(In)transitive Verbs, Part II

In the last lecture, I bombarded you with a bunch of 他動詞 (たどうし // transitive verbs) and 自動詞 (じどうし // intransitive verbs):

他動詞(たどうし // transitive verb
自動詞(じどうし // intransitive verb

助ける(たすける // to save [someone]
助かる(たすかる // to be saved

倒す(たおす // to defeat; to knock over; to topple
倒れる(たおれる // to fall over; to pass out

落とす(おとす // to drop; to lose
落ちる(おちる // to fall

汚す(よごす // to get [something] dirty
汚れる(よごれる // to get dirty; to become dirty

直す(なおす // to fix
直る(なおる // to be fixed

始める(はじめる // to start [something]
始まる(はじまる // to start

決める(きめる // to decide
決まる(きまる // to be decided

消す(けす // to turn off; to extinguish
消える(きえる // to disappear; to go away

入れる(いれる // to insert
入る(はいる // to enter

増やす(ふやす // to increase [something]
増える(ふえる // to increase

焼く(やく // to cook; to grill
焼ける(やける // to be cooked

割る(わる // to break [something]; to crack [something]; to smash [something]
割れる(われる // to break; to crack; to smash

折る(おる // to break [something]; to fracture [something]
折れる(おれる // to break; to fracture

↑ Now, if I were to introduce an example sentence and explanation for each and every one of those words, I think we all might fall asleep and/or hate life by the end of this lecture.

Instead, I'll explain the differences between the 他動詞 and 自動詞 using English.

I'll put verbs in bold text and highlight direct objects along the way...

If you save a damsel in distress, you 助ける (たすける) her.
If you are the damsel getting saved, then that's 助かる (たすかる).

If you defeat your arch nemesis in battle, you 倒す (たおす) him.
But if a tree gets hit by extremely high winds in a typhoon, it might fall over, or 倒れる (たおれる).

When you drop your wallet while rummaging through your purse, you 落とす (おとす) it.
When leaves fall from a tree they 落ちる (おちる).

If you walk into the house with muddy shoes, you will get the carpet dirty, or 汚す (よごす) it.
And if you simply never clean your carpet, eventually it will get dirty, 汚れる (よごれる).

Sometimes my parents ask me to fix their computer, 直す (なおす).
If I'm lucky, though, their computer will start working properly on its own, 直る (なおる), without me having to do anything.

Your teacher might not wait for all of the students before starting his lesson, 始める (はじめる).
And a basketball game starts at a set time, 始まる (はじまる).

If you're a Type A person, you might want to decide, 決める (きめる), the entire itinerary for your upcoming family trip all by yourself.
And once the itinerary is decided, 決まる (きまる), there's no changing it.

You can extinguish a candle before you go to bed, 消す (けす).
Or you can just let the flame die away, 消える (きえる).

You can put your dog into her crate, 入れる (いれる).
But it's better if you get her to go in on her own, 入る (はいる).

It's pretty awesome if your parents increase your allowance, 増やす (ふやす).
And hopefully your savings will naturally increase, 増える (ふえる), over time.

You'll be more popular at BBQ's if you know how to cook a steak, 焼く (やく).
But be sure that your food is cooked, 焼ける (やける), before you eat it.

If you crack or break your neighbor's window with a baseball, 割る (わる) then run!
If you're lucky, he'll think that it cracked or broke on its own, 割れる (われる).

You'd have to be really strong to snap a tree in two, 折る (おる).
But many trees snap during heavy winds, 折れる (おれる).

What do you think? Are you starting to get a feel for how 他動詞 (たどうし) and 自動詞 (じどうし) differ?

If not, then, like I said before, maybe just don't worry about them too much. I learned to differentiate them just be seeing them again and again in different contexts.

We have one more lecture on 他動詞 and 自動詞.

Get excited!

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