Talk:Transitive verb

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Hi, could someone get a source for tritransitivity? I have never heard of the name before, and the example given (I bought you a book for ten dollars) sounds fishy — the third "object", for three dollars, looks more like an adjunct; for that matter, so does the first one, you. Can we get a normative grammar which supports that interpretation? Wtrmute (talk) 03:24, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree; the verb bought is ditransitive. As you mentioned, for ten dollars is not an argument at all, though you is an optional argument. I'm deleting only the example because the term "tritransitive" is used in some contexts. I think this is just a bad example. — Zerida 19:55, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
On a semi-related note, the "tritransitive" example given doesn't even sound like a proper sentence to me. It sounds like a case of "throw the horse over the fence some hay." I'm not 100% sure about this, but I remember my seventh-grade teacher constantly lecturing about these kinds of sentences (and did he ever love to lecture). If you say, for instance, "My mom bought me some ice cream," it means the item your mom purchased is you, and then "ice cream" is randomly tacked onto the end of the sentence. That's the exact example my teacher used, and I think it applies here: "John traded Jane an apple for an orange" means that John put Jane up for trade as if she were a baseball card (or piece of fruit, as it were), and then "an apple for an orange" doesn't even fit into this sentence. It should be something like, "John traded his apple for Jane's orange." Again, I'm not completely sure if this is the same as what my teacher was saying, or if he's even right, but despite his lack of appealing personal qualities, he was a very smart man. So I'm assuming he's right, and I'm just not sure if this sentence is the same idea, which is why I didn't just go ahead and put in a different sentence. Thoughts? Cherry Red Toenails (talk) 05:11, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the language is becoming hacked to death by people who do not seem to know grammar. I think part of this is television and movies, especially the "bad guys" who often talk that way; trouble is, more and more, many of the supposedly "good guys" also use poor grammar because they are being depicted as often coming from the same "element" of society, whatever the heck that is supposed to imply. Hollywood could give us all a hand, IMO, by depicting the "good guys" like teachers and police using standard language. But I think an even bigger problem, by far, is a group of people I will refer to as the "elite" or the trendsetters -- these are people who seem to always manage to kind of win the word sweepstakes over the Internet. They invent new ways of talking, grammatically correct or not, word usage correct or not, and then spread them by meme. I am not really sure EXACTLY who these folks are, but I know for a fact I am not one of them. I cannot stand it when people start using a word incorrectly, and then it quickly becomes status quo and acceptable. "Ghetto classy" -- uhm, isn't "classy" an adjective or something like that? My fave -- oops, sorry -- is the word "cynical" because now, apparently it can mean two nearly diametrically opposite things. It can mean a severe form of something like skepticism about people and institutions for example, or it can mean someone who has dark or mischievous intentions. The only way to sort it out anymore is to re-read the passage two or three times... too much trouble. I think we need a democratically-elected language board, like many sane languages have, with direct oversight by the public and especially academics who just might know one or two things about language arts (you'd think, anyway). There would be disagreements still, but at least this way, the public would have some control over runaway abuse of our precious communications tool we (used to) know as plain, straightforward English. I mean, if a trendy person started a popular meme, we could adopt it if it checks out for consistency and the like. The idea here is to foster solid understanding via language. What we have now is leading us, I am afraid, toward a Tower of Babble.Subtlenuances (talk) 19:50, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
I would analyse the sentence "I bought you a book for ten dollars" as; "I (subject/nominative) bought you (indirect object/dative) a book (object/accusative) for ten dollars (adjectival phrase, the equivalent of "a ten dollar book"). I would not call for ten dollars "a third object". Arrivisto (talk) 13:03, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
To continue: "The teacher made the boy give a book to the girl". So: "The teacher (subject) made the boy (primary object) give a book (secondary object) to the girl (indirect object)". Is there is one verb (made …give), or two? If rephrased "the teacher FORCED (finite verb) the boy TO GIVE (infinitive verb) …" then it's two. So in ""The teacher made the boy give a book to the girl", the word "give" seems to be finite verb, but is really an infinitive without the "to ..". Arrivisto (talk) 13:18, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Transitive and Intransitive titles clueless[edit]

For learners of English, it is difficult to remember these two names for identifying verbs. These words have no connection to understanding the explanation of the words. It would be better if some other words were mainstream describers of these two words. For example, maybe a word like 'object verb' or 'O-verb' for transitive verb and 'Complete verb' or 'C-verb' for intransitive. I don't have the answer words to use but maybe someone does. It sure would be nice if English grammar terms were more friendly to learners. (talk) 13:39, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

The terms transitive and intransitive are so firmly established that any attempt to introduce some other nomenclature would probably be detrimental. The learners end up having to learn two sets of terms, the specific ones used to make learning easier and then the standard ones - twice the learning, twice the memory space. Furthermore, acronyms (O-verb and C-verb) increase the learning load. Ever read scientific writings that are packed full of acronyms? It sucks. Transitive and intransitive are not counter-intuitive. The action does or does not transit from a subject to an object. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tjo3ya (talkcontribs) 14:03, 19 April 2013

More cognitive capacity would be used if w/ transitive would be used but complete verb would also be confusing since it would seem "complete" would have a subject and object which is opposite to trans-verbs — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:14, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

Merge discussion for Transitive verb[edit]


An article that you have been involved in editing, Transitive verb, has been proposed for a merge with another article. If you are interested in the merge discussion, please participate by going here, and adding your comments on the discussion page. Thank you. Joeystanley (talk) 20:42, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

 Done. Following discussion at Talk:Monotransitive verb, that article was merged into this one. Cnilep (talk) 02:59, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Complex transitive[edit]

This article uses the label complex transitive for constructions with two arguments and an argument-like adjunct, as in "She broke the toothpick into tiny pieces." That terminology is certainly used in published literature – see for example Sandoval & Jelnick, "We define a complex transitive verb as consisting of an intransitive verb and an adjoined postpositional phrase" (1989; p. 350). The term I learned, however, was pseudo-ditransitive, as illustrated by Corral Esteban: "The following example shows a problematic situation provoked by the presence of a benefactive participant in another pseudo-ditransitive structure: Haŋpíkčeka kiŋ lená wé- Ø- čage [I made those moccasins for him]" (2012, p. 24). I believe such constructions are also called "transitive plus adjunct" or "transitive plus benefactive", and construction grammar sometimes calls them "load and spray constructions" or the like (e.g. Goldberg 2002).

Any road, this pretty specialized vocabulary. I think it needs to be explained as simply as possible for the benefit of non-linguists. It may also be good to mention the variety of terms used, perhaps in a footnote, for the benefit of linguistics students. Cnilep (talk) 02:42, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

I added some references to papers that discuss pseudo-transitive and complex transitive, and the paper I mentioned above that uses pseudo-ditransitive. I also changed the descriptions of the example sentences from "complex transitive" etc. to more naive descriptions of the number of objects and prepositional phrases. I think this is more accurate and I hope that it is not too difficult to understand, but it does get complicated. Cnilep (talk) 01:31, 9 June 2014 (UTC)


The article mentions Japanese and Polish, but most of the examples are from English and the the discussion is biased toward English grammar. Please help globalize the content by discussing transitivity and the place of transitive verbs in other languages, especially non-Indo-European ones. Cnilep (talk) 03:57, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Polish examples[edit]

I removed some description of Polish that suggested, "the definition of transitive verbs as those with one object is not universal" and offered Polish as a counter-example. That seems like a misunderstanding, or at least a difference of emphasis.

The text was added by User:Grzegorj in 2006. Grzegorz Jagodziński has since expanded his remarks on this page, which appears to be self-published work.

Jagodziński says that Polish direct objects may be marked with instrumental case, rather than the usual accusative or genitive, for some verbs. That is not the same thing as claiming that the definition of "transitive verb" does not apply in Polish. I'm not aware of anyone – certainly not the current version of this page – who defines "transitive verbs" as only those verbs with exactly one object, nor who define it in terms of particular case assignments. Cnilep (talk) 06:11, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

An example (of intransitive verb) in English is the verb to die.[edit]

Hi, regardless of the linguistic terminology, what about sentences like 'to die a hero('s life)'? Thanks in advance. --Backinstadiums (talk) 23:40, 8 March 2017 (UTC)