1) He was transferred to Tokyo.

2) He transferred to Tokyo.

There are two usages, right? I wonder how you guys decide which one to use in each case. In my understanding, 1) implies that he was told to transfer and the act itself sounds more passive rather than active. Or do you guys just use them interchangeably?

teacherJapan Active and passive?

He was transferred to Tokyo (by his company). [ passive ]
His company transferred him to Tokyo. [ corresponding active ]

He transferred to Tokyo. [ active, but not the corresponding active ]

This last one is intransitive, i.e., has no object, so it does not have a corresponding passive. He just quit his job (which was not in Tokyo), moved to Tokyo, and found another job there.

Normally a transfer is made at the direction of your employer, and when you just change jobs and move, it's not called a transfer. That makes the last sentence somewhat anomalous.



#1 sounds like the company initiated the transfer.

#2 sounds like he initiated it.

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Thank you very much, Clive and Califjim. Now the difference is clear to me now.

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