他動詞と自動詞 Transitive and intransitive verbs

It is very important, and at the very least, fundamental to know the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs in Japanese. If you don’t learn these basics, the language and when and how to use the verbs can become quite confusing, and dissimilation from using them correctly increases. Transitive verbs refer to action, while intransitive refers to stagnant or verbs that are passive or motionless to the speaker. However, they are not action verbs. There are slight nuances in their usages and must be learned in order to grasp verb usage in Japanese.
For example: mitsukeru and mitsukaru 見つけると見つかる
見つける means to find and 見つかる means something is found.
届くand 届ける todoku and todokeru
届くmeans something is delivered and 届ける means to deliver
Can you see the differences?*

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…yes

So あるく and はしる are actions, so they’re transitive, right? :slight_smile:

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One thing that makes it very confusing is that the English translation makes it seem like a passive construction. In the end it’s only about the direct object.

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And 待つ is pretty stationary, so it’s intransitive.

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Transitive verbs refer to action, while intransitive refers to stagnant or verbs that are passive or motionless to the speaker. However, they are not action verbs.

That’s not correct.

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exactly, keep up the good work

good question. As angry mami says, “it’s about the direct object”. Intransitive verbs usually take the particle が and transitive verbs (action verbs) usally take を。が means someone or something is doing some action,while, を connects a transitive verb to a direct object. *The verb 待つ is a transitive verb meaning ‘to wait’.

Seriously though, that’s incorrect. If you’re trying to sort things out by talking it out that’s fine, but don’t try to authoritatively explain a topic you don’t fully understand. If someone who doesn’t know any better comes along and reads this they could get seriously confused or misled.

If you want to discuss where you’re in error I’m happy to do so, but first you need to realize you’re mistaken.

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I was joking. They’re not.

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Interestingly 待つ has both transitive and intransitive uses in Japanese.

I have the feeling that I asked this before, but are 自動詞と他動詞 actually a thing in Japanese grammar teaching? I don’t really see it anywhere in dictionaries, how is this denoted?

My 広辞苑 dictionary will put a 自 or 他 in front of definitions, and sometimes you’ll see both under a single word.

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It’s not that simple. What particle to use depends entirely on what you what to say and how.
それを食べたい i wanna eat that
それが食べたい what i wanna eat is that (out of all the choices)

問題をわかって欲しい i want you to understand the question
問題がわかって欲しい what i want you to understand is the question (and not something else)

Then there’s nuances, 見つかる sounds more humble, while 見つける is more assertive.

それに触りたい i wanna touch that (lightly)
それを触りたい i wanna touch that (strongly)

Yes, there’s transitive and intransitive verbs, but how you use them is less of a grammatical question, more of a matter of nuance.

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I can’t find anything from a brief googling except foreigners discussing を分かる, do you have a Japanese source for that?

I don’t have sources for that. I’ve been living here for a couple years, speaking Japanese at home and work. I’m pretty sure it could be found somewhere, maybe on 知恵袋

Oh, and before someone mentions the use of を with movement verbs that are typically classified as intransitive, that usage of を is apparently not regarded by linguists as marking a direct object, so those verbs don’t gain transitive usages in that sense. If I can find the Stack Exchange question where I read about that I’ll post it.

-It is discussed in the japanese 国語文法 text book I have (for middle school students).

-It was also one of the topics in this video series (a tutoring series on grammar for japanese students):

-It is marked in the J-J dictionaries that I have (as leebo mentioned).
edit: ^^ i thought this was true, but my 小学館国語辞典 doesn’t have it. it just marks as 動.

I only got electronic dictionaries, OSX includes スーパー大辞林, if you search online you get デジタル大辞泉 results. I don’t see it anywhere there. Is there some online way to get that info?

This is the first time I’ve seen the japanese word for transitive and intransitive verbs and tbh they make a lot more intuitive sense than the english words.

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Many grammatical terms are not really 100% corresponding to what is happening in Japanese, there is a nice explanation here for the transitivity:

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