Grammar » passive voice

This grammar note is available in the South Qikiqtaaluk dialect only.


The passive voice is used in Inuktitut (and English) when we want to express that something is happening to someone, or they are at the receiving end of a particular action.

active voiceMialiup Simiuni takujangaMary sees Simiuni.
passive voiceSimiuni takujaujuq.Simiuni is seen.

1. To make verbs in the passive voice in Inuktitut, one adds the affix -jau-/-tau- right after the verb root.  -jau- is used after roots ending in vowels, and -tau- after roots ending in consonants.

ikaujuq-to help
He is being helped.
ikajuqtaujumavit?    Do you want some help (literally, 'do you want to be helped?')
ikajuqtaujumajunga.I'd like some help; Can you help me? (literally, 'I want to be helped.')

Some other examples:

active voiceqai+qu+jaatit =  
qaiqujaatitShe wants you to come; She has invited you
passive voiceqai+qu+jau+jutit =  qaiqujaujutitYou are invited.
active voice
ai+niaq+tara =  ainiaqtaraI will pick her up.
passive voiceai+jau+juma+guvitaijaujumaguvitif you want to be picked up...

2. - jau-/-tau- is used to make verbs in the passive voice. -ujjaq- is a related affix used to make nouns in the passive voice:

uqaq + ujjaq = uqaujjaqsomeone who is spoken to.

It is more likely that you will see these used in complete sentence:

aullaq + ujjaq = aullaujjaq
someone who is taken out on the land
aullaq + ujjaq + u + jugut = aullaujjaujugut
We are being taken out on the land.
aullaujjaujumagama               (because) I would like to be taken out on the land.
aput + ujjaq = apujjaqsomeone who has been snowed in
aput + ujjaq + u + jut = apujjaujutThey are snowed in.
tinittuqthe tide goes out; drops
tinujjaujuqIt has been beached at low tide.