Can Someone explain this to me please? thanks

The students had finished copying down their homework from the blackboard.

I’m reading the sentence like this.

‘student from the black board wrote down. homework also finished being copied’

I’m aware that you can use te form to connect sentences. but it’s ending in ta? so it seems like two separate sentences.

does the fact that mo is used link the sentences because it’s referring to the previous statement?


I’m a bit sleep deprived at the moment, so my explanation may not make much sense, but the point is that the part I quoted is a unit:
The homeworks that are written on the black board.
Here, た connects a subordinate sentence (have been written on the blackboard) to 宿題.

For understanding the full sentence, it’s easier to first ignore the subordinate.

A side note: I’m a bit surprised that it’s も and not もう, but that might also be the lack of sleep talking.


In context, they might have copied one thing, then also copied their homework, thus the も

Edit: I’m more puzzled by the 書かれた. Is that the “able to write” or, I guess the passive, “was written (by someone)”. Never mind, got it.


Unless they also copied down something earlier? Impossible to know without context and I agree with you that もう makes more sense for a sentence in isolation, but I wanted to mention it.

@RAIJIN Here are some things to read on.

Passive form: Causative and Passive Verbs – Learn Japanese
書かれた is past tense of the passive form of 書く. So it means “was written”

Relative clauses: Relative Clauses and Sentence Order – Learn Japanese
This explains how it’s actually one sentence. 黒板に書かれた is a relative clause modifying 宿題, so 黒板に書かれた宿題 means “the homework that was written on the blackboard”.

Hopefully with those two pieces you can work out the meaning of the whole sentence, but if not let us know and someone will break it down further for you.


So would a direct translation be.

'Students who copied from blackboard also finished copying homework?

also just to be clear, I thought that the passive verb acted on the topic part of the sentence. can it also act on the に particle?


Just looked on Taekim and it say This.

“Passive verbs are verbs that are done to the (passive) subject. Unlike English style of writing which discourages the use of the passive form, passive verbs in Japanese are often used in essays and articles.”

What would be considered the subject in the sentence to which the passive verb is acting on?


I’d say it breaks down kind of like
(the students) (written on the blackboard homework) (had finished copying)

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The subject (or whatever you’d call it?) is 宿題. Where was the 宿題 written? It was written on the blackboard.

黒板にかかれた is a phrase functioning as one big adjective.

edit: whoops wrote mondai instead of shukudai


In a passive phrase, the thing marked by に can be the actor “doing” the verb. That usage of に isn’t in this sentence though, because it’s not stated explicitly who the homework was written by (though obviously it would be the teacher). The に here is the normal に because the homework was written on the blackboard.

I would translate the sentence as:

The students also finished copying down the homework that was written on the blackboard.


Is this because the も also acts as a subject marker?


That’s right.

See below.

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I think Raionus is right that the “subject” of the adjective clause with the passive verb is “homework”. But just to be clear, the subject of the sentence (omitted) is a repeat of the topic, the students. も is, as you say, acting as the subject marker for that.

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Pretty much right. Sorry I wasn’t being clear with my wording.

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@ctmf @Raionus Oh wait, isn’t も replacing を here since 写す is transitive?

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Did you mean the topic of the sentence (omitted) is a repeat of the topic?

Yes, you’re probably right, now that you mention it. Thanks!

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No, but before I get too far, remember I’m learning too, not an expert by any means. But I think the subject of the sentence is “the students”, and would normally be marked with が or も. However, when the subject is the same as the topic, it’s often omitted as obvious.

But now I think seanblue is right, the mo is replacing wo.

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I just realised I should of said topic


Do you mean the topic of the sentence should be student?

Meaning the omitted topic is 学生は And the も is referencing the topic 学生は. I don’t think there is a subject in the sentence? as there is no が?

Both. The topic is the students, and the subject of the overall sentence is also the students. They don’t have to be the same thing.

私は猫が好き topic: me, subject: cats

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Theres no が in the sentence i posted.Can a sentance still have a subject without the が particle? if so where is the part of the sentance that indicates the subject? If that makes sense?