Transitive - Intransitive Verbs - Grammar Discussion

Done through action vs. occuring on its own.

Structure
とす ・落 ちる → To drop・To fall
ける ・つ → To attach・To be attached

Transitive verbs are verbs that should be used with を (direct object marker), which indicates the object with which the verb “operates”
[“I drop the battery” - the operation is “dropping” and the object of the operation is “battery”. “I attach a ribbon.”]

Intransitive verbs do not need an object (marked by を) and describe the action someone/something is subjected to (without an agent)
[“The battery falls (by itself).” or “The ribbon is attached.”]

[There are some exceptions.]

View on Bunpro

1 Like

Hi, I have a question about this question:

Would this not be more accurately translated using the passive tense? If using as an intransitive verb, shouldn’t there be the absence of an object doing the action (i.e., the police)? So to be more accurate, the sentence should be expressed as, “the thief was caught”?

Hoping someone can set me straight. Thanks!

3 Likes

Hey and sorry for the late answer :bowing_man:

You are right! The sentence has been fixed!

Thank you for the feedback, and we are really sorry for the inconvenience :bowing_man:

4 Likes

No worries! Thanks for letting me know!

3 Likes

How are you supposed to know which is intransitive/transitive, and how do you make intransitive/transitive verbs? Just curious…

3 Likes

There’s a bit of helpful info here – don’t have to watch the video (which many find off-putting) as the article has some pretty good concise tips.

I also struggle with transitive and intransitive pairing but I figure it’s something that will probably become more natural as I consume more material. Is learning via osmosis a great study plan? Not sure but here I am praying that it is :pray:

2 Likes

Hi!

I’ve recently added the “Transitive - Intransitive Verbs” grammar point to my reviews, and I’m constantly failing this point because of how these questions work: I’m expected to already know the “other” verb already.

Most tips I’ve seen around the internet about guessing which verb transitive and which is intransitive, are based on seeing both together…it’s harder to guess based on a single verb.

So in the reviews for this grammar point, if I don’t already know the other verb then I usually fail – even though I do generally understand how to use transitive and intransitive verbs, and I can sometimes recognise which is which if I see the two together.

What is the best way to go about making proper progress on this grammar point? It is something I would like to work on, but it just doesn’t feel helpful in its current state.
I’ve seen a couple other threads on this forum on the same topic without a lot of input…


2 Likes

I am not a fan of the way the transitive/intransitive pairs grammar point works. There are a couple of issues.

First, and I think this has been mentioned before, is that the paradigm is different to the way much of Bunpro works. A verb is presented that is not actually part of the answer.

Second, and for me this is the bigger issue, is that it is not really a grammar question, but more of a vocabulary question since it relies on the user having already studied the particular pair presented in the question. Some have suggested providing both the transitive and intransitive verbs, which is better, but it would still essentially be a vocabulary problem. The user would still have had to study both verbs.

The only way I can think to make it a purely grammatical question is to provide the user both the transitive and intransitive verbs, and tell them which is which. Obviously, in this situation, there wouldn’t be a hint as to which one should be used in the sentence. This way, the user has to read the sentence and use context clues to determine which verb completes it. Here is an example of what I am trying to convey:

ずっと探していたカバンを ________。
[見つける(trans.)・見つかる(intrans.)]
I found the bag I was looking for.

In this sentence, the answer has to be 見つけた because bag is a direct object. This does mean that some of the current example sentences aren’t sufficient since the sentences need to have enough context in them to make it clear which is the correct verb to use.

3 Likes

I like the idea! :star_struck:

1 Like

@skymaiden, @seanblue, and @JT421 Thank you all for your feedback on transitive and intransitive verbs. I have updated the Meaning page to include more examples and information about transitive/intransitive verbs and have highlighted and separated transitive and intransitive verbs for better readability. In example sentences, transitive and intransitive verbs are more clearly labeled. Review questions now display both the transitive and intransitive verbs, so now all you need to do is pick the correct one and conjugate. If you type an intransitive verb when a transitive verb is expected, you will get a hint. Cheers!

4 Likes