My goal for today is ...

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by SrGilberto, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. SrGilberto Member

    U.S. of A. - English
    My goal for today is to learn (try to understand) the difference between a "transitive" verb and an "intransitive" verb.

    I was reading a spanish article and, as usual, I have to look up a few words.
    I read the word "velando" and, not understanding it's meaning, I went to and looked up "velar". There were two definitions. One was "verbo transitivo" meaning "to blur", the other was "verbo intransitivo" meaning "to watch"

    Is there a quick and simple explanation of the diference between "transitive" and "intransitive"?

    Por favor, ayudame alcanzar mi meta de hoy.

    Gracias, y que Dios le bendiga,
  2. Leopold

    Leopold Senior Member

    Que nos bendiga, pues.

    A transitive verb is a verb that CAN (i mean it's not always present) have a direct object (maybe the thread "Dudas en un pasaje..." could be useful too). An intransitive verb is a verb which cannot take it. Some verbs can be either transitive or intransitive.

    Como verdura. (Verdura is the direct object, so "comer" is transitive)
    Llevo sólo cinco minutos comiendo (there's no D.O., but the verb is still transitive)
    No puedo descansar con tanto ruido. ("descansar" cannot accept a direct object, so it's intransitive)

    I give you some definitions of the verb, just for you to know, but don't get stuck with them, it's not a very common verb (in Spain at least) and i think most Spaniards would doubt about its use:

    Velar (direct) would be to blur. velar1.

    (Del lat. vigilāre).
    1. tr. Hacer centinela o guardia por la noche.
    2. tr. Asistir de noche a un enfermo.
    3. tr. Pasar la noche al cuidado de un difunto.
    4. tr. Observar atentamente algo.
    Veló a su hermana hasta el amanecer (a su hermana is the direct object)
    Alguien velaba la habitación, no pude entrar (this one is not very used, i think; la habitación is the direct object)
    5. intr. Estar sin dormir el tiempo destinado de ordinario para el sueño.
    6. intr. Continuar trabajando después de la jornada ordinaria.
    7. intr. Cuidar solícitamente de algo.
    Velé toda la noche para que nadie los interrumpiera.
  3. Philippa

    Philippa Senior Member

    Britain - English
    I know this might sound really dim, but is it important to know whether the verb is intransitive or transitive? What difference does it make? Could a verb possibly take a direct object in Spanish, but not in English or vice-versa?
  4. Leopold

    Leopold Senior Member

    I think it's important, but probably you could survive without knowing.
    Yes, it could. Just think of the reflexive verbs, such as "dormirse". Although that would be other case, i think.
    Anyway, for example, in Spanish we can use "destacar" both as transitive or intransitive.

    - El informe destacaba que el precio del petróleo había subido. (tr.)
    - Luis destacaba por su belleza. (intr.)

    We can use "to point out" for the first sentence, but not for the second. I mean, you have to know if the verb you're going to use (in Spanish or in English, because both have these kinds of verb) can accept or not a direct object. If I, who am Spanish, should translate the second sentence and would think the correct translation is "point out", i would make a mistake, for i cannot say *"Luis points out for being beatuful", because in English "to point out" NEEDS a direct object, it's a transitive verb.
  5. SrGilberto Member

    U.S. of A. - English
    I've understood the meaning of "destacar" to be "emphasize"

    I've surmized, however, that the two example sentences you used
    1) The speaker pointed out that ....
    2) Luis stands out for his ...

    So it's not so important to know that the verb is trans. or intrans. but that one can understand the meaning of the sentence by whether there is a direct object or not.

    (I asked the original question simply to enhance my understanding of the spanish language and this discussion has certainly been helpful)

    Thanks you all,
  6. thanks for the clarification leopold, my spanish book also uses destacar to explain the difference between a transitive and intransitive verb
    tr. destacar= to point out/ emphasive
    intr. destacar= to stand out
  7. Leopold

    Leopold Senior Member

    Oh really? In my translation lessons they always point out that we have to be careful when translating this verb... :)
  8. SrGilberto Member

    U.S. of A. - English
    Perhaps I have reached my "goal for the day" by at least having a clearer understanding of trans. and intrans. with regard to verbs.

    I can quickly understand it this way:
    With instransitive verbs, the verb action is entirely about the sentences subject.
    With transitive verbs, the verb action is about the direct object related to the subject.

    (Please advise if I've completely misunderstood)

  9. Leopold

    Leopold Senior Member

    Well, grammatically, it's a little more complicated than that, but I think is a good approach. :)

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