).

It's even harder in sentence 2. particle に indicates the person who does something in passive voice, right? (for ex. I HAD MY CAR STOLEN BY MY FRIEND. FRIEND WOULD BE MARKED BY に) So we can't talk about potential form here (please correct me if I am wrong). So this sentence would mean "something isn't be stopped by anyone" for me. Someone translated it cannot stop anyone from... but I don't think it's right. I would say だれもとめれられない (or とめれない) - cannot stop anyone. ''Not to stop anyone'' would be だれもとめない and だれもとまない - nobody stops, and nobody can stop would be だれもとめられない or だれもとめれない (or maybe I sould use とまる?!) . Noone can be stopped would be だれもとめれられない. X can't be stopped by anybody would be だれにもとめられない. Oh, it's so confusing. I need help!!! :)


I also know about the "suffering passive" but I don't think this has something to do with the sentences I mentioned.
Please, help me to understand those sentences and usage of passive and potential forms.

And another problem... My textbook uses the particle は in passive, but the other textbook says, we can ONLY use が. In many textbooks I see は in passive, so please tell me which one is correct.

Thank You so much for Your help everyone!!!!
OlgaD
 
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Joined: Mon 05.31.2010 4:54 pm
Native language: Polish

Re: passive voice and potential forms

Postby blutorange » Sat 05.14.2011 5:12 pm

OlgaD wrote:1. 雨はとめられない
2. だれにもとめられない

I find it good you are thinking about the topic. Just remember, languages are not always completely logical.
When rain cannot be stopped, then clearly, there the rain is the object; we use the transitive とめる. 〜られる is the potential in this case. Thus, とめられない means stop→be stoppable→not be stoppable→be unstoppable, and 雨はとめられない "As for the rain, to be unstopable"→"Rain cannot be stopped". The key point here is that the passive is not used in these kinds of expressions unless absolutely needed. As my literal translation showed, the sentence is perfectly alright meaning-wise. I guess, in this case, 〜られない has some implications of both the potential and passive.

OlgaD wrote:I know that this has to do with the passive and potential forms. とめられる can mean "can stop" but also it can mean "is stopped", right?

In principle, perhaps, but as context or common sense dictates, "Rain is not stopped" does not really make sense, so in this context the meaning is clear. And to the extent "Rain is not stopped" may make sense, it it the same sense as "Rain cannot be stopped." In fact, the passive and potential do have a certain similarity in meaning, after all, why do they use the same conjugation, one may wonder?
OlgaD wrote:I would say とめれられる when I would like to say CAN be STOPPED

No need to use the passive, as explained above. Either とめれる, which is the colloquial expression, or とめられる as the proper version.
OlgaD wrote:and 雨はとめない when I'd like to say someone doesn't stop rain.

(誰かが雨を止め(てい)ない, also 誰かに雨は止められていない) Yes, although this meaning does not make much sense, except for Science-Fiction &c perhaps.
OlgaD wrote:The RAIN DOESNT STOP would be とまない for me.

とまっていない, other than that, yes.
OlgaD wrote:"Can stop" would be とまられる, right? (I know we can also use the simplified potential form like とめれる but I would like to concentrate on those longer forms). Or maybe we can't use intransitive verbs (like とまる) and we have to use only transitive, like とめる? I suppose we can't, but I want to make sure.

You should certainly use the transitive version. Also:
zornn wrote:The potential form is only used with transitive verbs that express a controllable intention like "taberu" or "iku", not with non-intentional verbs such as "aku" or "shiru". "dekiru" is the potential form of "suru".

For uncontrollable/intransitive verbs you use "[dict. form] koto ga dekiru" as an alternative (or "rikai dekiru" for "wakaru"). It is also often used for ichidan verbs for easier distinction between the potential (ex. "mirareru")* and passive forms (ex. also "mirareru").
*"mireru" is slang.

http://forum.jisho.org/discussion/924/list-of-non-volitional-verbs/p1

OlgaD wrote:And I don't know if the first sentence means "the rain can't stop [falling]", or "rain can't be stopped" or "isn't stopped". Because different peple tell me different forms.

Think about it. Are these forms really that different in meaning?

OlgaD wrote:It's even harder in sentence 2. particle に indicates the person who does something in passive voice, right? Someone translated it cannot stop anyone from... but I don't think it's right.

Well, it definitely means "Rain cannot be stopped by anyone.", but I understand your confusion now.
OlgaD wrote:I would say だれもとめれられない (or とめれない) - cannot stop anyone.
''Not to stop anyone'' would be だれもとめない and だれもとまない - nobody stops, and nobody can stop would be だれもとめられない or だれもとめれない (or maybe I sould use とまる?!) . Noone can be stopped would be だれもとめれられない. X can't be stopped by anybody would be だれにもとめられない. Oh, it's so confusing. I need help!!! :)

As I said in the beginning, do not try to be overly logical・overthink the passive and potential.
だれにもとめられない = 誰にも (by anyone) + とられない (not be stoppable) = "not be stoppable by anyone" = "Rain is not stoppable by anyone.

" 誰も雨をとめられない=Nobody can stop rain. and 誰にも(雨が)とめられない=Rain cannot be stopped by anyone. See, just the same as in English.
blutorange
 
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Native language: German

Re: passive voice and potential forms

Postby LordOfTheFlies » Sat 05.14.2011 8:07 pm

OlgaD wrote:I have a problem understanding the meaning of those two sentences
1. 雨はとめられない

2. だれにもとめられない

First of all I'd like to make sure that you understand that the the passive voice and potential forms are conjugated exactly the same in 一段動詞(ru-verbs/ichidan verbs). As mentioned above sometimes ことができる is used in these cases to avoid confusion.

Basically, 食べられる can mean both "to be able to eat" or "to be eaten by something/someone". The only way to tell which one it is is through context and grammatical structures. This can be very confusing in the beginning but you'll get the hang of it. This problem doesn't exist with 五段動詞(u-verbs/godan verbs) because there are separate conjugations for the passive and potential forms. It's not uncommon that people conjugate the potential form in ru-verbs just like in u-verbs, but it's strictly colloquial and is NOT grammatically accepted. For instance 食べれる.

I would also recommend brushing up on intrasitive and transitive verbs even if you feel confident, because it's important to be able to distinguish them and there's no harm in studying too much :)
LordOfTheFlies
 
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