Don't like to type 'something' in answers

There are many answers that involve typing ‘something’ as in:
受け取る - to receive something
点ける - to turn something on

So what I do is just type, ‘to receive’ or ‘to turn on’ and WK accepts the answer. But for some reason WK does not accept ‘to advance’ in response to 進める. Instead it says something like ‘can you be more specific’ (not sure of wording, but the gist is WK doesn’t accept this as a correct answer).

In this case, I have to type ‘to advance something’ for WK to accept it. Is there something different about this ‘something’ as compared to all the other ‘something’ I omit? Note that this is the only exception I have come across, i.e., ALL other instances of omitting ‘something’ have been accepted by WK.

On a side note, I wanted to do a search for the word ‘something’ to see how many instances that I have omitted ‘something’ in the answer and WK accepted it, but it seems that WK does not have the capability to do a wildcard search, ‘ne’.

2 Likes

It’s because there is a difference between transitive and intransitive verbs and many of them come in pairs. Tofugu has an article about it.

In short though, verbs that form transitive pairs where one ends ある and the other ends in える, the ones that end in ある tend to be the intransitive verbs (aka self movers) while those that end in える tend to be the transitive verbs (other movers).

So, for example:

まる (tomaru) - To stop (that is to say something stops by itself – aka a self mover).
める (tomeru) - To stop something (that is to say one thing is stopping something else – aka an other mover)

I think that WK is being a bit permissive when it accepts answers for transitive verbs that really should have the “something” added without it and that causes confusion unless there is also an understanding of the context of the transitivity.

9 Likes

And yet some transitive verbs don’t accept “something”…

image

I failed this one when I typed “to wet something” :sweat_smile:
Maybe, they have fixed it now though… :thinking:

3 Likes

Oh joy, it’s good to know that I have those types of discrepancies to look forward to! :smiley:

At least up to this point (level 8) it has been consistent about the distinction.

EDIT:

I just looked at the entry for it and it doesn’t seem to list something in the alternatives (visibly at least), but the description does say:

The kanji itself means wet or damp, so the verb version is to wet or to dampen something.

2 Likes

I set the meanings to Anki mode (pass/fail) a long time ago and never looked back. I just don’t have the patience to deal with missing synonyms etc…

5 Likes

In this particular example you don’t need something as a distinction since to wet is only transitive. the intransitive version of wet in english is to get/be wet 濡れる

I think that wanikani added the something just (well just is an understatement) to verbs that can be intransitives and transitive unless indicated by context, hence the elusive (more like notorious) something.

3 Likes

It seems like Wanikani is still in the process of updating transitive verbs to accept “something” as some have it and others don’t (and yet others do not list it visibly but do accept it). In any case, I think each instance of a transitive that is shown with “something” also accepts as an alternative the verb without “something” (and if it doesn’t then it might be a case of Wanikani not yet updating it to behave like this, or they have made the decision that omitting the ‘something’ would make it too ambiguous and want to reinforce the transitivity).

5 Likes

Yes I’ve complained before that I don’t actually care which strategy they use*, but whichever they choose they should all follow the same pattern. I can learn to put it, I can learn to not put it. What I can’t do is remember months later which style they chose for that item when there’s no clear convention.

It’s weird, this exact inconsistency has lingered for a year or more when it seems like once you decide the style for transitive verbs will be “to X something”, it’s just a weekend project to go update them all in one swoop. Instead they’ve got half and half. Not even that. Some require it, some allow it, some don’t allow it and mark you wrong.

The other kind of item that sorely needs a style guide is the counters. Is it X counter, counter for X-es (plural), counter for X, just “X-es” without the “counter for”… come on now, pick one convention and stick with it.

* I do have a preference; I like the ‘something’ for transitive verbs. But it’s not a strong preference and if they decide the other way I’ll be just as happy as long as it’s predictable

8 Likes

I get what you mean bro. What I did is that when the app prompts me to be specific, I simply add a synonym “no” to the item.

That way, when I get prompted next time, I know my answer is correct and simply type in “no”. I ain’t got no time for bs…

2 Likes

Just answer “no” to everything! trunky_rolling

P. S. Sorry, couldn’t stop myself trunky_rolling
On a more serious note, I understand how you feel, but in such cases it would be best to at least add a simple sinonym, otherwise it might become confusing later :sweat_smile:

3 Likes

I’ve memorized that particular one as ‘to moisten’ (and here’s to hoping that alternative won’t get removed until the next review of the item comes up :upside_down_face:)

2 Likes

Thanks for your response and I like the Tofugu article!!!

Interestingly, the Tofugu article you linked gives example such generalities as the one you cited. The article said, “…This states that if you see a verb that ends in える it’s transitive and if it ends in ある it’s intransitive.” BUT THEN, it goes on to say that this would only work about 20% of the time! :slight_smile:

I’ve noticed this about WK and Japanese language ‘rules,’ there always seems to be an exception(s) out there somewhere :slight_smile:

Technically, I agree with you 100%! But since I’m a lazy typist, I like omitting the ‘something!’ :slight_smile: BUT, what I try to do is to type ‘to receive’ AND to say ‘something’ in my head!

Thanks again for your insight and help!

3 Likes

Nice theory :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Anki mode is the only way to go. I hate the typing system. But no one is working on the site currently. So Koichi and crew have left it up to the paying customer to do the work for him.

1 Like

Thanks.

English has so many irregular verbs and I had to memorize lists and list of them, that’s probably what gives me some hope with japanese… I’m gonna have to drill it with my Genki decks, or just write the lists of transitive intransitive down, so my brain will see some sort of pattern, 20% is better than nothing and using mnemonics with verbs doesn’t seem to work for me.

2 Likes

So is it just verbs or kanji, vocab, etc.?

Over the years I remember hearing of these mnemonics theories that people used to memorize the order of the 52 cards in a deck and…whatever. It didn’t make sense to me because I felt it was more work to make up all these ridiculous schemes (the elephant carrying three clubs fell into a black hole yelling out ‘free’ me…). Surprise…whenever I tried it, I failed miserably!!!

So when I read up about WK several years, I was VERY hesitant! But over time, I finally gave in and, surprise, it seems to WORK!!! Granted I’m taking a LONG time to level up, but it is working out for me.

It helps to create my own mnemonics for those leeches that keep cropping up :slight_smile:

2 Likes

The transitive/intransitive pairs are part regular part irregular like this because they’re the fossilized remains of what was probably a fairly regular and productive grammar pattern 1500 to 2000 years ago (some kind of auxiliary verb, perhaps). But that pattern turned into “this is just what the verbs are and what they mean”, and then we’ve had a thousand plus years of old words having their meanings drift, new words being coined, and sound changes across the language. So by this point you can still see the bones of the old regularity but it’s definitely dead…

6 Likes

many times you can get away with excluding it. Though, you can also just add your own synonym for all answers.

2 Likes

Just the verbs. It probably has to do with not enough exposure in context, because the change is so slight (two different hiragana from the same line), and having to add another layer of mnemonics and it’s not consistent across the board.
At the end of the day it means I’m not being mindful enough when it comes to verbs. So it’s good you wrote about it, because it made me pause and reevaluate my learning habits.

1 Like

Right. This particular generality applies specifically to the transitivity pairs (verbs that are the same other than one is transitive and the other is intransitive) where one of them ends in ある. Even then it doesn’t cover all cases. It’s almost never the case in any language that there are simple rules that always apply.

Nevertheless, I still think it’s a very useful generality as it helps in the beginning to understand the distinction and there are actually some other parts that I didn’t mention which make it correct more often than not too.

For example, when you have a transitivity pair where one of them ends in す, that one is almost always the one that is transitive even if the other one ends in える. The す can be thought of as being related to する (to do) which helps to remember that it involves doing something to something else (aka transitive).

As a case in point, the linked Tofugu article presents the following pairs as counterexamples to the general ある/える pattern:

Oh oops, did we tell you える endings were transitive? They’re actually intransitive sometimes too. Too bad it can also be:

Transitive Verb す English Intransitive verb える English
返す To Return Something 返る To Be Returned
倒す To Knock Over 倒れる To Get Knocked Over
直す To Fix Something 直る To Be Fixed

And don’t forget:

Transitive Verb あす English Intransitive verb える English
出す To Remove Something 出る To Exit
逃がす To Let Go 逃げる To Escape
負かす To Defeat Someone 負ける To Lose

Notice though that all of the transitive ones end in す which, as previously mentioned, tends to make them the transitive ones and that means the other ones must be the intransitive ones, even though they end in える. I didn’t cherry pick at all and it applied in every one of their counterexamples.

At the end of the day, there will pretty much always be exceptions to everything though and ultimately you will learn them through a ton of input in context.

5 Likes