The vocab item for 差す defines it as “to shine at.” But it also says it’s an intransitive verb. Both of those things can’t be true, so which is it? The context sentence uses it as an intransitive verb, and the primary dictionary definition seems to be “to shine” (intransitive), not “to shine at” (transitive). What gives?
Long story short, it’s a simple word with a host of different meanings. Jisho has 16 different definitions for it, 5 of which are intransitive, 10 of which are transitive, and one suffix, apparently.
I don’t know anymore besides that Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will have more information.
Hmm the English meaning provided by WK seems misleading in that sense, but the “to shine” definition of 差す is classified as intransitive, particularly in the phrase 「日が差す」(the shining of the sun), which is the expression used in the example sentence
差す does have other intransitive and transitive meanings, but 差す (to shine) is intransitive
I don’t see how “to shine at” can’t be intransitive. What follows would be an indirect object, not a direct object.
Hmm. It doesn’t map super cleanly, because in English if you said “the light was shining at the street,” the verb would be “to shine.” But if the verb in Japanese is “to shine at,” then it seems like whatever it’s shining at would be a direct object.
Does 差す have to take an object? Defining it as “to shine at” implies that it does.
It was already clarified that the verb can be transitive or intransitive.
This is quite common. I was just objecting to the idea that it can’t be intransitive.
And it would be “to shine” no matter what. When it’s transitive in English it doesn’t have to have “at”.
“To shine at” and “to shine” are not the same thing. “To shine at” has to take an object, whereas “to shine” doesn’t. “To shine at” isn’t a verb in English, which may be the cause of our misunderstanding. Think of a word like “to berate,” which is basically “to yell at.” Transitive verb, even though “to yell” is intransitive.
EDIT: How would you say “it shines at me”? Something like: 私に差す? If so, it seems like the “at” is coming from に, not from 差す. In which case, 差す just means “to shine,” right?
I think you’re over thinking the way WK phrases verbs. They’re quite inconsistent.
As noted, 差す has tons of meanings, so I would advise using a monolingual dictionary.
The inconsistent way WK phrases verbs is one of the most frustrating things about it, in my opinion. In this instance, it obscures whether 差す can be used without an object (“the sun shines”) or with a direct object (“he shines a light in the air”). To define it as “to shine at” implies that neither of these usages is correct, but I gather from this discussion that both of them are.
This could be fixed by defining the word as “to shine” and adding “transitive verb” to the Part of Speech.
Wouldn’t the “at” be equivalent to a particle placed after the noun being illuminated? Why include it with the verb in the english translation?
Not quite – to clarify, 差す has a lot of different dictionary meanings, some of them are intransitive and some are transitive. However, when using 差す to mean “to shine”, it is strictly intransitive. Check out its entry on jisho
If you want to use “to shine” transitively, you’d use a verb such as 照らす, which means to shine on/illuminate and is a transitive verb
Ah, thanks. That’s good to know. And 照らす further illustrates my point–if “to shine on” is a transitive verb, then surely “to shine at” would be as well.
I would really stop trying to argue in terms of the English transivity of any given translation. They don’t have to match. E.g. to understand / 分かる
I think you’re confused about transitivity. A transitive verb takes a direct object. With “to shine at”, there cannot be a direct object, you’re not causing something to shine.
Nope, I understand transitivity. I think you’re confused by the fact that “to shine at” isn’t a verb in English. The verb in English that comes closest to meaning “to shine at” is probably “to illuminate,” which is transitive.
While it isn’t perfect, “at” was added to show that it doesn’t take a direct object. It’s a way to remember if it’s transitive or intransitive, not a perfect translation.
I guess that might have been the intent, but ironically it kind of does the opposite, by defining it to look like a synonym of the transitive verb “to illuminate.” It also falsely implies that the word can’t be used without an object.
I just remember it as “to raise an umbrella” because that’s my favourite definition, and a fairly common usage.
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