I'm having some difficulty with the various verbs that exist for bending and turning and could really use some insight into them: 曲がる - Intransitive 曲げる - Transitive 回る - Intransitive 回す - Transitive

JDIC additionally lists 転じる, which I'm not familiar with.

I get the feeling that the 曲-based ones are more of a "bending" or "one-time turning" concept while the 回-based ones are more of a turning/rotating/spinning concept. More cyclical, you know?

  • 2
    Your feeling is perfectly right ;)
    – desseim
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 20:24
  • 1
    For a 熟語, [回転]{かいてん} also means "rotate/revolve".
    – istrasci
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 20:37
  • Well, that's pretty straightforward, then. Thanks!
    – William
    Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 3:14
  • Let me know if you find out what the difference is between 回る and 廻る, by the way ;) Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 6:57
  • 1
    Vaguely related: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/8187/…
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


According to みんなの日本語初級I Lessons 14 and 23 曲がる means to turn (around the corner):

すみません。 あの信号を右へ曲がってください。

Excuse me. Please turn to the right on that traffic light.

and 回す means to turn something (like a leaver or knob):



The volume is low.

...If you turn this knob to the right it will go up.

On the other hand, according to the 電子辞書 曲げる (Transitive) means to bend something, like a steel bar or your finger.

Also 回る (Intransitive) refers to something that rotates on it's own, right now I can think of a plane's propeller or some other mechanical part, like:


Plane's propeller is rotating.

I hope this was helpful to you.

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