Why do you use が instead of を for potential form? [JLPT grammar]

Konnichiwa! It’s Chika sensei.

Today I share my reply to a student’s question in the JLPT All-in-One course.
I hope you will find it helpful!



可能形(かのうけい)|Verb Potential form, JLPT N4 Course

[A student’s comment]

Why do you use が instead of を for potential form?



[Chika Sensei’s reply]


That is because [potential-form] is a non-volitional verb.
[potential-form] indicates that something is possible but no actual action is actually taken.

It has the same grammar as an intransitive verb.
Those verbs do not need an object.
So, を is not used to indicate the object.

Using を with potential-form has begun to gain acceptance among some young native speakers, but it is not yet considered standard.
So while you may occasionally hear it as slang in everyday conversation, it will be incorrect on the exam.




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