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零下

healer

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Ref: FREE Japanese Word of the Day Widget - JapanesePod101

零下以下になると水は凍ります。
Why is 以下 necessary in the above sentence since 零下 already means “below zero”?

From the next sentence 気温は零下を下回っています, one can see 零下 can stand on its own.

By the way, I’ve found 回る is an intransitive verb whereas 下回る is a transitive verb in a dictionary. Should an intransitive verb be used when one refers to weather change? Perhaps the dictionary is wrong again.
 

bentenmusume

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零下以下 strikes me as redundant.

零下になる without the 以下 is perfectly fine, and a quick Google search turns up many more hits for 零下になる than 零下以下になる, with the phrase as you have it mostly on learning sites, so I think one can say with confidence that the 以下 is not "necessary" here, nor is preferred.

(If it were 零度, 0度, 0℃, or what have you, on the other hand, you would need 零度以下、0度以下、0℃以下 to get the same meaning.)

To your next sentence, yes, 零下 (or its synonym 氷点下) can definitely stand on its own. (Even given the example sentence, I'm not sure why you're coming to the conclusion that just because something can take 以下, that it somehow is "necessary" or can't exist without it.)

I'm also not sure what you're getting at with your question about intransitive verbs and weather change. As we've talked about before, the transitive/intransitive distinction is all about whether a verb (grammatically) takes a direct object. One could describe the weather with either type of verb, depending on the phrasing used and the grammar of the sentence.

(In other words, 気温 does not have to be a sentient entity that chooses of its own will to fall below a certain temperature in order to be expressed with a transitive verb, if that's what you're thinking/implying.)
 

mdchachi

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零下になる without the 以下 is perfectly fine, and a quick Google search turns up many more hits for 零下になる than 零下以下になる, with the phrase as you have it mostly on learning sites, so I think one can say with confidence that the 以下 is not "necessary" here, nor is preferred.
My wife says it sounds redundant and odd albeit understandable.
 

Toritoribe

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I would say those are simply a misuse of 零以下になると水は凍ります and 気温は零を下回っています, respectively.
 

healer

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why you're coming to the conclusion that just because something can take 以下, that it somehow is "necessary"
Just the opposite. I was questioning the necessity of having 以下 to go with 零下.
Why is 以下 necessary in the above sentence since 零下 already means “below zero”?

what you're getting at with your question about intransitive verbs and weather change.
下回る was classified as transitive verb in the dictionary I looked up so it as expected goes with を in the example sentence. I was thinking what was the subject which brings about the change that let a transitive verb be used. If the weather changes by itself, then an intransitive verb that goes with が would have been used as I had expected. I was asking from the point of view of an English speaker. For instance, “The temperature falls below zero”, the verb therein is an intransitive verb. However, “The cooler cools the room down”, the verb is a transitive verb. By the same token, I was expecting the verb used in the quoted Japanese sentence an intransitive verb. The question of using a transitive verb or an intransitive verb in this case is completely different from what we recently discussed on the other thread where the verb type was unjustifiably classified.

One could describe the weather with either type of verb, depending on the phrasing used and the grammar of the sentence.
Japanese language may well be very different from what I have expected. That is where I need help. That was why I asked in case there was a reason or a mistake the way the sentence was worded.

気温 does not have to be a sentient entity that chooses of its own will to fall below a certain temperature in order to be expressed with a transitive verb
Fair enough! If I never asked I would never know. It seems that this is an example of Japanese verbs where the definition of “transitive” is not quite the same as that of English transitive verbs.

Having said that I appreciate very much bentenmusume-san for all your explanation and clarification. Thank you!
 

bentenmusume

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Unfortunately, I don't have time to respond to all of your points at the moment (I'll do my best to get to them later, unless Toritoribeさん is able to answer them before me), but I'd just like to point out.

healer said:
It seems that this is an example of Japanese verbs where the definition of “transitive” is not quite the same as that of English transitive verbs.
The subject of a transitive verb does not have to be sentient or possess free will in English either.

In the following sentences:

The ball struck the window, shattering the glass.
The gusting wind knocked over the trash can, spilling garbage everywhere.

..."the ball" and "the wind" are, respectively, subjects of the transitive verbs "struck" and "knocked over". Neither the ball nor the wind have free will, but this does not change the fact that the grammatical relationship in both sentences is that of subject, transitive verb, and direct object.

This is why you can't simply make assumptions about transitivity and intransitivity based upon meaning and the topic of conversation.

In English, wind can blow (intransitive) or blow/knock something over (transitive).
Likewise, in Japanese, you can have 風が吹く (intransitive) or 風が◯◯を吹き飛ばす (intransitive).

This is why I keep saying you have to pay strict attention to the grammar/structure, not just the meaning in an abstract sense.
 

Toritoribe

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It seems that this is an example of Japanese verbs where the definition of “transitive” is not quite the same as that of English transitive verbs.
As bentenmusume-san pointed out, you seem to be misunderstanding the definition of transitive/intransitive verbs. It's the problem of grammatical construction, not the meaning of the verb also in English or other languages.

Traditionally, transitivity patterns are thought of as lexical information of the verb, but recent research in construction grammar and related theories has argued that transitivity is a grammatical rather than a lexical property

Indeed there is a tendency about the difference in meaning between transitive and intransitive verbs, but what you are talking about is just one of the features of transitivity, i.e., the features found in transitive verbs as a result, not a criterion of classification. You seem to be confusing these two things. Furthermore, it's the problem of "degree" even about these features, after all.


As bentenmusume-san mentioned, you can say "The temperature falls below zero" with different verbs.

気温が零度を下回る。
気温が零度より下になる。
気温が零度以下に下がる。

The meaning is the same among these sentences. Whether を is used or not is totally the problem of the type of the verb, and it has nothing to do with the change or will of the subject here.
 

healer

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this does not change the fact that the grammatical relationship in both sentences is that of subject, transitive verb, and direct object.
Thanks for your explanation bentenmusume-san. Somehow I didn't take 零度 to be something that can be regarded as an object. I shall bear in mind the importance of the grammatical relationship from now on.

気温が零度を下回る。
気温が零度より下になる。
気温が零度以下に下がる。
Thanks Toritoribe-san for your help. These examples of yours help reinforce my understanding.
 
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