Transitive verbs in Spanish (A2)

You probably already know what a transitive verb is, but let´s do a quick revision. Verbs can be classified depending on whether or not they imply that the action directly influences an object or person (the direct object). If they do, they are called transitive verbs, if they don’t, we call them intransitive verbs.

Transitive Verbs in Spanish

Transitive verbs, VERBOS TRANSITIVOS in Spanish.  need to be used with a direct object to complete it though. A direct object is essentially the person or thing the subject performs an action upon. We can identify the Direct Object of a sentence by asking the verb what? or whom? In the examples below, the expressions in bold are the direct object of the sentences.

Mi esposa me regaló un reloj por mi cumpleaños (My wife gave me a watch for my birthday).

¿Tienes alguna pregunta? (Do you have a question?).

Mis padres están intentando vender su casa (My parents are trying to sell their house).

Ayer, Carlos me dijo lo que había pasado (Yesterday, Carlos told me what had happened).

No recuerdo su nombre (I don’t remember her name).

Very often, a direct object is replaced by a direct object pronoun, click on the link if you want to know more about this related topic:

Fernando compró una casa en 2005 y la vendió al año siguiente (Fernando bought a house in 2005 and he sold it one year later).

Transitive verbs in Spanish
La madre está durmiendo al bebé.

Most of the Spanish verbs are transitive.  The good news is that, very often, Spanish verbs and their English counterparts match each other intransitivity, although there are a few exceptions. For example, dormir (to sleep) can be transitive in Spanish but not in English (in the example on the right “el bebé” is the direct object). On the other hand,  nadar (to swim) is transitive in English but not in Spanish. So it is good you check the dictionary.

List of some important Spanish Transitive verbs

Ayudar To help
Conocer To know
Creer To think / believe
Deber To owe
Decir To say
Dejar To leave
Encontrar To find
Llevar To take
Poner To put
Practicar To practice
Querer To want
Saber To know
Seguir To follow
Tener To have
Tomar To take, drink

What about Spanish intrasitive verbs

If verbs do not imply a direct influence on a person or object, i.e. they don´t take a direct object, they are called intransitive verbs (verbos intransitivos in Spanish). Learn more about intransitive verbs.

Mi abuelo murió muy joven (My grandfather died when very young).

El bebé estuvo llorando toda la noche (The baby was crying the whole night).

Mi perro se tumbó a la sombra debajo de un árbol (My dog lies in the shade under the tree).


Verbs that can be both,TRANSITIVES and INTRANSITIVES in Spanish

Many verbs can be both transitive and intransitive. An action verb with a direct object is transitive while an action verb with no direct object is intransitive.

¿Puedes abrirme la puerta, por favor? (Could you open the door for me, please?). TRANSITIVE.

Las tiendas abren a las 9 de la mañana (Shops open at 9 a.m.). INTRANSITIVE.

¿Te has lavado las manos? (Have you washed your hands?). TRANSITIVE.

Lola se lavó, se vistió y se marchó (Lola washed, dressed, and went out). INTRANSITIVE.

Por favor, escribe tu dirección aquí (Please, write your address here). TRANSITIVE.

Lauren puede leer y escribir en español muy bien (Lauren can read and write in Spanish quite well). INTRANSITIVE.

Practice the Spanish transitive verbs with our quizzes

Before starting with the interactive activities, remember you can contact your tutor with any question you have about the transitive verbs. Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?

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