So I know that commonly people say 「ゲームをする」or 「NOUNで遊ぶ」 yet on the Japanese playstation website, I see 「ゲームを遊ぶ」written, even though the verb is intransitive. Are they both correct or is it sorta like an Incorrect usage but commonly understood, like some english phrases?

  • 1
    Related: How do you express that you are playing a game?
    – naruto
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 4:55
  • How would an intransitive verb take an object, though? Is it just an exception? Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 4:57
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    Yes, that's the point of your question, and the link does not answer that part. For now, I would say 遊ぶ also has a transitive usage.
    – naruto
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 4:59

1 Answer 1


I think ゲームを遊ぶ and ゲームで遊ぶ are both perfectly correct. Although some dictionaries say 遊ぶ is only intransitive, you can find some transitive usages of 遊ぶ on BCCWJ, including:

  • ゲームを遊ぶ
  • マリオを遊ぶ
  • 月を愛で歌を詠み、御座の間などでも花を遊ぶ
  • 何を遊ぶかということではなくて、どのように遊ぶか
  • 渋谷の夜を遊ぶ
  • ホノルルを遊ぶ (although this を may be taken as a location marker)

The difference is usually subtle and unimportant, but ゲームを遊ぶ sounds like ゲーム is the main purpose, whereas ゲームで遊ぶ sounds like ゲーム is just a method to have fun. The following article intentionally distinguishes ゲームを遊ぶ and ゲームで遊ぶ:

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