What is the difference between 始める{はじめる} (hajimeru) and 始まる{はじまる} (hajimaru)?

Would appreciate some advice on this.



In a nutshell, both hajimeru and hajimaru mean "to start".

More specifically, hajimeru is transitive -- "to start something". Meanwhile, hajimaru is intransitive -- it cannot take an object, so "something starts (on its own)".

There are several verb pairs like this, all with -meru / -maru endings: hiromeru "to widen something" vs. hiromaru "something widens (on its own)"; katameru "to harden something" vs. katamaru "something hardens on its own"; osameru "to quell something, to put something under control" vs. osamaru "something quells, something becomes under control", etc. etc.

  • 始める : transitive

    会議始めましょう! Let's start the meeting!

  • 始まる : intransitive

    会議始まりました。The meeting has begun.


One is transitive (has an object), the other one is intransitive (doesn't have an object).

  • 始める - to begin (something)
  • 始まる - to begin

- I started a new diet today.

- My new diet starts today.

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