Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Transitive and Intransitive verbs in Italian grammar

Verbs in Italian Grammar

Il verbo può indicare un'azione che passa direttamente su un complemento detto oggetto o diretto come: Mangio il pane; Guardo la campagna, Rompo la noce, in cui l'idea di mangiare, del guardare, del rompere, non si può concepire senza quella dell'oggetto su cui ricadono queste azioni. Tali verbi si dicono TRANSITIVI perchè appunto l'azione passa dal soggetto sul complemento oggetto.

Se il verbo indica una azione che, compiuta dal soggetto, resta in esso, come: io rido, tu dormi, si dice INTRANSITIVO.

Certi verbi come incominciare, aumentare, rovinare, terminare,ardere, annegare, ecc, possono essere usati sia in modo transitivo che in modo intransitivo.

Esempio: Il maestro incomincia (uso transitivo) la sua lezione alle nove. La lezione incomincia (uso intransitivo) alle nove.

Esempio: Quell'uomo ha rovinato (uso transitivo) la sua famiglia. Il muro cadde (uso intransitivo) con fragore.

Questi verbi si dicono transitivi o intransitivi a seconda che ammettono o no il complemento oggetto.

Briefly:

Transitive verbs are verbs that have subjects or objects that receive the action.

Transitive verbs are the verbs in sentences with a direct object.

The subject is the actor and the direct object is the receiver of the action. The transitive verbs could be in either active or passive voice. Example: The boys kicks the ball. The ball was kicked by the boy.

Intransitive verbs have no receiver of the action. Example: The bell rang suddenly.

Intransitive verbs are sentences with a predicate.

 

Transitive and intransitive verbs

A transitive verb describes actions that shift from the subject to an object, without having to use a preposition such as at, to, etc.

Example: He reads the newspaper. In this sentence he is the subject of the verb read ( transitive verb) and the newspaper is the direct object.

 

He ( subj) reads ( transitive verb) the newspaper (object).

Egli legge il giornale.

Mom rules the house = La mamma governa la casa

Caesar defeated the enemies = Cesare sconfisse i nemici ( The direct object (enemy) is receiving the action of the verb ( to defeat). )

I give you the book = Io ti do il libro ( book is the direct object of give and you is the non-prepositional indirect object of give)

Transitive verbs also have the passive form: The newspaper is read by him = Il giornale è letto da lui.

The compound tenses of transitive verbs are formed with the auxiliary "AVERE" + the past participle of the verb: Leggere (to read), scrivere ( to write)

  • * ho letto, ho scritto
  • * avevo letto, avevo scritto
  • * avrei letto, avrei scritto
  • * avrò letto, avrò scritto

 

Intransitive verbs instead stand alone without a subject to which an action is directed.

Examples:

Carlo will sleep until sunrise ( the verb sleep does not have an object) = Carlo dormirà fino all'alba.

Maria cammina = Maria walks ( is verb walks is not taking a direct object)

The cook is good ( the verb is is not directed toward any object or person)

By the way some verbs can be transitive or intransitive depending on whether a direct object is added by a person.

Example:

Verbi Transitivi: La Mamma Vede il Bambino

Verbi Transitivi: La Mamma Vede il Bambino


 

Mother sees. = La mamma vede.

Mother sees the child. = La mamma vede il bambino.

You may notice that in the first sentence the verb sees is functioning as an intransitive verb and in the second sentence the same verb is functioning as a transitive verb.


Intransitive verbs do not have the passive form.

The compound tenses of most (not all) intransitive verbs are formed with the auxiliary "essere" + the past participle of the verb. With the auxiliary "essere", the past participle must agree in gender and number with the subject of the verb.

Intransitive verbs : Past Participle

Andare ( to go) - andato

Cadere ( to fall) - caduto

Costare ( to cost) - costato

Diventare( to become) - diventato

Crescere( to grow) - cresciuto

Partire( to leave) - partito


Exercise:

Determine which verbs in the following sentences are transitive or intransitive :

1. The hikers reached. Gli escursionisti hanno raggiunto.

2. They prepared their own meals that night. Quella notte loro hanno pereparato i loro pasti.

3. Last week the family painted the house. La settimana scorsa la famiglia ha dipinto la casa.

4. Jane spent her vacation in the Grand Tetons. Jane ha passato la sua vacanza a Grand Tetons.

5. The apricot tree spread its branches over the fence. L'albicocco ha disteso i suoi rami sopra il recinto.

6.The stadium roared with the cheers of the fans. lo stadio ha tremato per i cori dei tifosi.

7. Maria looked for her lost shoes. Maria ha cercato le scarpe che aveva perso.


Answers:

1. reached - transitive

2. prepared - transitive

3. painted - transitive

4. spent - transitive

5. spread - transitive

6. roared - intransitive (no receiver of the action)

7. looked - intransitive


By Elisa Bressan

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