Is this sentence wrong grammatically, or am I missing something? カンニングをしているところを 見つかる This is an examplensentence from kenkyuusha.

More specifically, 見つかる is an intransitive verb, how is it used with を rather than が? Now i know some motion verbs like 歩く can do this, but as far as I know 見つかるr is not one.

If this was an indirect passive, it would have been を見つけられる. So thay is not the case here either.

Thanks for the help!

1 Answer 1


「カンニングをしているところを [見]{み}つかる。」= "I am found cheating (on the test)."

This sentence is 100% grammatical. If you analyzed it using the grammar of another language, however, it might look as though it were ungrammatical.

「見つかる」 , as you stated, is an intransitive verb, but it happens to fall into a group of intransitive verbs that hold the transitive-verb-like characteristics. In particular, these intransitive verbs are used just like transitive verbs in the passive voice with 「を」 attached to the direct object.

Japanese-learners would need to know that it is far more natural for us to say the sentence above than to say:


using a real transitive verb 「見つける」 in its passive voice form.

This group of intransitive verbs include: 「[教]{おそ}わる = "to be taught"」、「[授]{さず}かる = "to be blessed with"」、「ことづかる = "to be told to convey a message or give a present"」, etc.

  • Interesting... is this official? All of kenkyuushas examples use が見つかる, however 教わる seems like a regular transitive verbs having all the examples with を教わる, and the same thing for 授かる、ことづかる. What would have been different if を見つかる was used in the aforementioned sentence?
    – PsyFish
    Mar 23, 2015 at 10:14
  • I guess kenkyuusha's example choices can't really reflect what is going on, as their selction could have been coincidental. Thanks for the explanation!
    – PsyFish
    Mar 28, 2015 at 10:56

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