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I'm reading this article and I have come across this sentence and I'm wondering why is used instead of を. What's the reason am I missing here?

11日、豊洲市場がオープンして競り始まりました。

My translation:

On the 11th, Toyosu Market has opened and started auctions.

4

In addition to Kaizokugari's answer, I'd like to point out that 始【はじ】まりました is an intransitive verb -- it cannot take an object marked with を. This verb means that "something starts on its own". The "something" here would be the subject of the verb, and thus it takes the subject-marking particle が.

To break it down, your sample sentence in Japanese is a compound sentence.

11日、豊洲市場がオープンして競りが始まりました。

We could split this up into its component sentences:

11日、豊洲市場がオープンしました。
The Toyosu market opened on the 11th.

競りが始まりました。
Auctioning began.

Dividing it up into separate sentences like this doesn't sound very natural, but it can help when trying to parse longer texts.

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I think the important difference to note here is between the two verbs 始まる and 始める:

  • 始まる is an intransitive verb. It means that "something starts".

  • 始める is a transitive verb. It means that "somebody starts something".

Furthermore, note that the particle "を" often marks the direct object of a verb, and the particle "が" often marks the subject of a verb.

In your sentence, the 競り "has started" (始まりました), which means that 競り is the subject, therefore it uses が.

Hypothetically, if the sentence was phrased differently and "somebody" was starting the 競り, then you might use が to mark the "somebody", and を to mark the "something" (the 競り), and you would use the verb 始める instead of 始まる。

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The act of auctioning has started.

The り ending nominalises the verb, thus the second clause subject is the act of 競り (auctioning), not Toyosu Market .

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