Difference B/ween Passive Form & Intransitive Verbs?



Something nagging me that I have not really gotten a satisfactory answer for:

What is the difference between using the passive form of a transitive verb and its intransitive variation?

I.E. For example:
(1) ドアを開けた - The door is opened (by John/Sally).
(2) ドアが開けられた - The door has been opened.
(3) ドアが開いた - The door has been opened.

The way I basically understand it is that (1) Says that John opened the door (with a direct object of the door). (2) Says that someone (mentioned or unmentioned) had opened the door and now is in a state of “openness” and (3) I am inclined to say the same as 2 with maybe the caveat that the door may not have been opened by anyone (hence the non-necessity to mention a subject). But are (2) or (3) both essentially 誰か作用された ?

Any sorts of answers (more grammatical or not) are much appreciated! Thank you!


3 is definitely not the same as saying あけられた.

A door can open on its own, and if it does, then you wouldn’t use the passive.

Additionally, the tenses are a bit off, I feel

ドアが開いた is “a door opened” like, just now
If it opened earlier on its own, or you don’t know how it opened, but it’s still open, you would say
ドアが開いている “a door is open”


Have you read this:

It seems part of the trouble is that the English translations seem passive, but they don’t really capture the Japanese version.


Here’s a previous answer I gave to this question.


I like Cure Dolly’s explanation of Japanese “passive” verb constructions:

She makes the point that what we typically call passive from an English grammar point of view is in Japanese made up of the verb stem plus the helper verb, ‘receive’. So that ドアが開けられた literally means that the door received opening (from someone). And this is indeed conceptually quite different from saying that the door opened (by itself).