How to remember similar vocabulary, e.g. 出る vs 出す, 上げる vs 上がる, 下げる vs 下がる


I always mix up the above, any idea on how to separate the active / passive form?

出る - でる - to leave (passive)
出す - だす - to take out (active)
上げる - あげる - to lower something (active)
上がる - あがる - to fall (passive)
下げる - さげる - to raise (active)
下がる - さがる - to rise (passive)

with 下げる and 下がる, the “a” sound in が was my indicator for the passive action and the “e” in げ for the active word, but with 出す and 出る, it is just the other way round. :thinking: Would love to hear from you how you remember vocabulary like these. Thank you so much in advance!

Ena :chipmunk:


There are some rules of thumb to transitivity that makes it much easier to remember what is what. ^^


Wow, that’s exactly what I was looking for - thank you so much! Need to watch this video several times, I guess, but it is really helpful! :smile:


Follow the vowel
dEru - to lEave
dAsu - to tAke out
agEru - to lowEr
agAru - to fAll
sagEru - to raisE
sagAru - to rise / doesn’t have A, but it’s the last one so doesn’t matter lol

That’s what I did… but yeah maybe the video has better info than just a weird mnemonic lol


I don’t know if this is mentioned in the video, but you have to be cautious with the rules of thumbs for transitivity in japanese. There are exeptions. 焼く(やく)means to bake something (transitive) and 焼ける(やける)means to be baked (intransitive) ; quite the opposite of the usual pattern.


Yes, she mentions that the rules are not ironclad. ^^


tl;dw of that Cure Dolly video (copy/pasted again from a post I made earlier):

Verbs that end with ~ある sounds are almost always intransitive, just like ある is intransitive.

  • 上がる
  • 下がる
  • 分かる
  • 代わる
  • 止まる
  • 当たる
  • 回る
  • 決まる
  • 助かる
  • 終わる
  • 転がる

Verbs that end with ~す (or ~せる) are almost always transitive, just like する is transitive.

  • 出す
  • 正す
  • 写す
  • 申す
  • 足す
  • 直す
  • 回す
  • 思い出す
  • 見直す
  • 話す
  • 欠かす
  • 表す
  • 返す
  • 通す

These are all vocabulary words from the first 10 levels in WK. In those 10 levels, the only exceptions to these trends that I see are (coincidentally both in Level 10):

  • 語る (transitive)
  • 配る (transitive)


Most verb pairs include a word with an ~える sound, like 止める, 当てる, 終える, or 出る for example. These verbs just flip the transitivity of their partner verb.

Also, the two “exceptions” don’t even have partner verbs (as in, there is no intransitive version of those words, unless you count their passive forms).


Great, thank you all very much! I just did my reviews and it worked very well! :relaxed:
This community is really awesome!!





You have the meanings of 上 and 下 backwards. Please check again.

I’m finding it hard to remember 出かける as it has both ARU and ERU.
I remember the video saying something about a “switch”, but I didn’t really understand it.

May you help clarify this?

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出かける is not part of a verb pair at all, I think, so the previous rules mentioned before don’t apply. The rules す/せる = transitive and ある(or maru, karu, taru etc) = intransitive is only for transitive/intransitive verb pair.


That’s confusing… The vocab means “to leave”.
So 出かける is transitive (Be)?

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think of 出かける as “go out”. Like… leave your apartment to go do something in the city type of “go out”. It’s intransitive.

I’m not the greatest with academic explanations of grammar or language stuff but I think of intransitive and transitive as doing something or doing something to something else.

intrasitive - leave (a room perhaps) 出る
transitive - take (something) out 出す - in other words, make something leave

again, not the best explanation but until someone else comes along this is what you got to work with :joy:

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I think they’re good explanations.
The video linked at the top of this thread explained it as Be and Do.


This video is great thanks :slight_smile:

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So I haven’t watched the video yet, but to try to remember あがる versus あげる, I pictured the け/げ as being like hands around something, which you’re doing something to…either lifting or lowering it. I have no idea if that picture makes sense to anyone else but it worked for me!

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just keep messing them up and eventually youll remember


The top response of this thread is usually pretty illuminating for new learners.

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