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Hello Teachers,

I found following examples and explanations for transitive active verbs.

(1) Did Rulon forget his new title? [did forget - transitive active (title receives the action and is the direct object)]

(2) Chris has a new digital camera! [has - transitive active (camera receives the action and is the direct object)]

I am a bit confused by the explanation that 'title' and 'camera' receive actions.

(a) Would you please explain how do the 'title' and 'camera' receive actions?

(b) In addition, is a verb identified as 'transitive' or 'intransitive' based on the presence of the direct object that follows the verb?
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Comments  
(a) The idea is that, whatever action the verb expresses, the subject carries out that action and the direct object receives it. The problem is that the word action is not broad enough to cover everything that every transitive verb might express.

Action is adequate in describing hit in "He hit the ball." Hitting fits the definition of an action. But one does not readily think of forgetting and having as actions. For grammatical purposes, broaden your definition of action to cover whatever happening a transitive verb expresses.

-Rulon did forget what? His new title.
-Chris has what? A new digital camera.

(b) Yes, a transitive verb is one that has an object, and an intransitive verb is one that does not.
I was told that:

(1) I play football. (play as a transitive verb)

(2) I play with my friends. (play as an intransitive verb)

Do you agree?? How would tou elaborate?

Thanks!!
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Hello guys

Some linguists say that a transitive verb are such a verb that the object of the verb receives subject's action expressed by the verb and changes its state as the result. But I think we have to remind this sort of theory only holds in typical cases. Take a transitive verb "resemble" for example. "Jack resembles his father". Do you think the state of "his father" would be changed by Jack's 'action' of resembling him? As seen in such an example, this kind of semantic interpretation about verbal transitivity often contradicts with actual use of transitive verbs. So I think we had better define a transitive verb from the viewpoint of what sentential structure the verb is used in. My theory is : if a verb takes a sentential structure of SVO, SVOC, or SVO, then the verb is transitive.

Speaking about "forget", "forget O" is defined as "cease to retain O in memory". So the object O goes away from the subject's memory as the result of the subject's forgetting it. So this verb seems not to contradict with the semantic interpretation of verbal transitivity.

paco
Hello Joey-Five

You are right. The intransitive "play" means "amuse/divert oneself by doing something". The transitive "play a game" is "exercise a game (=a definite form of amusement)". It is likely both uses were established already in the era of Old English (before 10 th century).

paco
Paco2004Hello guys

So I think we had better define a transitive verb from the viewpoint of what sentential structure the verb is used in. My theory is : if a verb takes a sentential structure of SVO, SVOC, or SVO, then the verb is transitive.

paco
You've written SVO twice there. Did you mean to?

The SVOC is known as the complex-transitive.
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Sorry, Paco, I mistyped earlier. I meant to say that the S - V - Od - PC construction is known as the complex-transitive.
Paco2004Hello guys

Some linguists say that a transitive verb are such a verb that the object of the verb receives subject's action expressed by the verb and changes its state as the result. But I think we have to remind this sort of theory only holds in typical cases.
paco
Yes, that's correct. That idea is just one element in a whole range of transitivity properties that a clause may have (see Hopper and Thompson. 1980)
Paco2004Hello guys

Some linguists say that a transitive verb are such a verb that the object of the verb receives subject's action expressed by the verb and changes its state as the result. But I think we have to remind this sort of theory only holds in typical cases.

paco
Here is a the first item form a list of ten regarding High Transitivity versus Low Transitivity ( suggested by Hopper and Thompson (1980))

(H) high transitivity

(L) low transitivity

1. Number of participants. Two or more (H). One participant (L). High transitivity has two or more participants allowing transfer of the action from one to another. Low transitivity has one participant, disallowing transfer. This feature alone is what some grammars mean by "transitivity".

They detail 9 more characteristics that need to be considered in the scale of transitivity to intransitivity.

I can't find a copy online at the moment, but i'll let you have it if I do find one.
Hello Anon

Sorry, I mistyped. The last one should be SVOO.

paco
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