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I often see 浮く in contexts relating to floatability, like:

氷は水に浮きます

However, sometimes I see 浮く used where I'd use 浮かぶ. When should one be used over the other? Are there any cases where both are acceptable?

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You should add 浮かべる too. –  istrasci Dec 28 '13 at 2:36
    
Can it's meaning not be deduced from 浮かぶ? –  Daniel Safari Dec 29 '13 at 15:00
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

浮く to float, float to the surface. 「魚が浮いた」 「泡が浮く」 「木が水に浮く」 「空に浮く」

浮かぶ to be floating at a surface, float with no movement (think of the かぶ like ~ている)。 「氷が浮かぶ」 「白雲が浮かぶ」

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To whoever down voted me, this is how my Japanese-Japanese dictionary explains it (大辞林). –  Jon Jan 4 at 12:04
    
Does your dictionary say 魚が浮た, not 魚が浮いた? (ところでダウンボートしたの私じゃないです) –  Chocolate Jan 6 at 1:22
    
Ah that's just a typo thanks. –  Jon Jan 6 at 9:24
    
@Jon: It seems to me like 浮く is simply an antonym of 沈む, wouldn't you agree? –  Daniel Safari Jan 6 at 16:57
    
@DanielSafari In meaning and being intransitive, sure. "simply~" is not how I would make statements about high-context languages, however. –  Jon Jan 8 at 2:29
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