Japanese Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Japanese Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

transitive verbsYou may or may not have heard these words before, and you may or may not know what they mean. Transitive means that something is being done by someone (or something). AKA, transitive verbs are the ones that you (or someone/something else) has direct influence on. When beginning to learn a language, transitive forms are used since most people talk about things they do/ are doing or things other people are doing. Examples of transitive verbs are: I opened the door, I returned the boy home, I made the cat disappear.

Intransitive means that something happens/ed on it’s own. For example, the door opened, the boy returns home, the cat disappears.

In Japanese, transitive verbs use the particle を with the action (verb) following the particle, and what is being affected by the verb before the particle. For example, when you say that you eat a banana, the banana is what is being affected by the verb, so therefore it proceeds the particle and the verb to eat follows the particle. Some people have a hard time with the verb 紹介します (しょうかいします) where the person you are introducing (to someone) follows the を particle and the person you are introducing someone TO follows the particle に because they are having something done TO them (similar to something being given TO someone with the verbs あげます).

Intransitive verbs use the particle が because there is only a subject and an outcome (verb), so basically something happened. Hajimeru 始める vs hajimaru 始まる (to begin [something] vs. [something] began), I have remembered that hajimaru is the intransitive verb which uses GA because I connected the MA to being similar to GA. Also, “I woke up” would be intransitive because it automatically happened, versus “I woke someone up” which would be transitive because you are doing an action.

I may come back to this article in the future and add some more insights once I formally learn about transitive and intransitive verbs, but for now this will do I think ^_^

I suggest you check out my Japanese Verb Conjugation post lesson here, for more on the Japanese language.

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–Nihon Scope

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How to Understand “Japanese Sentence Structure”

Japanese sentence structure:

Japanese sentence structure can be confusing because in Japanese you can arrange bits of information in various orders within a sentence as long as certain words remain connected to particles. In Japanese, the subject is always either at the beginning of the sentence or is already known and is left out of the sentence. When the subject is declared at the beginning of the sentence, it is followed by either は or が or も depending on whether you are talking about something (は) or answering a question of who/what, or specifying who/what did/had/has/went/came/saw/etc (が) or if the subject also did/had/went/saw/came/etc (も).

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Take the sentence: I came to Japan which in Japanese Is わたしは日本にきました。Which can also be said as 日本にきました with わたしは (the subject) omitted because if you are saying it, the fact that you are the subject is inferred. But if you want to specify who came to Japan, you would say whoever came with the particle が to emphases that it was them who came. The point of the sentence is always at the end, whether it be the verb (what is being done) or an adjective (describing the subject) or a noun (stating what something is).

Now if you wanted to add some additional information to this sentence (any of the 5W’s in English), like who you came with or how you came, or when you came, or why you came, you can include those bits of information anywhere in the sentence as long as every piece remains connected to the correct particle. For example, bits of information such as {「ひとりで」 or 「ともだちと」 or「 かぞくと」} or「(a specific date) に」「(method of transportation) で」「(explanation of why) から」can all be arranged in any order as long as the subject stays at the beginning and the point at the end.

わたし is followed by either は(if you are talking about yourself), or が(if you are the person who did/had/has/was/went/etc.), or も(if you also did/had/went/saw/came/etc.), or と(if you are talking about someone else but you were also included), or に(if you are the recipient of the verb {something was given TO you or said TO you} depending on the sentence. The noun being affected by the verb is always connected to the particle that goes with the verb. I have written a post about verbs with a section about particles used with specific verbs other than the usual verb particle を. So in this sentence 日本 and に have to remain connected, and the sentence will always end with the verb (in this case, adjectives in others).

If you don’t know Hiragana or Katakana or Kanji learn it here for FREE.

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English sentance structure and Japanese sentance structure

Making comparisons in Japanese

The main words used for making comparisons in Japanese are: より and のほが. To best understand, think of the definition of より to mean “compared to”and のほが to mean “more (or in English “er” than)”. Whatever is connected to より is the subject of comparison, and whatever is connected to のほが is what is more (whatever adjective) than.

The sentence アメリカのほがおおきいです。Means that America is bigger. Bigger than what, we don’t necessarily know, but if you were to include 日本より either before or after アメリカのほが, we would know that we are comparing America to Japan because 日本より means “compared to Japan”. So, 日本よりアメリカのほがおおきいです。Or アメリカのほが日本よりおおきいです。Are two different ways to say that compared to Japan, America is bigger (or America is bigger than Japan).

Another example of a comparison sentence using より but not のほが is when you are taking a statement and adding the fact that compared to something else, that statement remains. For example, アメリカはおおきいです。America is big. This general statement is true, and if we add the comparison of Japan for instance, the fact would remain true, so we can add 日本より before or after アメリカは. But if you put 日本より first, it then becomes the subject and therefore アメリカは would change to アメリカが because it is now being emphasized that being compared to Japan, America is what is big, or in other words it is answering the question of what is big compared to Japan. So, 日本よりアメリカがおおきいです。Or アメリカは日本よりおおきいです。

Nihon Scope

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Learn How to Drink for Less in Japan!

The More You Know About Drinking Booze for Cheap in Japan the Better!

Was published here as a guest post, decided to share it here too!

Japan is a mysterious and wondrous place that I believe that everyone should check out at least once throughout their life. The beauty of the island can bring almost a tear to one’s eye. But after seeing the sights of the day, there is a common theme that everyone loves to do in Japan. Go out to eat! Many times the locals will visit a local izakaya, which is similar to a gastropub. You can sit in the midst of the locals while ordering popular dishes like yakisoba, yakitori, okonomiyaki, ramen, sushi or even get some western delicacies like a hamburger (which isn’t the same as you’re used to) or a pizza.

In many of these izakaya’s (and many restaurants), you’ll find an option where you can drink yourself under the table for 90 minutes of non-stop drinks. It’s called nomihodai. It’s a favorite choice for the locals, but it’s something that westerns are anxious to try as they’ve never heard of such a thing, and because of that, you can almost see the cringe in the person’s face who owns the izakaya/restaurant when a group of westerns orders nomihodai. Japanese usually use some restraint when ordering nomihodai (not all mind you), westerns will leave not remembering how they got there.

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Nomihodai usually costs (depending on the location) around ¥1,500 to ¥2,500 yen or around $15 to $25. There is usually different levels of nomihodai you can purchase. There are usually two distinct options; you can get all you can drink shochu highball soda drinks, wine and happoshu beer (or what I like to call fake beer). Then there is usually an option where you can order sake and nama biru, which is draft beer (or what I like to call REAL beer), I would say unless you’re a wine drinker you should take the second option, your liver will thank you.

Many of the times you’ll be required to have a certain amount of people in your group order nomihodai as well as having a minimum food order. So as you may think ordering a nomihodai could be the best bet, you’ll have to factor in multiple people and food order. So if you’re planning on going out with a group and ordering food, this would no doubt be your best bet. But, still, in the end, you’ll quickly put away $30-$50 a person for the night, which honestly is still not too bad considering you’re drowning your liver in lushish alcohol for 120 minutes non-stop WHILE eating.

But for those who don’t have that type of money but still want to have their alcohol kick and go out for the night, there is another trick that even local Japanese people don’t give much thought of, and it’s called pre-game. Well, at least that’s what some Americans here in Japan told me it’s called and they even admitted they don’t do it (but now are). Pre-game drinking is where you go to a コンビニ (convenience store) or a スーパー (supermarket) and purchase your beer or alcohol there first. The difference in price is pretty substantial. When you order a single beer in about any restaurant, a 12 oz glass of beer usually will run you about $5-$8. Where as you can get yourself a 16 oz can of beer from a スーパー (supermarket) for about $2.20 to $3 and about $2.90 to $3.60 at a コンビニ (convenience store).

So you can easily purchase around $10 in liquor and drink one or two of them before entering and then “step out” of the restaurant when you want to crack the next one and down it and go back in. I will never personally open a beer inside their business as I believe that’s stepping over the line, and perhaps this way of drinking for less in Japan might bend people’s ethic muscles a bit. I think it’s fair enough though, and people bring their own cigarettes so why not bring your own beer and step out for a minute? So when you save that extra money, you’ll be able to order more food in the long run, or not have to order as much just to drink while drinking out in Japan. Thus, saving you TONS of money drinking while in Japan.

Nihon Scope

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