Transitive/Intransitive Verbs

Introduction

In dictionaries, transitive verbs are marked with a [T] or [with object] and instransitive verbs with an [I] or [no object].

Beispiel

La turistoj veturis al hotelo.
La ŝoforo veturigis la turistojn al hotelo.

Antaŭ la hotelo la ŝoforo malfermas la pordojn de la buso.
La pordoj de la hotelo merfermiĝas se iu preteriras antaŭ la hotelo.

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Transitive Verbs

Transitive verbs are verbs that take a direct object. A direct object is the person or thing that receives the action of the verb. We can identify the direct object in Esperanto because it is used in the accusative case (-n), and not used with prepositions.

Example:
La ŝoforo malfermis la pordojn de la buso.The bus driver opens the doors of the bus.

open something

We can use transitive verbs in passive voice where the direct object becomes the subject.

Example:
La pordoj de la buso estis malfermataj.The doors of the bus were opened.

Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive verbs are verbs that don’t take a direct object. Intransitive verbs cannot be used in the passive voice because there is no object to move into the subject position.

Example:
Turistoj veturis al hotelo.The tourists went to the hotel.
Iu preteriras antaŭ la hotelo.Someone goes past the front of the hotel.

Reflexive verbs are also intransitive.

Example:
La turistoj volas amuziĝi en siaj ferioj.The tourists want to enjoy themselves on their holiday.

Exceptions

English is quite felxible and many verbs can be both transitive and intransitive. For example: drive, drive something/someone.

Example:
The bus driver drove to the hotel. (intransitive)
The bus driver drove the tourists to the hotel. (transitive)

This is not usually the case in Esperanto, verbs either take an object or they don't. If we want to use an intransitive verb (according to the dictionary) with an object, we must add -ig-.

Example:
Ŝoforo veturis al hotelo. (intransitive)
Ŝoforo veturigis la turistojn al hotelo. (transitive)

Inversely, if we want to use a transitive verb (according to the dictionary) without an object, we must add -iĝ-.

Example:
Antaŭ la hotelo la ŝoforo malfermas la pordojn de la buso.In front of the hotel, the bus driver opens the doors of the bus.
La pordoj de la hotelo malfermiĝas, se iu preteriras antaŭ la hotelo.The doors of the hotel open when someone goes past the hotel.

Verbs that don’t change

However, with some transitive verbs in Esperanto, we can drop the object without changing the verb. The most important verbs belonging to this group are: dolori, fumi, kuiri, legi, ludi, manĝi, regi, respondi, trinki

Example:
La turisto legas.The tourist reads.
La turisto legas gvidlibron.The tourist reads a guidbook.