Sometimes I struggle with transit and intransitive verbs and had a question. I’d like to say I took medicine and am pretty much back to normal. Would this be 「薬飲んで、元に戻した」 Or 「薬飲んで、元に戻った」 or neither lol.

Thank you!


2 Answers 2


You can use either based on how you feel about your contribution to the outcome (i.e. you are now back to normal).

「戻った」is based on「戻る」. This is an intransitive expression that can be used when you feel you didn't commit to the outcome or you just want to describe what has happened. 「薬飲んで、元に戻った」is something like "I took medicine and my health has recovered."

「戻した」is based on 「戻す」. This is a transitive expression. This can be used when you feel what you did is significant to achieve the outcome. 「薬飲んで、元に戻した」is something like "I made my health recover by taking medicine."

  • 5
    I think you're right except I'm not sure if it's appropriate to call them "objective" and "subjective". Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 10:00
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    冒頭の文には全面的に同意しますが、objective/subjective ではなく自動詞/他動詞 ("intransitive/transitive") を使った方が良いかなと思います。
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 4:08

(Moved from comments to answer by request)

戻る means that the subject returned. 戻す means that the subject returned the object. 元に戻った means "I went back to normal". 元に戻した means "[...] put me back to normal," where [...] here is either "I" or "the medicine" (or perhaps "the act of having drunk the medicine"). "I" is the most natural subject in this case by a good bit, since "I" is the implied subject to 薬飲んで; but the others are possible.

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