Transitive and intransitive verbs

A transitive verb is a verb that usually needs a direct object to complete it.
In other words, the subject performs an action that can be connected directly to an object.
This action can:
- change the object’s state: Io mangio una mela.  I eat an apple.
- produce an influence over an indirect object: Io dico qualcosa a qualcuno.  I say something to someone.
- cause a change in the subject: Io amo la mia città.  I love my city.

In dictionaries, transitive verbs are identified by the abbreviation ‘v.tr.’ written next to them.
In compound tenses, transitive verbs use the auxiliary verb ‘avere’ (to have): Io ho mangiato una mela.
Some transitive verbs can be used as pronominal verbs: you may add the reflexive pronoun to emphasise the subject’s experience: Mi mangio una mela!
In compound tenses, pronominal verbs always use the auxiliary verb ‘essere’ (to be): Io mi sono mangiato una mela!

Intransitive verbs do not need a direct object: Io cammino.  I walk.
In dictionaries, intransitive verbs are identified by the abbreviation ‘v.intr.’ written next to them.
Italian intransitive verbs may be subdivided in two classes: the ones that use the auxiliary verb ‘avere’ (to have) and the ones that use the auxiliary verb ‘essere’ (to be).
In the first group, there are verbs like camminare, cenare, credere, dormire, giocare, girare, gridare, lavorare, mentire, nuotare, parlare, pensare, piangere, pranzare, ridere, sbadigliare, sognare, sorridere, sperare, telefonare, viaggiare.
The subject of these verbs performs an action, but a direct object is not needed.
Io ho dormito fino alle undici.  I slept till about 11:00.
In the second group, there are verbs like andare, arrivare, cadere, entrare, intervenire, partire, scadere, scappare, scivolare, scoppiare, sparire, tornare, uscire, venire.
The subject of these verbs undergoes a change.
Io sono scivolato sul pavimento bagnato.  I slipped on the wet floor.

Some intransitive verbs use both the auxiliaries.
For example, ‘correre’ (to run):
Io ho corso velocemente.  I ran quickly.
Io sono corso da te.  I ran to you.

Many intransitive verbs are pronominal verbs (the verbs which include the reflexive pronouns).
Mi sono preoccupato.  I got worried.

Some verbs can be used as both transitive and intransitive verbs depending on their meaning.
For example, ‘crescere’:
Io ho cresciuto tre figli.  I raised three children.
I miei figli sono cresciuti serenamente.  My children have grown up peacefully.



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