見当たる to find vs. to be found


#1

WK’s main definition for 見当たる is “to be found”, but it also has the alternative meanings: “to come upon, to fall upon, to discover, to come across, to happen upon” – which to me are synonymous with “to find” rather than “to be found.”

Why is “to find” not a meaning? Or alternatively, why is “to be discovered” not a meaning? Or can they both be meanings?

Would you only use this word to say “to find” if you found something by chance, rather than finding something you’re already looking for?


#2

That’s because 見当たる is the intransitive version of the verb, meaning that something is found, but not focusing on who finds it.

見付ける(lvl 9) would be literally translated as “To find”, and is a transitive version of the verb, meaning you can say “I found this” or “She found that”.


#3

Thank you. I think I get it, but I’m still struggling with transitive/intransitive. I really need to start studying grammar more :confounded:

So, if I said 私は二万円を見当たりました, would that be incorrect?

vs. 私は二万円を見付けました。

Is the difference between the two sentences something like “As for me, twenty thousand yen was found” vs. “I found twenty thousand yen”?


#4

As far as I know, this would be incorrect, and wouldn’t make much sense.

The usage goes more like this:

私の財布が見当たりました (My wallet was found)

Here I’m stating that my wallet has been found, probably (though not necessarily) by someone else.
Notice that the particle for intransitive verbs is が instead of を, or at least that’s how it’s taught on みんなの日本語.


#5

Ohh that makes sense. It’s intransitive, so there’s no object, so you wouldn’t use を, you’d use が to identify what was found. Thank you! I understand it more now :slight_smile:


#6

Resist the urge to assume that every word has to have the same transitivity in Japanese as the word we use to translate it in English.

Famously, both “to understand” and “to know” are transitive in English, but in Japanese 知る is transitive and 分かる is intransitive.


#7

I feel like you’ve been reading Tae Kim, keep it up! :slight_smile:


#8

yes, the good old identifier particle :wink:


#9

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