Understanding the Transitivity of す-Verbs

I am currently learning the verb 回す (まわす), which means “to turn something”. The meaning explanation uses a mnemoic to remember the meaning (with “Sue”).

Moreover, I’ve learned that verbs ending with す are typically transitive verbs. This got me thinking: Wouldn’t it be beneficial to mention this rule alongside the mnemonic? It could save us from having to memorize individual mnemonics for every す-verb, especially when there are similar る-verbs involved.

By understanding that す-verbs are transitive, it becomes easier to predict their usage and remember their meanings. Plus, it’s a rule that applies to many other verb vocabularies, simplifying the learning process.

Do you think there’s a reason why this rule isn’t mentioned here? Or do you agree that it could be helpful to include it in the lessons?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and insights on this!


I think Tofugu are perhaps not fond of the “look for transitive/intransitive verb patterns” approach: this tofugu article has a section “Aren’t There Simple Patterns to Memorize Pairs?” that argues against it. “す is transitive” is a better one than most (but watch out for 暮らす), but things get tricky with other patterns. Though you could pretty solidly argue that “learn transitivity by dealing with the verbs in context” doesn’t really gel with having them be WK vocab :slight_smile: (I used the “learn in context” approach myself.)