"La niña depende de sus padres."
Translation:The girl depends on her parents.
If the full verb structure is "depende de", meaning "depends on", that is what should be highlighted here, not just the verb "depende". The same is true with verbs that require the "a" when the object of the action is a person, which is a basic element of Spanish grammar, if I understand correctly.
Firstly, I don't know of any master list, but the dictionary will tell you whether a verb is transitive through the abbreviations (vi) for verb-intransitive and (vt) for verb transitive. But secondly, I don't think there is either a direct or indirect object here. The parents are the objects of a prepositional phrase beginning with "de". This analysis leads to the same result, though. There is no direct object and therefor no personal "a", which is only used for direct objects.
Susanna, it is too much to explain here, but I will give you a couple of reverences for you to read. The best online dictionary IMO is http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/to%20look .
The good thing is most transitive and intransitive verbs are the same in English as in Spanish. But BEWARE there are many exceptions, so it is best to use the dictionary.
I do have a reference that I think will help you.
Hope this helps.
jfgordy. I wonder if you could help me with a question that has been bothering me for a while. Several times I've seen people make the argument in connection with personal 'a' that if the verb is intransitive, the object can't be a direct object and therefore must be indirect (and therefore not take the personal a). But one of my books has the following sentence: " In order to have an indirect object in a sentence, there must be a direct object, either real or implied." But that implies that an intransitive verb could never carry an indirect object either!!?? Can you clarify this for me?
Thanks for asking me although I am not at all an expert, but intransitive verbs do not have objects.
Indirect objects answer the question "To whom?" or "For whom? the action of the verb is performed.
The IO tells us where the DO is going, so if there is not a DO, there can't be an indirect object unless the DO is implied.
Ex: She writes him every week. Him is the IO and the DO is an implied 'DO' which is 'letter'.
As you have said already, you can infer that intransitive verbs to not take DO's or IO's.
All though I hesitate to say never.
Thanks jfgordy. Your reply now occupies a place of honor in my grammar book.
Oh thank you! I was longing for someone to ignore the obvious situation of a child being dependent on her parents and argue for being dependent on someone else's - his, your, their - completely unspecified.... Looked like i was getting to the end of the comments and it wasn't gonna happen but ....hooray!