karanguni: (Default)
K ([personal profile] karanguni) wrote2017-03-01 11:00 pm
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Japanese 103.5


  • Learn the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs
  • Get familiar with the most common ones
  • Practice hiragana and basic kanji using those

So, I've been wildly derelict in these lessons because life ate me whole, but I'm determined not to go another couple of weeks without. So in the meantime, here's a short lesson!

Transitive versus Intransitive

I'm not a huge fan of going into grammatical details in these posts, but there's no getting around transitivity with Japanese. Here's a PDF that offers an explanation, but the gist of it:

Transitive verbs have a direct object that is acted on. Intransitive verbs have just a subject.

Transitive: (Someone) opened the door - (だれかが)ドアを開けた
Intransitive: The door opened - ドアが開いた

Once you go through a few examples, it's easy to get the hang on. Transitivity indicates some sort of direct action. Intransitivity describes state.

Transitive verbs take the particle を. Intransitive verbs take が (general actions) or に (actions that have directionality)

パンを食べる Eat bread
ペンを買う Buy a pen
人を見る See a person


ドアが開く The door opens
人が見える A person can be seen

スーパーに行く Go to the supermarket
ここに来る Come here

Common Examples

A lot of verbs are innately either solely transitive or solely intransitive.

Transitive: 飲む・食べる・買う. It would be pretty hard to do these without a direct object.
Intransitive: 行く・来る・死ぬ

The worst of the confusion will come from remembering verbs that have distinct transitive and intransitive forms. But fear not! 90% of the time, transitive verbs have an え noise somewhere in there.

Practice: Intransitive・Transitive

見える (to be visible)・見る(to see) <-- Exception
立つ・立てる (The intransitive form is often use for something like, say, a building)
入る(to enter)・入れる(to insert)
出る(to leave/exit)・出す(to take out/remove)

Find some more pairs of your own and practice.

Practice: Translate

Try translating these, switching between formal and informal, then negative and non-negative to practice your verb forms.

() indicates a part of speech that doesn't need to be explicitly translated in the Japanese

* The door opened
* I opened the door

彼(かれ) = he
財布(さいふ) = wallet

* He took out (his) wallet

紙(かみ) = paper
私(わたし) = I/me/myself/mine

* I will cut (some) paper

Verb hint: 倒(たお)・?
木(き) = tree

* The tree fell over

* I stood up
chagrined: Marvel comics: zombie!Spider-Man, holding playing cards, saying "Brains?" (brains?)

[personal profile] chagrined 2017-03-08 11:45 pm (UTC)(link)
ha, COINCIDENTALLY ENOUGH i just got back to the section in my book that first introduces transitive/intransitive verbs. XD i remembered seeing your post before and was like OH HEY I SHOULD GO BACK AND COMMENT ON THAT!

let me say. i h8 them. XD XD XD

it's not the transitive vs intransitive thing... i'm okay with that. sometimes i do get a little mixed up but like, yeah i'm familiar with that as a grammar point so it's okay. but what annoys me is having to learn the different forms for each of them hahaha. my book just throws like 22 transitive/intransitive verb pairs or something at me in a table and is like "ok now you've fully memorized them all right?" XD XD at least there are SOME general patterns that are often followed btwn the two but then there are exceptions to those patterns too haha. like right, as you mention, intransitive verbs that end in -aru have a transitive pair that ends in -eru but then there are some intransitive ones that end in -eru too just to fuck with me haha. at least the transitive pairs of all of THOSE ones (in this table, i've got 出る・消える・ねる・こわれる) end in -su so... that's helpful i guess... and only intransitive ones in this table end in -ku altho i def wouldn't stake my life on extending that as a general rule LMAO. i probably just need more practice with ALL OF THEM to actually learn them all, lol.