第220課: Intransitive & Transitive: Part II

In this second lesson on verbs with both intransitive and transitive usages, we’ll continue to uncover peculiarities in Japanese at the individual word basis. 

巻く, 運ぶ, 吹く, 催す, 結ぶ, & 頼る


巻く can be used to “to wind/coil/etc.” as an intransitive or a transitive verb. Its intransitive usage is not that common, and it is usually rephrased out of the sentence, often with 巻き付く.

1. (おも)いがけないほど(うず)(が)()いている。
The whirlpool is swirling beyond expectation.
It is whirling beyond expectation. (Without が).

2. 上空(じょうくう)(くも)(うず)(を)()いている。
The clouds in the sky above are swirling in a whirlpool.

3. (くすり)()って包帯(ほうたい)()いてください。
Please apply the medicine and wind a bandage (around the wound).

4. くるりと()いた(はり)のような(なが)(くち)特徴(とくちょう)です。
It’s long and completely wrapped up mouth, which is akin to a needle, is its trait.

5. (へび)がとぐろを()いている。
The snake has coiled itself up.

Spelling Note: とぐろ may also be spelled as 蜷局.

6. (ほそ)いツルが()(き())いている。
The slender vines are twined around.

Spelling Note: ツル may also be spelled as 蔓.

7. (しろ)(しろ)(けむり)に{(つつ)まれている・(かこ)まれている・()かれている}。
The castle is enveloped by white smoke.

蒔く, 播く, & 撒く

There are three more まく that need to be addressed. All three are solely transitive verbs.

蒔く: Used to mean “to plant/sow/seed.”
播く: Interchangeable with 蒔く.
撒く: Used to mean “to scatter.” It may also be used in a figurative sense such as in “to spread (rumors).”

8. 野菜(やさい)(たね)を{()()いた}のに、()()ません。
Even though I’ve sowed the vegetable seeds, they haven’t sprouted.

9. ベランダや玄関先(げんかんさき)だけに(まめ)()いたとしても、きちんと回収(かいしゅう)することは必要(ひつよう)です。
Even if you’ve only scattered beans on your veranda and at your front door, it is necessary that you properly retrieve them.

Cultural Note: This is a reference to cleanup efforts after having scattered beans as part of commemorating 節分 (the last day of winter in the traditional Japanese calendar).

10. (わる)(うわさ)()()らしている(ひと)も、あまり信用(しんよう)されていないんでしょう。
The people spreading awful rumors are also likely not all that trusted either.

11. うちの(ねこ)はほぼ毎日(まいにち)(あそ)びでトイレ(の)(すな)()()らしてしまいます。
My cat scatters the sand in its litter box out of play almost every day.


As an intransitive verb, 運ぶ means “to proceed/to go (well),” but it is far more commonly used as a transitive verb to mean “to carry/transport.”

12. 植物(しょくぶつ)(おお)くは、(たね)(つく)るために花粉(かふん)(かぜ)(はこ)ばなければなりません。
A lot of plants must carry their pollen via the wind to create their seeds.

13. 物事(ものごと)がうまく{いっている・(はこ)んでいる}ときにも油断(ゆだん)(を)してはいけない。
You also mustn’t be careless when things are going well.

14. 成果(せいか)()ているからといって、人生(じんせい)がうまく{いっている・(はこ)んでいる}とは(かぎ)らない。
Just because one is making results, it isn’t necessarily the case that life is going well.

15. (すべ)てがうまく{いっている・(はこ)んでいる}わけではありませんが、(おお)きな失敗(しっぱい)もしていません。
It’s not the case that everything is going well, but I’m also not making any great failures.

As the following example sentence demonstrates, 運ぶ can also be used to mean “to carry out.” However, the verb 進める is far more common in this regard.

16. 対等(たいとう)交渉(こうしょう)を{(すす)める・(はこ)ぶ}ことは困難(こんなん)です。
Carrying out negotiations equally is difficult.

17. 本日(ほんじつ)作業(さぎょう)をもちまして一旦中断(いったんちゅうだん)(はこ)びとさせていただきます。
We will temporarily suspend progress as of today’s work.

Grammar Note: As a noun, 運び far more frequently is used to mean “progress” than its verbal form 運ぶ.

Fuku 吹く

The verb 吹く can be used as both an intransitive and a transitive verb, but as a transitive verb, it is rather restricted. For one, the subject never acts out of its own volition. This is just like what was the case with ひらく and the meaning “to bloom.”

18. 部屋(へや)(すみ)から微風(そよかぜ)()いてきた。
A breeze blew in from the corner of the room.

Reading Note: In literature, 微風 may seldom be read as びふう.

19. (よる)口笛(くちぶえ)()いてはいけない。
You mustn’t whistle at night.

20. カモメは、(うみ)から()上昇気流(じょうしょうきりゅう)()って()びます。
Seagulls fly by riding the updrafts that blow from the sea.

Spelling Note: カモメ may also be spelled as 鴎・鷗. The former variant is an unofficial abbreviation that has become widely used.

When used to mean “to bud,” 吹くcan never be used in the passive. This is largely due to the absence of volition plants have in budding. It's also important to note that the verb 芽吹く, which has吹く in it, typically replaces 吹く for this nuance.

21a. 木々(きぎ)()()(はじ)めた。
21b. 木々(きぎ)芽吹(めぶ)(はじ)めた。
21c. 芽が木々(きぎ)によって()かれた。X
The trees have begun to bud.

22. 突然(とつぜん)(なべ)()(こぼ)れて、熱湯(ねっとう)(あし)()かって火傷(やけど)をしてしまいました。
Suddenly, the stew boiled over and my leg got burned by boiling water.

Word Note: Just as in English, a pot for stew can be used to refer to the stew itself.

There are two other verbs that are also ふく. Both are purely transitive and do not have the same grammatical constraints as 吹く・噴く above.

23. ()()らしたハンカチで()く。
To wipe one’s hand(s) with a wettened handkerchief.

24. 犬が顔を拭かれて怒ってしまった。
The dog got angry from having its face wiped.

25. (かわら)屋根(やね)()きました。
I thatched the roof with tile.

26. (くさ)()かれた部分(ぶぶん)()()ばされた。
The parts thatched with grass were blown off.


When you open up a dictionary, the first meaning of 催す that you will find is “to hold (a ceremony).” However, instances like 宴を催す (to hold a banquet) are rare and far too literary. Although the verb itself is usually only used in the written language, its most important meaning is “to feel (a physical sensation.” In that sense, it can be used as either an intransitive or a transitive verb, and although が and を appear seemingly interchangeable, the use of が is disappearing.

27. (すこ)眠気(ねむけ){が・を}(もよお)してから、安定剤(あんていざい)()む。
To take a stabilizer after showing signs of some drowsiness.

28. ビールで尿意(にょうい){が・を}(もよお)すのはアルコールに利尿作用(りにょうさよう)があるためです。
Having the urge to urinate from bear is due to the diuretic effect of alcohol.

29. 意識(いしき)朦朧(もうろう)とし、()(){が・を}(もよお)す。
To feel nauseated while in a hazy state.

30. 浣腸(かんちょう)(を)して便意(べんい){が・を}(もよお)す。
To feel a bowel movement from taking an enema.


結ぶ is usually used as a transitive verb meaning “to tie/link.” As an intransitive verb, it can be used to mean “to bear (fruit)” or for dew to coagulate, but other verbs typically replace it.

31. (くさ)()(つゆ)が{()いている・付着(ふちゃく)している・(むす)んでいる}。
Dew has attached/condensed onto the grass leaves.

32. 努力(どりょく)が{()(むす)ぶ・(みの)る}と(しん)じている。
I believe our efforts will bear fruit.

33. 努力(どりょく)()(むす)ぶことを(ねが)っています。
I wish that the fruits of our efforts will manifest.

34. マカオと香港(ほんこん)(と)を(むす)(はし)工事(こうじ)(すす)んでいる。
Construction on a bridge connecting Macao and Hong Kong is making progress.

Spelling Note: Traditionally, マカオ is spelled as 澳門.

35. 条約(じょうやく)を{(むす)ぶ・締結(ていけつ)する}ことに成功(せいこう)する。
To succeed in entering a treaty.


The verb 頼る has three different nuances depending on how it is used.

・In "(X を) Yに頼る," it shows dependency meaning “to rely on Y (for X).”
・In “Yを頼る,” it shows from whom/what you get help from. Essentially, you are purposely using connections.
・In "Yを頼りにする,” it shows with whom/what one depends on out of trust.

36. 日本(にほん)(いま)100(ひゃく)パーセント輸入(ゆにゅう)(たよ)っている()(もの)ってなんですか?
What foods does Japan now 100% rely on imports for?

37. 医者(いしゃ)(くすり)(たよ)るのを()めませんか。
Why not stop relying upon doctors and medicine?

38. スマホに(たよ)ると、集中力(しゅうちゅうりょく)()ちる。
If you rely on your smart phone, your concentration will drop.

39. 需要予測(じゅようよそく)(たよ)りすぎるべきではない。
You mustn't over-rely on demand forecasts.

40. 経済(けいざい)資源(しげん)輸出(ゆしゅつ)(たよ)(くに)(おお)くあります。
There are many countries who rely on the importing of resources for their economies.

41. 飼料(しりょう)として使(つか)われる穀物(こくもつ)(おお)くを海外(かいがい)からの輸入(ゆにゅう)(たよ)っている。
We rely on the imports from foreign countries for a lot of the grain that is used for feed.

42. 使用量(しようりょう)のほとんどを中国(ちゅうごく)(たよ)っている。
We’re relying on China for most of the amount used, has no choice but to accept.

43. 知人(ちじん)(たよ)って渡米(とべい)しました。
I relied on an acquaintance to travel to America.

44. 一度地図(いちどちず)(たよ)って(おこな)ってみました。
I tried going once by depending on a map.

45. 伝手(つて)(たよ)ってソマリアの海賊(かいぞく)たちに()いに()きました。
I used connections to go meet the Somalian pirates.

46. (みな)さんは(なに)(たよ)りに()きていらっしゃいますか。
What does everyone rely on to live?

47. 地図(ちず)(たよ)りに最寄(もよ)りの(えき)()かいました。
I headed toward the nearest train station, relying on a map.

48. いくら結婚(けっこん)できなくても婚活(こんかつ)ビジネスを(たよ)るのはやめた(ほう)がいい。
No matter how much trouble you have in getting married, it’s better to stop relying on marriage hunting businesses.

49. 名医(めいい)(たよ)って病院(びょういん)(えら)ぶという(ひと)(すく)なくありません。
There are far from few individuals who chose hospitals by recoursing to noted physicians.

50. 現在親(げんざいおや)(たよ)って生活(せいかつ)しています。
Currently, I am living by relying on my parents.