Intransitive and transitive verbs

tis VERY late right now, but I’m here worrying over how these darn things work. I KINDA understand it, that’s the good thing! I have it written sloppily in my notes as

transitive verb = to [verb] something, something that is done to something
to raise something (ageru) - please raise the box (please raise the what? the box)
to lower something (sageru)

intransitive verb = to [verb], something that is just done
to rise (agaru) - the sun is rising
to get lower/to fall (sagaru)

is this… accurate? I’m not exactly worried about patterns and how to find transitive/intransitive yet, but there is one thing… Why is ‘to exit’ [出る] intransitive? Is there something I don’t get? You CAN exit something, like ‘He exits’ and ‘He exits the room’. Is it technically used for both?

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Aye, that’s basically accurate. To use the grammar terminology, transitive verbs take an object (the thing that has the verb done to it), while intransitive verbs do not.

“He exits the room” is not transitive, because nothing is being done to the room, only to him. The transitive pair of “to exit” is “to take out” or “to remove”. “He took his sister out of the room” is transitive, because he’s now acting on his sister.

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So for ‘the sun is rising’, that’s intransitive because nothing’s directly being done to the sun, yeah? It’s just… Doing it (I’d use the word passively, but I get that the whole active/passive thing is a whole different thing entirely). It’s something that kinda clicks with me, but also doesn’t in a way.
Hm… So to say ‘He cuts her hair’, because her hair is being directly cut, that’s transitive. Perhaps. I think. Yeah… Grammar sure is fun.


You may have seen it already, but Japanese Ammo does a pretty good job of explaining it clearly.
Here’s the link for you people Transitive vs Intransitive Verbs┃I'm Breaking vs It's Broken - YouTube

Ah, I just read about this in my linguistics textbook the other day xD intransitive verbs have just one noun associated with them… [noun] [verb] is how it goes in english, like “He runs.” transitive verbs have two associated with them… [noun] [verb] [noun], like “He has a dog.” Just saying “He has” makes no sense without context (at least in the context of “having” something, it can be on its own if it’s past tense i guess…). I believe ones that can be either (like “he eats” or “he eats soup”) are called ambitransitive

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出る has a lot of various meanings…for example, to leave, to appear, to attend (an event), to sell, to answer (phone, door), to flow (tears, blood), to graduate.

The transitive verb is 出す. Meaning, to take out, to reveal, to submit, to publish, to send (eg a letter), to serve (eg food)

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The details of 出る were already explained… I would just say don’t fall into the trap of thinking verbs have to be the equivalent transitivity across languages. The transitivity of exit in English literally has nothing to do with the transitivity of 出る in Japanese. Yes, often they will match, but there is no particular reason they have match.

“Understand” is transitive in English, but 分かる is intransitive in Japanese. They get translated as each other, but don’t share the same transitivity.


Yeah, I get that, I know that things aren’t always gonna directly translate and yet 4:30am me last night was really worked up over trying to get it. It’ll probably make a lot more sense when I journey further into the world of Japanese grammar.

I think everyone’s covered what transistivity is, so I’m just going add the following advice:

Be careful not to confuse transitivity with passive/active voice. It’s best to assume they’re unrelated, especially in Japanese, where any combination is often possible.

I’m not sure how much it’s worth taking Japanese advice from 4:30am you. :stuck_out_tongue:

Saw this recently and remembered this post…I think the video explain it well @ around 5:50mins.

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