To disconnect/to be disconnected, etc

I’m assuming that these are grammar related, so I kind of wish WK did a better job of explaining the non-kanji part of some of the vocabulary, because occasionally later on I’ll find a different kanji with similar vocab and figure it out, but I’m still in early stages and in the meantime it’s really frustrating to end up with leeches because of these. Does anyone have any suggestions?

The one currently haunting me perpetually is:

外す- to disconnect
外れる - to be disconnected

but also things like this keep coming back for me too
生える - to grow
生まれる - to be born

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Short answer, there are patterns to the transitive/intransitive pairs, but they’re not totally predictable. If you memorize enough of them the patterns kind of start to become clear. (And when reading sentences you can often tell by context anyway.)


Eventually through repetition you’ll instantly know what they are. A tip for these:

外す The す doesn’t have the power plug connected to the end of the tail. That’s because it was time to disconnect it.

外れる The る has the power plug connected at the end of the tail. Well, since it’s still connected, it is to be disconnected soon.

Just create your own little stories for when you keep getting stuff wrong. Eventually they will click.

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I love CureDolly’s video about this. Her mnemonics have helped me over the years :slight_smile:


I need to get back on working through these videos, thanks for pointing me to the right one for this issue :slight_smile:


Can you explain to me what transitive means like I’m a child.

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A transitive verb is where an action is done to something. An intransitive verb is where only the subject does the action and the action is not done to something else.

So we’re talking about “[subject] disconnects something” being transitive, because the a subject performed the action of disconnecting something on another thing, and “something disconnects” is intransitive, because the act of disconnecting occurs without any mention of a party acting on it.

He disconnected the cable - transitive, he acted on the cable
The line disconnected - intransitive, the line’s connection came undone but no one acted on it directly


Oh okay thank you!

I felt enlightened the first time I saw this video. So useful!

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