When is the use of correct particle (を or が) on the direct object of a transitive verb, for example:

  • shigoto o owarimasu
  • shigoto ga owarimasu

What is the exact meaning in each other, please.

  • japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/609/…
    – user20428
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 22:51
  • @SadaharuWakisaka ごめんなさいやっぱり関係している気がしてきました
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 8, 2017 at 0:47
  • @naruto, I don't mind except learner gets the right answers.
    – user20428
    Commented Apr 8, 2017 at 1:31

1 Answer 1


Many Japanese verbs have transitive and intransitive versions. Basically, 終わる (owaru) is an intransitive verb. 終える (oeru) is the transitive equivalent. So here are the most basic usages:

  • 仕事が終わります。 Shigoto ga owarimasu. (intransitive)
    The task finishes.
  • 仕事を終えます。 Shigoto o oemasu. (transitive)
    I finish the task.

In plain and active sentences like your example, the direct object of a transitive verb is always marked with を. In potential and passive sentences there are a lot more to know.

So, these are the generic rules.

But in case you have seen ~を終わる before, please read on.

However, 終わる (owaru) happens to have an exceptional transitive usage, too. See: When is 終わる used as a transitive verb? It's the fourth definition of this dictionary entry.

  • 今日の授業終わります。
    That's all for today's class.

Exceptional transitive usages are seen in limited contexts in some intransitive verbs. I think this transitive usage of 終わる is limited to "That's it/all (for today)" as a closing word of a lesson/meeting/etc. In such contexts 今日の授業終わります sounds highly unnatural (it sounds the class closes on its own). For other meanings, you have to use ~が終わる or ~を終える following the general rule above. For example, you cannot say 食事を終わる nor 宿題を終わる. If you want to say "Let's have a party when you have finished with the novel":

  • その小説が終わったら、パーティーを開きましょう。: OK
  • その小説を終えたら、パーティーを開きましょう。: OK
  • [×] その小説を終わったら、パーティーを開きましょう。: ungrammatical

There is another exception regarding 終わる; when this is used as an auxiliary verb (i.e., when it follows a stem of another verb and forms a compound verb that means "finish ~ing"), verb + 終わる works as a both transitive-and-intransitive verb. In this case, を and が are interchangeable.

  • その小説書き終わったら、パーティーを開きましょう。: OK
  • その小説書き終わったら、パーティーを開きましょう。: OK
  • その小説書き終えたら、パーティーを開きましょう。: OK

See also:

  • 「終わる」に限らず将棋でも「飛車を成る」とか「玉を上がる」とかいいますよ。what's the exact meaning ? って言われても困るけど。
    – user4092
    Commented Apr 8, 2017 at 9:02
  • ああ、「特殊」「珍しい」くらいの気持ちでspecificと書いたのですが確かにこれだと誤解招くんですかね、直します
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 8, 2017 at 11:18

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