Resource on verbs/particles combinations?

Hi there! I found a couple of threads asking for this but with no signficant answers. While I agree that particles are usually used with nouns and I’m certainly going to study how to use them, it would be useful to have a reference, for instance for which verbs use を vs に when referring to a target.

The page below is really great I found, but even they agree that

The difficult point here is how to identify the proper particle between direct objects and targets (indirect objects), especially when there is only one object. Some say that you need to judge it based on whether objects are direct or indirect. However, that border is not completely defined. Thus, you need to memorize the combinations with verbs respectively.

For this it would be helpful to have a list of the combinations… Any help is appreciated!


Not sure if this is helpful but the book Common Japanese Collocations is a great reference for word pairings in general. The book is organized by themes which is typically noun based but just about every examples include verbs pairing too.


The way that page describes things in general seems weird to me (focusing on what types of nouns take what particles instead of what verbs…??) but I particularly disagree with the point you quoted:

It is based on direct and indirect objects - or rather, transitivity - in the examples they show. 子供に会う = 会う is intransitive, so に. 肩を叩く = 叩く is transitive, so を. That is how you know what to use. Knowing the transitivity gets you by in the majority of cases, as long as you also understand the various conjugations that a verb can undertake.

There are other things the particles are used for. Or perhaps, different particles that look the same. That’s where knowing に as a destinstion particle (東京に行く), and を as a passing-through particle (橋を渡る), for example, is useful. But that’s not about the types of ‘objects’ I think you’re talking about, where transitivity rules the day.

Edit: getting rid of the last part of my post. I see how they classified it now. It’s still weird to me, but whatever.

Oof, yeah. That one’s just wrong. It’s weird that they describe it like that when they literally just explained を-as-“through” in the previous section.

I took a closer read through and realized they were actually comparing things like 上を見る and 右に曲がる, not including 橋を渡る type stuff ar all, so it actually does make sense. It’s just so different from how I typically think about particle usage that I misinterpreted what they said without giving them the benefit of the doubt.

I find the way it’s presented confusing, but that might just be because of how I’m used to looking at things.

Doesn’t it say “between direct objects and indirect objects?” Not “between objects and verbs?”

EDIT: Ah, didn’t see the part where they said “when there is only one object”

Or are they just talking about ambiguous situations where there are things that can take either, so transitivity basically wouldn’t play into it anyway.

The way I read it, they’re saying that transitivity isn’t predictive enough, so you have to throw your hands up an learn verb-by-verb.

Well, what’s the practical difference between how they worded it and having to learn that 会う is intransitive individually even though its translation is transitive in English? People have to be told that explicitly (and we see lots of を会う examples from beginners).

I thought about the same thing, but I’d say mostly because it makes it sound (to me!) like you can’t discern the pattern. You do have to learn the transitivity of each word individually, but I guess it just sounds a lot more nebulous the way they present it.

Looking again at:

The difficult point here is how to identify the proper particle between direct objects and targets (indirect objects), especially when there is only one object. Some say that you need to judge it based on whether objects are direct or indirect. However, that border is not completely defined. Thus, you need to memorize the combinations with verbs respectively.

Especially with the example sentences they then list (which there’s not easy way to post here), it feels to me like they’re saying there’s no real pattern to discern at all, since direct and indirect objects are not completely defined. That just… doesn’t jive with me? If you can just know that there are transitive and intransitive verbs, and then sort verbs into those two categories, it’s fine. You don’t need to treat each verb as an individual (aside from sorting it), and you don’t need to contemplate whether an object is direct or indirect (because the verb itself dictates that, not the object itself). Like, the very suggestion that you could distinguish the verb type by identifying the type of object is exactly backwards. They do reject that idea, but bringing it up at all throws me for a loop.

I just really don’t like how they present things. But whatever works.

That’s what’s confusing me. If the meet in “I met him” is transitive in English but 会う in 「彼に会った」 is intransitive… what’s going on grammatically?

Well, it might help to contrast あう with its transitive counterpart, あわせる, even though the “meet” version of あう doesn’t relate to あわせる.

あう is when two things come together
あわせる is when two things are put together by someone or something

So really 会う can be seen to mean that you joined up with the other person, which has the proper intransitive feel.

The fact that we use different grammar for a similar situation in English is just a fact of life that you have to deal with, I suppose.


Thanks everyone for your take on this, even though as suspected this resource doesn’t exist. I understand your answer of “just learn if it’s transitive/intransitive”, but unfortunately my brain just doesn’t work that way, and it’s infinitely harder for me to retain this kind of abstract information than “sounds=meaning” . So much easier to learn “に会う=to meet so and so” than “会う=intransitive”. Same for godan/ichidan and no/na/I adjectives. On that note, is there a script that has the na or no particle appear as part of the adjective as you learn it? Such as “綺麗な= pretty” ? That would make my life so much easier.

Nice recommendation. I’m currently reading that book :smiley:

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I couldn’t speak to the scripts, but wanikani does tell you in the description if it’s a na-adjective etc or whatever. That might not be helpful enough for you though, I don’t know.
Part of this I’d call things you just leaen through exposure though. Eventually 綺麗の will ‘sound wrong.’

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Yeah, I know it does but it would be easier for me to retain which are “i” and “na/no” if I actually saw the “na/no” attached to the adjective each time I come to them… Then I would instantly know how to use them in speech (precisely because it will “sound” right) instead of having to ask myself “is it a na or i adjective”? Just how my visual/auditory brain works.

If it’s just an issue of distinguishing between adjectives, and not na-adjectives and nouns, then that’s relatively easy. い adjectives have an い 送り仮名.

They can also have し out there too because しい-adjectives used to be a thing.

Na-adjectives… don’t.

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Duh. LOL! For some reason I thought some na-adjectives ended with い, but now I realize I forgot half of that rule, as in they do because the kanji reading ends in the sound い… Ok, time to reset (and rest) my brain lol. Thank you for pointing this out kindly :slight_smile:

嫌い ends in い without a kanji, but it’s still a na-adjective. You just have to memorize the exceptions.


Yeah. Although, 嫌い also seems to have developed from 嫌う, so there’s that.

Either way, the big thing is that na-adjectives don’t conjugate. Most of them have nothing to conjugate, because they don’t have an (external) い

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True, which also generally expands to confusing the stem of verbs ending in う with い-adjectives.

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