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definitions - Transitive_verb

transitive verb (n.)

1.(linguistics)a verb (or verb construction) that requires an object in order to be grammatical

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synonyms - Transitive_verb

transitive verb (n.) (linguistics)

transitive, transitive verb form

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Transitive verb

  • You pushed the cart.
  • I gave you the magazine.
  • I ate the pie.
  • I tried on the shoes.

In syntax, a transitive verb is a verb that requires both a subject and one or more objects. The term is used to contrast intransitive verbs, which do not have objects.



While all verbs that take at least one object are considered transitive, verbs can be further classified by the number of objects they take. Verbs that require exactly one object are called monotransitive. Verbs that are able to take two objects, a direct object and an indirect object, are called ditransitive. An example in English is the verb to give. There are also a few verbs, like "to trade" in the English language, that may be called "tritransitive" because they take three objects.[1]

In contrast to transitive verbs, some verbs take zero objects. Verbs that do not require an object are called intransitive; for example, consider the verb to die.

Verbs that can be used in an intransitive or transitive way are called ambitransitive. In English, an example is the verb to eat, since the sentences You eat (with an intransitive form) and You eat apples (a transitive form that has apples as the object) are both grammatically correct.

The valency of a verb is a related concept. The valency of a verb considers all the arguments the verb takes, including both the subject of the verb and all of the objects. In contrast to valency, the transitivity of a verb only considers the objects.

  Other languages

Some languages distinguish verbs based on their transitivity, which suggests this is a salient linguistic feature. For example, in Japanese:

Jugyō ga hajimaru.
The class starts.
Sensei ga jugyō o hajimeru.
The teacher starts the class.

However, the definition of transitive verbs as those with one object is not universal, and is not used in grammars of many languages. For example, it is generally accepted in Polish grammar that transitive verbs are those that:

Both conditions are fulfilled in many instances of transitive verbs:

Maria widzi Jana (Mary sees John; Jana is the accusative form of Jan)
Jan jest widziany przez Marię (John is seen by Mary)
However, there are exceptions, and verbs with one or even two objects may also be intransitive.

Hungarian has a misunderstood feature as if having transitive and intransitive conjugation for all verbs. The concept of transitive, intransitive is misplaced here.

  • There is only one general conjugation.

In present and future, there is a lesser used variant - a Definite, or say emphatic conjugation form. It is used only when referring to a previous sentence, or topic, where the object was already mentioned. Logically the definite article A(z) as reference is to be used here and due to Verb emphasis (definite) word order is changed to VO.

  • If you don't want to be definite you can simply

házat látok ------ I see (a) house -- (general)

látom A házat --- I see The house - (The house we were looking for)

almát eszem ------- I eat (an) apple -- (general)

eszem Az almát --- I eat The apple - (The one mom told me to)

bort iszom ------ I drink wine -- (general)

iszom A bort --- I drink The wine - (That you offered me before)

In English one would say 'I do see the house', etc., stressing the Verb - in Hungarian the Object is emphasized - but both mean exactly the same.

(to aid correct reading Hungarian 'sz' is written as 's', 'á' means it is long, the definite article in capital may help understanding)

  See also


  1. ^ Kittila, Seppo (2007). "A typology of tritransitives: alignment types and motivations". Linguistics (Germany: Walter de Gruyter) 45 (3): 453–508. DOI:10.1515/LING.2007.015. 


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