I have this example sentence: ソフトボールチームのヘッドコーチのポジションを退く{しりぞく}には、まだ早過ぎますよ。 It’s still too early for you to step down from your position as head softball coach. The question is in the title.

So far I know two other cases for which intransitive verbs use を, which are on the lines of "道を歩く" and "〜を悩む", but this doesn't seem to fit any of the two, so is there an explanation? Does it become transitive or is it just used differently?

Edit: Following the link provided in the first comment to this question I found many other useful explanations on the matter. What I found to be the most useful, direct and brief answer was entry 6 at this link: https://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/word/en/%E3%82%92/#je-82142.

  • Entry 6 says を can be used to indicate the starting point of an action

Since I cited two other related example I'll add the entries for those too in case anyone stumbles upon this thread:

  • Entry 3 says を can be used to indicate the location where some movement (移動) takes place.
  • Entry 7 refers to feelings/hopes
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? japanese.stackexchange.com/q/21313
    – L. F.
    Dec 27, 2022 at 17:51
  • What reading is this? 「どく」? 「のく」? 「しりぞく」? 「ひく」? Would you please put the furigana?
    – istrasci
    Dec 27, 2022 at 21:37
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    @istrasci I'm adding the furigana. Although no furigana was provided in the original sentence I'm pretty confident to say it's しりぞく Dec 27, 2022 at 21:50
  • @L.F. absolutely! Thank you Dec 27, 2022 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


This ”を” means ”from” and ”退く” is intransitive.

If it is correct when you change ”~を” to ”~から”, it's probably intransitive.

For example,

If you change ”パンを食べる” to ”パンから食べる”(I eat from bread!?), it is incorrect (actually, the meaning is change to ”I eat a bread previously”). So, ”食べる” is transitive.

If you change ”家を出る” to ”家から出る”(I leave from my home), it is correct! So ”出る” is intransitive.

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    Thank you! I tried looking up the word on a japanese-japanese dictionary but I couldn't find any that would list transitivity, so I just went with jisho.org. There the entry (jisho.org/search/%E9%80%80%E3%81%8F) only lists intransitive meanings for the verb, so is it really the case that it's transitive? (On the entry I linked the 3rd meaning actually provides a sentence example with a transitive usage but says it's only intransitive) Dec 27, 2022 at 15:37
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    I'm very sorry to misunderstanding about transitive and intensive... ”を” in your question means ”から”(in English, ”from”). Actually, ”ポジションから退く” is not incorrect. Thus, ”退く” is only intransitive! Dec 27, 2022 at 16:54
  • Thank you very much this was helpful! Dec 27, 2022 at 17:47

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