Can Intransitive verbs be used in Meirei form, Volitional form, ください form and other forms?

According to my knowledge, Intransitive verbs are just used to state facts. So these forms should not exist. If I am asking someone to do something, the expression should use the transitive form of the verb.

But in one anime (Bleach episode 114), when the hero sees his inner monster take over him, he says something which sounded like 「消えろ」. The English translation was given as "Disappear!" But 消える, which means "to go out; to vanish; to disappear", is an Intransitive verb. This makes me ask the question, can I use such forms with Intransitive verbs?

To summarize, which of the forms work with Intransitive form and which don't? Thanks in advance!

  • 1
    The last sentence seems too broad. A facile answer is all forms. The answer to the second last sentence is yes.
    – Yang Muye
    Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 7:41
  • @YangMuye That's one precise and neat answer. Thanks
    – Steel
    Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 7:55
  • 1
    Transitivity is defined in terms of syntax, not semantics. A semantic definition like "intransitive verbs are just used to state facts" doesn't work. Consider die, which is almost always intransitive outside of cognate object constructions. Should the imperative sentence "Die!" therefore not exist because, as an intransitive verb, die is "just used to state facts"? You can make the same argument about intransitive 死ぬ and its 命令形「死ね」.
    – user1478
    Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 9:53
  • @snailboat That's some nice reasoning. I get it know. I was looking at it the wrong way. As Kaji put it, we can think of it as "an order to put things in the state dictated by the verb".
    – Steel
    Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 11:13
  • "state dictated by the verb" We can make a distinction between stative (eg わかる, ある, 思う) and continous (eg 消える) verbs, but are intransitive verbs always static? "to die" is an action, and its imperative would simply command the subject to perform this action.
    – blutorange
    Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 12:25

2 Answers 2


There are specific verbs which don't take the potential form (offhand I remember する, which changes to できる, and 分かる, which you can circumvent by using 理解できる. Naturally, できる can't be put in the potential form either, due to recursion.). Other than that, I don't recall any verbs that are prohibited from using specified forms. Transitivity affects particle usage, but all of the verb forms remain available. In the case of intransitives and the imperative you can think of it as an order to put things in the state dictated by the verb (e.g. 消えろ = "get yourself gone/make yourself scarce"; 立ち上がれ = "rise up!").


another verb that cannot change to potential form is ある However, you can either use 可能性がある or advance grammar (~うる) to form ありうる (or ありえます、ありえない)to express it is possible or impossible

  • This does not seem especially relevant to a question about command forms of intransitive verbs.
    – virmaior
    Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 11:49

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