Notes about Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

I found this little bit of information that might be helpful to you guys too!
Edit: Deleted the categorizations as they’re not really useful-

Intransitive Verbs are verbs that do not require a direct object. The action or state identified by the intransitive verb is only related to the subject of the sentence.


走った (はしった/Ran)
Koichi ran

Transitive Verbs are verbs that require a direct object. They usually express an action that acts upon something or someone indicated by the direct object.

語 (ご / Language)
少し (すこし / A little)
出来る (できる / To be able to)
Koichi can speak a little spanish.

I hope this helps you guys as much as it helped me!


Not a good way to start off the post lol.

Really though, there are plenty of exceptions to these rules. 教わる, 知れる, 黙る, 通じる come to mind for the last example alone. I get the whole “not limited to” part and that you’re not saying they are all that, but I still wouldn’t recommend people relying too much on this.


For some reason this makes me feel funny.

Um. Transitive/intransitive verbs largely exist in pairs. I’m with @Vanilla on this - you can’t say “transitive verbs fall in these categories and intransitive in those”, because most of them come in pairs. To highlight a specific example, you’ve classified “birth/death” as an intransitive category, but 生む (to give birth) is transitive.

Here’s a list:

Bottom line: the only rule you can rely on is that transitive verbs take a direct object and intransitive verbs don’t (and hey, as per the Golden Rule of Japanese - all rules have exceptions, including this one - even this rule has exceptions).


I’ve been sitting here for minutes trying to figure out how to explain all of the issues with the original post, but I can’t figure out a good way to say it… So I’m just going to recommend to people that they ignore the original post in this thread as it contains a lot of incorrect and misleading information.

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I see what you guys mean now, it’s informative. Thank you for correcting me.

IF anyone is interested, Tofugu did a great podcast on trans/intrans verbs a while back. Kristen is very well spoken and versed on the topic, i would recommend listening!

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I’m very interested, would you send me the link?

i actually dont know how to link you to it, i just found it on my podcasts app via my phone. sorry!!

Huh… Well, can you give me the podcast’s episode number or title?

Its literally just called “Transitive and Intransitive Verbs”


I understand that you disagree with me, and I’m the first one to admit the post has its flaws, but there’s also basic respect. By saying that it “contains a lot of incorrect and misleading information” you are certainly making it sound way worse. Are the concepts I wrote about really fundamentally incorrect and misleading?

You’re not even providing helpful insight or something that adds on, you’re just being crass.

Thank you very much @Belthazar and @Cherrykisu!

It doesn’t state any absolutes, but kinda uses that to bounce its way around the miniature Mt. Fuji of exceptions it entails. Sean is a pretty nice guy so I don’t think he was trying to be disrespectful, although it could sound like it depending on what sort of inner voice you had while reading his reply.

Whether or not the verb was intransitive or transitive was for the most part unrelated to the categories. As @Belthazar said, often times they exist in pairs (but not always). Your example of birth actually has a few pairs for that that are taught on WK. 生まれる/生む. 産 can be used instead but I think that’s more scientific.

I’m not getting into this debate because I got to get up for work in 5 hours (or at least I’m using that as my excuse). So if you disagree I will immediately yield. But what I have to say is if a rule is 30% wrong (that’s pretty bad, right?)… but then it is 70% right. I would still consider it a rule of thumb. It is not a law. It is a way to find some order in the chaos.

There was no disrespect intended, but some of the very examples you were using to try to make your point had the opposite transitivity than the one you were trying to demonstrate. You’ve since deleted some of that part, which is good. But you’re still using できる in your main transitive example even though it is intransitive. In case you weren’t aware, (and many other free E–>J dictionaries) indicate if a verb is transitive or intransitive.

Normally I try to give more constructive feedback, but given that I couldn’t figure out how to explain it properly, I at least wanted to warn other users (who may not know much about transitivity) against unknowingly relying on what was in this post. It wasn’t an attack on you, so much as me looking out for the other users.

This kind of thinking is what leads to “I before E except after C” still being taught as a rule in schools, even though it’s correct at best 10% of the time. :stuck_out_tongue:

all caps cause I copy pasted the title, sry

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For these verbs I came up with a weird way of remembering which all started with 止まるvs止める. I basically took the め as meaning Me stopping something in a literal sense, then applied that same thought process to any verb with an え ending. “Does it have e in it? Yes, then its me, thus I’m the one doing it”.

Its worked real well so far.