direct object + o/ga

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by Mister_A, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Mister_A New Member

    I've read "wo" is a direct object indicator, but when it's followed by the verbs iru, aru, wakaru, dekiru, kirai, suki or hosshii you should use "ga" instead. They also said there's a preference for "ga" when the following verb uses the -tai ending. Is there a specific reason for this? And are there more verbs which require "ga" instead of "wo"?
  2. frequency

    frequency Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    I like cats - Neko ga suki desu.
    I like cats - Neko wo konomu.
    Both 'I like cats'. Suki takes ga, and konomu takes wo. This may be a matter of verb what requires which. Neko wo konomu is much closer to English SVO. Plus, suki may not work as verb (not sure, sorry).

    Regarding -tai ending, e.g. Yakyuu ga shitai, this is may be as well. I think Flaminius knows this kind of thing very well.
  3. Mister_A New Member

    Thanks for your reply frequency. I'm hoping someone else can tell me their thoughts on this matter too. For the sake of clarity I'll show the information which made me ask this question. I'd give a link to the website, but because this is only my second post here I'm not allowed to post links yet. The site is called "Tim sensei's corner" and the information was given in the "Japanese particles" section.
    Direct object indicator o

    You could call o a "limited use" particle. Its only job is to show us what the direct object is:

    • Jisho o kashite kureru? (Would you please loan me your dictionary?)
    • Atarashii kamera o katta. (I bought a new camera.)
    • Pizza o tabemashou ka. (Shall we get a pizza?)
    However, ga is usually preferred when using the -tai ending:

    • Ramen ga tabetai. (I want to eat ramen.)
    Also, use ga, not o, before the verbs iru (to be present; to exist), iru (to need), aru, wakaru, dekiru, and the weird quasi-verb/adjectives suki, kirai and hoshii:

    • Bob no heya ni tokage ga iru. (There's a lizard in Bob's room.)
    • Boku wa atarashii kasa ga iranai. (I don't need a new umbrella.)
    • Shizu wa jitensha ga arimasu ka. (Does Shizu have a bicycle?)
    • Kenji no itte iru koto ga wakaranai. (I don't understand what Kenji's saying.)
    • Emiko wa ryouri ga dekiru? (Can Emiko cook?)
    • Chuuka ryouri ga suki desu ka. (Do you like Chinese food?)
    • Tom wa hikouki ga kirai. (Tom hates airplanes.)
    • Ano nuigurumi ga hoshii! (I want that stuffed animal!)

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2012
  4. mdbvma Senior Member

    Canada, English
    From the perspective of a non-native Japanese speaker, you basically just have to memorize which are which. However, from the perspective of a native Japanese speaker, most of those examples you gave are not exceptions to the rule that 'wo' is used for direct objects and 'ga' is used for the subject of a sentence.

    For instance, from a Japanese perspective 'aru' and 'iru' actually mean 'to exist'. The verb 'to exist' doesn't take a direct object in either English or Japanese. Similarly, 'wakaru' actually means 'to be understandable'. In English we say 'to understand (something)' with a direct object, but in Japanese they say '(something) is understandable'. 'Kirai', 'Suki', and 'Hoshii' are not verbs at all. They are adjectives. 'Hikouki ga kirai desu' actually means 'planes are hated'. 'Nuigurumi ga hoshii desu' actually means 'The stuffed animal is desired'. On the other hand, 'konomu' is a true verb.

    I think 'tai' and 'dekiru' are genuine exceptions. 'Dekiru' is actually the potential form of the verb 'suru'. Like verbs with the 'tai' ending, all verbs in potential form usually do not have direct objects in Japanese and thus do not use 'wo'.

    However, I should point out that, except for 'dekiru' which never takes a direct object, most Japanese potential form verbs and most Japanese verbs ending in 'tai' can take a direct object using 'wo' in some circumstances. In these two cases you should use 'ga' for anything in which you want to emphasize a desire or an abstract goal. By contrast you can use 'wo' with 'tai' verbs and potential form verbs if the object of the sentence is specific and achievable and can be done as part of a routine. The impression I get from this is that Japanese like to use 'ga' for things that involve emotions and desires but prefer 'wo' for uninspiring routine goals.
  5. Mister_A New Member

    Thanks for explaining mdbvma. That really cleared up a lot for me and gives me a good handle on doing some more investigation into this subject by myself.
  6. frequency

    frequency Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    I humbly suggest you that wo has the special name: object marker. This is because it has a special role different from other particles such as to, ni, and ga-ga is even included in regular particles. I hope this helps you.
  7. Hadi-M New Member

    English & Malay
    What I learn a lil bit is,
    'wo' can't use before intransitive verbs. 'ga' is more suitable.
    For instance,
    sekai wo kaeru(I change the world). The word 'sekai' is the object, so 'wo' is used. And kaeru is a transitive verb.
    But, it is different when we use intransitive verb. Kaeru --> kawaru
    sekai ga kawaru(The world changes). It is not acceptable if we use 'sekai wo kawaru', because kawaru is an intransitive verb.

    That's what I learn :)
  8. Mister_A New Member

    Thank you frequency and Hadi-M, I'll look into both of your suggestions. The transitive/intransitive distinction seems especially helpful in this matter and looks to be the explanation I was after from the start.

Share This Page