I've read the whole thread, but Oakbird's question still seems unanswered. (Sorry to hassle you. I imagine you're doing language instruction here as a favor to us, so don't feel you have to answer!)
Anyway, the usage of the preposition isn't obvious, whether or not the verb is transitive... unless you're saying that an intransitive verb always has one version (say, the one with EM?), and a transitive verb is always non-prepositional, in which case both versions are correct.
Is that what you're saying?
What I meant was that the verb "tocar" can be followed, or not, by preposition, so we can have "tocar" and "tocar em", but there is no difference in what the verb means, so whenever you say "tocar" or "tocar em" you will be saying "to touch". There is only one exception, when the verb "tocar" means "a duty". For example: "Toca a mim comprar frutas", what could be translated as "It is my duty to buy fruits", however it is rarely used. Hope it helps.
Ok so a transitive verb is one where a direct object can "receive" the action of the verb. For example. The boy threw the ball. First ask yourself, "what is the verb?" It's threw. Now ask yourself, "is there a "what" that is being thrown? Yes. The boy "threw" --> THE BALL therefore, the ball is the direct object, and therefore the verb threw in this sentence is transitive.
An intransitive verb in contrast has no object associated with the verb. Lets look at, "She arrived late." Again, first thing you do, ask yourself "what is the verb?" It's "arrived". Now is there an object associated with arrived. Well no, because it's weird to think that you could ever "arrive something". It makes no sense. Therefore it's intransitive. I hope this explanation isn't too confusing!
It "might" be in some cases, when you say "Eu gosto". But that's not natural, you will surely ask "gosta de que?"
Gostar is SURELY transitive with indirect object in most cases.
See here: (where vti means "verbo transitivo indireto")
http://michaelis.uol.com.br/moderno/portugues/index.php?lingua=portugues-portuguespalavra=gostar (damn Duolingo, destroys the links)
Maybe the acronyms are very similar, both intransitive and indirect transitive uses i, n and t.
Check "chover" and compare. "Chover" is intransitive.
A sentence has three main parts:
- The subject (the one that does an action)
- The verb (the action)
- The object (the target of the action)
Ex: Eu como banana:
Subject = eu
Verb = como
Based on this, there are four kinds of verbs:
- Intransitivo (intransitive) - Takes no object
- Transitivo direto - Takes an object without preposition
- Transitivo indireto - Takes an object with preposition
- Transitivo direto e indireto - Takes both
1. Eu pulo = I jump
2. Eu como banana
3. Eu gosto de banana
4. Eu entrego o suco para ela (direct: o suco / indirect: para ela)
"Tocar em" means physically touch somebody or something. Without the "em" it could be understood either as be touched "emotionally":
- "aquela cena do filme me tocou" -> "that scene from the movie has touched me".
...or even as play an instrument (even a bell):
- "eu toco guitarra" -> "I play [the] guitar".
The sentence doesn't mean "we don't beat women". The sentence means "we don't touch women", and if there's a domestic violence background, then you would infer that "touch" means "beat" in this context.
But the sentence could also be said by a group of shy men that are afraid of physical content with people of the opposite sex. No domestic violence intended here.
Sometimes, Duolingo makes no sense : after three or four 'the boy speaks to the shark', 'There is a bee in the bottle', 'I touch the plate'... I think those are just statements making us work on vocabulary and grammar more than meaningful phrases... c'est un peu Radio Londres!!!
You have a good question.
You might imagine a reason someone says, "We do not touch women." It could be for religious reasons, or it could have to do with sexual orientation. It could be a sarcastic statement made by someone who very much likes to touch women. In all of these cases, "Nós não tocamos nas mulheres" would not be be better.
I will say, though, tocar em is a pretty weird construction to me!
The usage is exactly the same in my native Spanish. It never actually means "duty". It's more like saying "it's my turn", or "it's up to me", or "it falls on me"; all of which are idiomatic phrases. As a visual aid, I imagine someone selecting from among a group of people and touching the chosen one.