越える vs 越す .

Okay so from some of the meanings, synonyms, and example sentences, it appears that these two verbs with the same kanji can be used interchangeably.

I’m having trouble understanding the difference. I probably missed something on WaniKani or Jisho, but… halp?!

Hmm after reading various sources it seems that they’re generally synonymous – I also found this response on HiNative:

According to this response, 越す was used as the transitive (and seems to hold both transitive and intransitive uses now), and 越える is only intransitive. There are specific cases where they differ in meaning/use, some examples of uses of 越す that aren’t expressed by 越える being the expression of moving houses, and also as being used in honorific language to describe someone coming and going (so honorific form of expressing 行く / 来る)

Here’s another where the question was asked on italki, this one has several example sentences provided for each as well:

https://www.italki.com/question/116407

This seems like one of those cases where the more examples you read, the better you can grasp the subtle differences ^^

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Here’s a thesaurus entry, which also includes 上回る (うわまわる).

EDIT: I failed to notice you weren’t asking about the other kanji versions of these words as well, but both kanji appear in that entry.

Here’s an entry for the ones you specifically asked about.

Doesn’t it say that they used to differ in transitivity, but are the same now?

Yes, the part in parentheses is the input I gathered from reading other sources

超える is transitive though…

:thinking: what

I was seeing 越える as intransitive – do you have a better source to confirm?

I don’t see any modern usages that are intransitive. I posted that thesaurus link and every example is transitive.

Edit: although I’m talking about both こえるs and both こすs and maybe you aren’t.

Yeah I wasn’t, just the ones being asked about by OP

Still… Can you show me an intransitive example? I’m not sure what to imagine. Even though there are different kanji used, it’s still the same verb anyway.

I think half the problem here is that 越える and 越す are totally on the verge of the 自動詞/他動詞 definition, to the point I look to a sentence and don’t know if it should be considered one or another.

Why so? For example, 山を越す。It’s very easy to say it’s a 他動詞、there is a を and all. But the thing is Japanese also uses を for movement verbs.

For example, 公園を歩く。 No one would argue that 歩く is 自動詞, right? So why exactly 越す would be 他動詞 in 山を越す? It is describing a movement after all. And it also doesn’t imply a direct action towards the mountain, as 山を登る would.

I’m not saying the answer is one or another, though. I feel like I don’t have enough linguistics knowledge to answer that.

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Hmmm maybe something like this 例文 (from here):

I would say because こす and こえる are about being on the other side of something (as opposed to the action of passing through) they act like transitive to me. Sure you do have to move to do that, but to me that’s not the part emphasized by these. And the usage with numbers seems to clarify it for me, despite the use of a different kanji when used that way.

Something like 渡る, on the other hand, is about the “moving through” aspect of crossing, as I see it.

Ah, okay, yeah that looks like definition 2 in the monolingual dictionary I’m looking at. Though as mentioned in the above post, to me the objects that are taken for the primary definition all take the role of direct objects, but I can see why someone would consider them as potentially being indirect objects after seeing it mentioned.

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It’s tricky. What if instead of 渡る we think of it as 通る, for example? 学校を通る is clearly intransitive. And as far as I know, 国境を越える is considered to be 自動詞. It’s a common example of “unexpected 自動詞” on Japanese textbooks.

On the other hand, the pair 越える 越す fits way too perfectly on Japanese phonological patterns for 自動詞 and 他動詞 pairs. So it’s hard to say there is nothing going on here.

Adding to the discussion, I think we can all agree that 夏を越す is a different usage from the other examples, so maybe 越える 越す was originally more like that. And indeed 夏を越える still sounds a bit awkward to me, but we’d better ask a native.

I hadn’t seen this reply before posting mine. In the end I think we got to the same thing, through opposite examples.

Whelp, now I feel more lost. But I’ll come back to this when I’m not very sick.

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