Please consider 一段 {いちだん} verb 感じる {かんじる}. Sometimes I see particle に applied and sometimes particole を. In the Jisho.org vocabulary it is not specified if this verb is 他動詞 {たどうし} (transitive) or 自動詞 {じどうし} (intransitive).

The examples I found are:




My problem is, among the many examples, the fact that I found the second sentence, which is the only one using に.

So I was thinking... maybe 感じる always wants particle を. In that particular sentence, possible, I have particle に to make noun 幸せ an adverb. Is it correct?

  • 2
    I would say に is used to say how you feel, and を is used to say what you feel. But this is just my hypothesis.
    – istrasci
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 14:56
  • 1
    Apparently が is also a contender according to this paper.
    – istrasci
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 14:57
  • My intuition aligns with istrasci's. If you feel a certain way, you should use an adverb (i.e. い-adjective modified to end in ~く, or な-adjective with に plonked on the end). An example of this: 「体がすごく重く感じるよ!」 (stolen from alc). If you feel (aka sense) an object, then you should use a noun with を.
    – Billy
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


I looked the at the use of 感じる a few months ago. I came to the following conclusions:

  1. The verb is usually transitive (他動詞) ; it takes を with a noun (including embedded noun phrases with の)but

  2. It can also be intransitive (自動詞): Space ALC list it as both and give the example ~が退屈に感じる (feel bored [uninspired]).

  3. It can also take と to mark a "quotation/sound or manner adverbial" phrase, in which case the と seems to follow a verb (and I think we can say 感じる here is intransitive).

  4. When it appears to take に, the に particle is actually marking an adverb. This happens with transitive and intransitive uses of the verb.
  5. It also communicates three different ways of "feeling".

I have tried to explain #5 below with carefully chosen examples of 1-4 which can be picked out with little difficulty:

I classify the three feelings as Physical, Emotional and "Spider" (because the last is somewhat intuitive, similar to the way that Spiderman can sense danger). Examples of each are as follows:

  1. Physical sense (五感で刺激を受ける)

    家が揺れるのを感じた|I felt the house shake.

  2. Emotional sense (eg to be moved ⦅by⦆; be impressed ⦅by⦆):

    その時,初めて母の愛を深く感じた|I had never felt my mother's love so strongly.

    Did you have some special reason of your own for giving up such a good job?

  3. Spider-sense (eg to sense ⦅that⦆):

    彼は生命の危険を感じた|He sensed that his life was in danger.

    彼ががっかりしているのを感じた|I [was aware of / sensed] his disappointment.

    彼は何かを隠していると感じた|I felt that he was keeping something from me.

The follow-up question to this explanation might be what is the difference between expressions taking と and を? Very briefly:

(i) Some verbs such as 思う always takes と (another example would be jumping to a conclusion, 早合点する)

(ii) Some verbs such as 忘れる and 思い出す never take と because you can only remember/forget facts not beliefs!

(iii) Some verbs such as 考える & 分かる take both because they can take two meanings: You can either just think (ie believe) or think about something (ie consider facts), either is possible.

感じる falls under category (iii), as can be seen from the examples above.


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