Help "be" verbs


Anyone got some advice to remember the verbs that have “be” like:
曲がる vs 曲げる ( To Be Bent vs To Bend)
付く vs 付ける ( To Be Attached vs To Attach)

Kinda hate this always getting confused


What you have discovered are called “transitive” and “intransitive” verbs. Respectively, it means that the subject either does something to something else, or that the subject does something to itself.

“I open the door” vs “The door opened by itself”

Keep in mind: this is not! the same as passive and active.

There are some patterns that can often be found, but they are definitely not foolproof. They can give a bit of an indication of course.

Tofugu has a pretty neat article about it. Give it a read!

(Especially this link talks about possible patterns and what to watch out for)


This might not work completely since I am still at a low level, but I remember it as:
が - the action of the verb is happening to the person/subject
げ - the action of the verb is happening to an object (eg, the subject is bending the object)

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This is true for pairs that have an あ sound an an え sound. In that case the あ verb is intransitive and the え verb is transitive.

When the え sound is paired with す, the え verb is intransitive and the す verb is transitive.


There is also this as well:


Hmm, there was another recent thread about this, with plenty of links. One of them was a video that used “self moving” and “other moving” verbs instead of the common “transitive/intransitive” terms, which can get confusing when the equivalence doesn’t work (some self moving verbs in Japanese can be Transitive in English). I thought that insight was pretty great, but I can’t remember who it was from.

In any case, read all these articles people are linking and you should be good. I’m still level 10, but having memorized those simple patterns (ある ending - self moving, す ending - other moving, etc), I have not made a mistake since.

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That seems less an issue with the transivity terms than trying to learn Japanese grammar with English.

That’s cause “transitive verb” in Japanese is 他動詞 (= other moving word), while “intransitive verb” is 自動詞 (= self moving word).

English does not deal well with transitivity, usually using the same word for both forms (e.g. “I opened the door” vs “the door opened”), so I really wouldn’t try to make equivalence work. There’s only a few English verbs with different transitive and intransitive forms - e.g. lie/lay, rise/raise


Intransitive verbs are useful in the progressive tense.


–> The desk drawer is open

That’s not transitive. 開く (I assume read あく here) is intransitive.


It’s accurate to say they often use the ている form, but this usage of ている is not progressive, as you were kind of alluding to. It implies a completed and continuous state, and has less to do with transitivity and more to do with the type of action described.


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