I'm trying to figure out if Portuguese verbs are characterised by "prepositional" and "non-prepositional", and if they are the equivalent of "intransitive" and"transitive" in English. How would one know if a verb is a "prepositional verb", for example, is it marked in a Portuguese dictionary or? Thanks.
You are on the right path!
Yes, they are "prepositional" and "non-prepositional".
But that is not equivalent to "transitive" and "intransitive".
And they don't necessarily match the English verbs.
Everything is marked in a dictionary and works like this:
Intransitive verbs will take no object at all. (Ex: chover/to rain, respirar/to breath).
Transitive verbs take objects, some objects need prepositions, others don't.
So the transitive verbs divide into "transitivo direto" and "transitivo indireto" (those are the "non-prepositional" and "prepositional" respectively).
Some verbs might take two objects, one of each type, those are called "transitivo direto e indireto".
- Intransitivo: ela respira (she breathes)
- Transitivo direto: eu tenho um livro (I have a book)
- Transitivo indireto: eu gosto de bolo (I like cakes)
- Transitivo direto e indireto: eu dou o carro a ele (I give the car to him)
I'm afraid there is no logical way to know which ones are "direto" and "indireto". Dictionary and experience are the tools.
Here's a list of contractions with "de" and "em": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_personal_pronouns#Contractions_with_the_prepositions_de_and_em