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indirect transitive French verbs

A French verb is deemed transitive if it has an object, either a direct object or an indirect object. Intransitive verbs on the other hand never have objects.

So in the sentence Je parle à ma mere. the verb parler is acting as an indirect transitive verb according to the Texas university website for learning French - https://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/pr/vti1.html

My question is how can you tell if a French verb is acting as an indirect transitive verb or simply as an intransitive verb ? For instance in the following sentences, are the verbs entrer & courir acting as indirect transitive verbs or intransitive verbs.

il entre dans le bureau
il court à l’école

Finally, do you know a reference that provides a list of indirect transitive French verbs ?

July 10, 2017




In the context of "il entre dans le bureau", enter is a indirect transitive verb, but he can be a intransitive verb (ex: My little brother enters)

And "il court à l'école", courir is acting as intransitive verbs.

I found this list of indirect transitive verbs : http://www.conjugaisonverbe.fr/verbes/liste-verbes-transitifs-indirects.html

(I learn English, sorry for errors. Hope you will understand) :)

Cordialement, Maddrex



Thank you very much. One clarification. You say the verb entrer can act as an indirect transitive verb but in the reference you provided to a list of indirect transitive verbs, the verb entrer doesn't appear. Is that because the list is not exhaustive ?



It's depend of the context of the sentence, the verb can be intransitif or transitif

ex: Il a poussé sa voiture (He pushed his car) = a poussé is a direct transitive verb, because we can say : He pushed who? /He pushed what ? The answer: His car

Cette plante a poussé! (This plant grew)= a poussé is a intransitive verb, because we can't say: The plant grew what?/ This plant grew who? No answer

I know it's not clear, i will try to detailed this more

We know if it is a intransitive if there no answer to questions/ transitive direct if there a answer to the question( he pushed who or what?) / transitive indirect if there a answer to the question(he pushed "insert a preposition" who or what?)

In French, we use this to distinguish all of those verbs!


There have a lot of videos on the subject on the Internet and i see that, in English, we don't learn this in the same way as French xD But i found this: https://youtu.be/SpL2o3jjfoA


I think that many verbs can be either intransitive or transitive with direct and/or direct objects.


The wordreference website is handy for checking parts of speech, definitions, and usage of verbs or any other words.



In your first example, "ma mère" is an indirect object. However, I'm not entirely sure if the locations can be considered an indirect object in these sentences (caveat: my sense of grammar tends to be more intuitive so I'm not an expert). This was an interesting discussion that I found about this. Perhaps "dans le bureau" and "a l'école" would be considered prepositional phrases rather than objects? https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/direct-object-as-location.2188290/

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