Is 見返る transitive, intransitive or both?

Wanikani states that 見返る (To Look Back At) is intransitive: " Part of Speech: Intransitive Verb, Godan Verb".

It feels like the verb in that case should be “To look back”, instead of “To look back at”.

Also, 2 of the 3 the example sentences use を:
I don’t have time to look back on the past.

There was a huge crash and I involuntarily looked behind me.


That’s not necessarily indicative of a verb being a transitive verb.

But in this case, my 広辞苑 does list it as transitive.


Thank you for the quick reply, I appreciate it. Would you mind also explaining why the use of を is not necessarily indicative of a verb being transitive? I guess it’s just my limited knowledge of the real definition of transitive and intransitive. I’m going with something like “A verb is transitive if it needs to have a direct object in a grammatically correct sentence” and “A verb is intransitive if it doesn’t”.

Wikipedia uses this definition:
In grammar, an intransitive verb does not allow a direct object. This is distinct from a transitive verb, which takes one or more objects.

I found this in Tae Kim:

The only time you can use the 「を」 particle for intransitive verbs is when a location is the direct object of a motion verb as briefly described in the previous section.

  1. 部屋 出た。
    I left room.

Great, thank you.

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Thats sorta misleading.

The “location” can be a person or thing when you use an intransitive verb with a causative expression or it can also be a time.





Appreciate the extra info on that.

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Yeah, the way I look at it is, in Japanese, transitive doesn’t really mean “takes an object”, but means more like “acts on the object”. Intransitive verbs can sometimes take an object, but the object remains unaffected by the action.

That’s, to my understanding, the difference between 見返す (tr.) and 見返る (intr.) - both take an object, but 見返す has a connotation of the action having some effect on the object (probably a person in that case), whereas 見返る does not.

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