I'm a beginner to Japanese, and I just learned about transivity. I read that the verb 休む is intransitive, and it means "to take a break from." I also read that intransitive verbs cannot take an object, with the exception of location used with motion verbs. How come 休む can be used with を then?

Here is an example sentence I saw:


I was thinking that maybe the "from" part of "to take a break from" is what allows it to use を but I wasn't too confident in that since it's supposed to be an intransitive verb. Is it some kind of exception, or something I may not have learned about yet? Clarification on the verb and definition and any misconceptions would be greatly appreciated.

  • You are applying English grammar to Japanese. Even in English, when you say "I am taking a break from school." "school" is the object of the preposition "from". – Eddie Kal Feb 25 at 4:23

休む is basically intransitive, but it has this transitive usage, too. You can say 会社を休む, 会議を休む, 学校を休む, and so on. Transitivity of most verbs are straightforward, but there are many tricky ones which you simply have to memorize. See this answer for similar examples.

Also note that many intransitive verbs related to movement can take を, in which case を is more of a location marker rather than an object marker. See: Making sense of transitive usage of 行く and 来る - 「を行く」 and 「を来る」 and この道をまっすぐ行ってください。 Why を and not で?

  • 2
    So what’s the reasoning behind calling it an intransitive verb to begin with? Granted, Japanese verbs are more commonly morphologically marked for transitivity in transitive/intransitive pairs than English verbs are, but there are still a fair number of ambitransitive verbs in Japanese. I can’t see any reason why 休む shouldn’t just be one of those verbs. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 25 at 13:27
  • In addition to Janus' question, I'd like to ask: So can verbs like this just be considered exceptions in terms of transivity and particle usage? – iso354 Feb 25 at 17:39
  • 1
    I'm not the one who categorized it as intransitive... @iso354 Yes, some verbs has more than one usage. に触れる and を触れる came to my mind. English also has confusing examples like this. – naruto Feb 26 at 14:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.