To を, or not to を...

We're almost finished getting through our lectures on 他動詞 and 自動詞.

Hang in there!

In this lecture, we'll see each of the following verbs, which appeared in our last two lessons:

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




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



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



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



And we'll also add an additional pair of verbs:

開ける(あける // to open [something]
開く(あく // to [be] open



It might also be a good idea to check out the meanings of these nouns that will appear in our example sentences below, too:

電気(でんき // electricity; lights
窓(まど // window
財布(さいふ // wallet
スパゲッティ(spaghetti
半分(はんぶん // half
骨(ほね // bone

 



I mentioned this before, but the object of a 他動詞 (たどうし // transitive verb) gets marked by the particle , like so:

電気消しました。
でんき を けしました。
I turned off the lights.
Literally: “lights / electricity + を + extinguished / turned off.”
Note: Maybe this goes without saying, but depending on the context, we might say "He," "She," etc. instead of "I" in the translation.



↑ を!

In many cases, though — and especially in informal spoken language — this particle gets dropped:

電気消した。
でんき けした。
I turned off the lights.
Literally: “lights / electricity + extinguished / turned off.”



↑ No を!

In fact, in casual speech, you pretty much never need to use .

That said, it's not necessarily wrong if you say something like:

電気消した。
でんき を けした。
I turned off the lights.
Literally: “lights / electricity + を + extinguished / turned off.”



I doubt you'll hear people using in casual speech all that often, but, yeah, it's possible.

 



Something similar happens with 自動詞 (じどうし // intransitive verbs).

Since the verb does not take an object, we never have with a 自動詞.

Instead, we simply have a subject that is performing a given action, and this subject may be marked by the subject-marking particle

電気消えました。
でんき が きえました。
The lights turned off.
Literally: “lights / electricity + が + went out / disappeared.”



It is also possible to drop the particle in speech, especially informal speech:

電気消えた。
でんき きえた。
The lights turned off.
Literally: “lights / electricity + went out / disappeared.”



That said, it's not wrong to say:

電気消えた。
でんき が きえた。
The lights turned off.
Literally: “lights / electricity + が + went out / disappeared.”



In my personal experience, dropping in casual speech is not quite as common as dropping in casual speech. Still pretty common, though.

 



Drill Time

Maybe read through the following examples a few times, noting (1) the difference between 他動詞 and 自動詞, (2) the formality of each sentence, and (3) the particles appearing or getting dropped.

Have fun...

他動詞、Formal、を:
開けてください。
まど を あけて ください。
Please open the window.
Literally: “window + を + open (and) + please.”



他動詞、Casual、No を:
窓開けて。
まど あけて。
Open the window. // Will you open the window?
Literally: “window + open (and).”



自動詞、Formal、が:
開いています。
まど が あいています。
The window is open.
Literally: “window + が + is being open.”



自動詞、Casual、No が:
窓開いてる。
まど あいてる。
The window’s open.
Literally: “window + is being open.”


 



他動詞、Formal、を:
財布落としました!
さいふ を おとしました!
I lost my wallet!
Literally: “wallet + を + dropped / lost!”



他動詞、Casual、No を:
財布落とした!
さいふ おとした!
I lost my wallet!
Literally: “wallet + dropped / lost!”



自動詞、Formal、が:
財布落ちています。
さいふ が おちています。
There is a wallet on the ground.
Literally: “wallet + が + is falling (i.e. has been dropped).”



自動詞、Casual、が:
財布が落ちてる。
さいふ が おちてる。
There’s a wallet on the ground.
Literally: “wallet + が + is falling (i.e. has been dropped).”


 



他動詞、Formal、を:
スパゲッティを半分に折ってください。
スパゲッティ を はんぶん に おって ください。
Please break the spaghetti in half.
Literally: “spaghetti + を + half + に + break (and) + please.”



他動詞、Casual、No を:
スパゲッティ半分に折って。
スパゲッティ はんぶん に おって。
Break the spaghetti in half.
Literally: “spaghetti + half + に + break (and).”



自動詞、Formal、が:
骨が折れました。
ほね が おれました。
I broke a bone. // My bone broke.
Literally: “bone + が + broke.”



自動詞、Casual、No が:
骨折れた。
ほね おれた。
I broke a bone. // My bone broke.
Literally: “bone + broke.”


 



Don't worry if all of this still seems confusing.

You don't have to be a master of all of this transitive/intransitive verb and を/が particle stuff... yet...

For now, we just need to be aware of it.



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