Determine the transitivity of the verb

The transitivity of a verb in Russian is determined by its ability to designate an action directed directly at an object. Grammatically, this is expressed by the fact that the verb rules the noun in without a preposition. There are many examples of such constructions - “catch fish”, “write a letter”, “clean the carpet”.

How to determine the transitivity of the verb? There is nothing difficult in such an operation, it’s enough to mentally ask him a question: “Whom?”, “What?” If the verb is used in a negative context (don't buy milk), the case changes to genitive - this should be remembered.


Meaning of transitive and intransitive verbs

Linguists have found that the transitivity and intransigence of the verb are differentiated by the meaning of words. Thus, transitive verbs refer to various actions on objects. They can be created, destroyed or modified (build a building, chop firewood, destroy a house). The object can also remain unchanged (congratulate mom). The same list includes combinations denoting the sensory perception of an object with the verbs “watch”, “listen”, etc.

In turn, for intransitive verbs the values ​​are characteristic:

  • physical or mental condition (to doze);
  • the appearance of a sign, its gain (blush);
  • displacement or location in space (go sit);
  • classes, skills (to manage).

Morphological signs of intransigence

The main difference between transitive and intransitive verbs lies in the ability to form passive participles. Compare the number of non-personal forms of the words "draw" and "walk":


Valid participles







Valid participles




Sometimes the verb transitivity is determined from the infinitive. There are derivational types of verbs that cannot be transitive:

Suffix based


What part of the speech is formed





Get stronger, go blind, get wet




Malice (however, to feel exhortations - exceptions)



nominal parts of speech

To mollify




Lazy, carpentry

Reflexive verbs

Of all the formal features, the transitivity and intransigence of the verb postfixes - / - cb are best distinguished. Once upon a time they were forms of the pronoun "self" until they lost their independence. This origin of postfix caused the specific name of the verbs - reflexive (the action is aimed at the agent itself). Compare:wash faceandwash my face.

All reflexive verbs are intransitive. And it is absolutely clear: why use an additional noun next to them, if the transitivity of a verb lies in the structure of the word itself?

Transitivity and intransitivity of the verb

Particularly difficult cases

Sometimes the question of how to determine the transitivity of a verb can confuse. The main difficulty lies in the fact that certain words with the meaning of the action can be used in different contexts in different ways. Consider the sentences: "Child reading a bookand "The child is already reading. ".In the first case, there is an action directed at a specific object - a book. The main purpose of the second sentence is to transfer information that the child is able to perceive what is written, that is, the verb "read" appears as intransitive.Another, more understandable example, with the word "shut up." Compare: "All shut up at last "and "Shut up a certain fact "(that is, intentionally not to mention anything).

How to determine the transitivity of the verb?Before determining the transitivity of a verb, it is necessary to check whether the noun standing next to it in the accusative case has an adverbial value. In the sentence “We were engaged all night long” they use the nominal component as a temporal characteristic, and not the object over which the action is performed.

Some transitive verbs control nouns in the genitive case outside the negation (buy notebooks, pick berries). In other cases, parallel forms are possible.wait trolley / trolleywhich differentiate according to the category of certainty / uncertainty. So, after the phrase “I'm waiting for a trolley bus” I want to add “under number 5”. But the form of the genitive case implicitly indicates that the speaker himself is not completely sure what kind of vehicle he needs. Just waiting and everything.

A similar situation with designs like “drink tea / tea”. The existence of two parallel forms should not be confusing.Genitive indicates that they are going to drink itcup / glasstea However, in the first and in the second case the verb is transitive.

Verbality in Russian

For the curious

From young children, you can often hear phrases like “take a walk / swim me.” Such an error indicates a good sense of language, which is endowed with every child. A few centuries ago, we had many more verbs that govern nouns without prepositions in the accusative case. Now their number has decreased. Perhaps, someday, the transitivity of the verb in Russian will cease to exist altogether.

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