Verbs. To vs to be and ku verbs

Okay verbs are driving me crazy. To mix vs to be mixed. No the answer is to find vs to be found, even though I found it is used in the story. Ahh!

Is there any way to know which it is going to be besides memorizing it. For a while I seemed like all ru verbs were to be. However that is turning up to not be the case over and over. So at this point I just feel frustrated because I hate to think it is all guessing there must be a way for Japanese people to know whether the verb is transitive or intransitive.

All ku verbs. What is up with those. Not every words that ends in ku is a verb. For example chikaku is only near not to near. But tsuku means to be attached. Why. Is there a way to know.

At this point, I don’t want to guess anymore, I want to know what I am doing, I have too many words and have not burned any yet to go into rounds guessing,

All help is loved.


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The answer is yes, but only sometimes. What you’re describing is called verb pairs. One verb in the pair is transitive (他動詞, takes a direct object) and the other is intransitive (自動詞, does not take a direct object).

Here are a couple of the pages I have bookmarked explaining the patterns:

Well sure, it’s called being fluent. There are plenty of verbs that don’t have patterns and presumably natives still use them correctly the vast majority of the time. Why do you “drop a ball” and not “fall a ball”? Because you know that “drop” is transitive and “fall” is intransitive. Unfortunately there will still be some aspect of memorization and learning over time from usage.

The best way to get better at this is to learn grammar. 近い is an い-adjective. You turn an い-adjective into an adverb by changing い to く, so it becomes 近く. (It happens that 近く has taken on extra meaning, but the general point still applies).

This happens in other ways too. Not every word ending in い is an い-adjective. There are many that are actually verb stems from verbs that end in う. For example, 戦い, 違い, 笑い, 誓い, and many more.


Yeah, 近く, and some other words in the same conjugation, can be used as nouns, but it’s a fairly limited group.


Yeah, it’s native-speaker intuition. Just like how you, hopefully, know when to use raise vs rise. You don’t rise a flag, you raise it. A balloon does not raise into the air it rises into the air.


Another rule you can use: when you have verb pairs like 止まる vs 止める, where there is an a/e difference, the a version is the intransitive, and the e version is the transitive.


Also, if one of the verbs in the pair ends in す or せる, that’s the transitive one.


This was the kind of little tricks I was looking for, something to bandage the problem until I get a tad better and study more conjugation, thanks!

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I had noticed that with a handful of verb pairs, and wondered if it was a reliable rule, or just a low-level coincidence.

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It’s based on words I came across so far, and none of them were exceptions.

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