Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 1: 16/18


Done through action vs. occurring on its own

する and なる can also be thought of as a transitive-intransitive pair



To drop・To fall

To attach・To be attached

To find・To be found

To lower・To be lowered


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About 他動詞・自動詞

The two most fundamental divisions that can be made with Japanese verbs are transitive verbs - the subject is moving/acting upon something else, and intransitive verbs - the subject themself is moving/acting. Sometimes these terms are simplified even further to 'other-move' (transitive), and 'self-move' (intransitive).
Basically, this is the difference between verbs that require an object marked with (transitive verbs), and those that only require , to show that the subject itself is moving (intransitive).
In Japanese, there are many transitive/intransitive pairs of verbs, and these will need to be memorized.
  • ローソク()
    To put out a candle.
  • (かぜ)ローソク()
    For a candle to be put out by the wind.
  • ()からバナナ​​()
    The banana fell from the tree.
  • ()からバナナ()
    To drop a banana from a tree.
Fun Fact
In Japanese, the two ways in which all verbs can be described are an act/motion (動作(どうさ)), and an act/motion upon something (作用(さよう)).
Fun Fact
Although they are not traditionally grouped this way, する and なる may also be thought of as a transitive/intransitive pair. This is due to する always implying that something is being controlled (acted upon), while なる always implies that something happens on its own, or cannot be controlled.
  • 来年(らいねん)からアメリカ()ことにした
    From next year I am going to live in America. (I have decided to live in America starting next year)
  • 来年(らいねん)からアメリカ()ことになる
    From next year I am going to live in America. (I will be living in America starting next year due to work/school/family matters beyond my direct control)




    I started the match • The match started.


    I found the lost item・The lost item was found.


    I gathered bugs. The bugs gathered.


    I found the bag that I had been looking for.


    The criminal has been found.

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他動詞・自動詞 – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (24 in total)

  • EdBunpro


    Every time that thread gets linked I feel chills run up my spine

  • Superpnut


    First thing first this grammar point should have a giant warning label that says hard on it.

    I’ve spent about an hour trying to wrap my head around what a transitive and intransitive verb is but honestly I couldn’t even give a bad explanation if you put a gun to my head. But the reviews themselves aren’t that bad it’s just which one makes sense. But I have a question on a review question I got and I don’t even know if it pertains to shit topic but I got it while cramming this lesson.

  • nekoyama


    With 見つける the thing that is found would be the object marked with を, so that’s why the が points at 見つかる where the subject is what’s found (and there is no object).

    But you have the English translation off in the screenshot. I guess without that information, it is actually ambiguous after all. The が only helps if you know that the 犯人 is supposed to be what’s being caught (found).

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