Spanish Intransitive Verbs  

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Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive verbs express a state, as "to live," "to sleep," or an action that does not go beyond the doer, as "to go," "to walk."

The Spanish language abounds in Intransitive Pronominal verbs, i.e., verbs conjugated, same as the reflexive verbs, with a double pronoun of the same person all through, as:

Quejarse (to complain).
Pres. Indic. Yo me quejo, tú te quejas, él se queja, nosotros nos quejamos, vosotros os quejáis, ellos se quejan.
Fut. Indic. Yo me quejaré, tú te quejarás, él se quejará, etc.

These, of course, must not be confused with the Reflexive verbs. In the reflexive verb, we have an action that passes from the doer and falls on the doer itself, as:

  • Yo me amo: I love myself.

Whilst in a neuter pronominal the action does not go beyond the doer.

Intransitive Pronominal Verbs are of three kinds:

1. Those which are always pronominal, as:

Quejarse (to complain) Jactarse (to boast)
Avergonzarse (to be ashamed) Maravillarse[1] (to wonder)
Alegrarse[1] (to rejoice) Proponerse[1] (to intend, to purpose)
Arrepentirse (to repent)
Hacerse[1], volverse[1] (to become) Desanimarse[1] (to feel discouraged)
Footnote 1: Some of these verbs may be also Transitive verbs with a modified meaning, as: Alegrar (to gladden), Maravillar (to surprise), Proponer (to propose). Here the pronominal form marks the difference between Transitive and Intransitive.

2. A few which, when used pronominally, have their meaning intensified or more or less modified, as:

Ir (to go) Irse (to go away)
Reir (to laugh) Reírse (to laugh at, suggesting scorn)
Entender (to understand) Entenderse de paños (to be a judge of cloths)
Dormir (to sleep) Dormirse (to fall asleep)
Correr (to run) Correrse (to make a slip of the tongue).

3. Many which may be used pronominally or otherwise without any appreciable or definable modification of meaning, as--

Estar, estarse (to be)
Quedar, quedarse (to remain)
Casar (con), casarse (con), (to marry)
Pensar, pensarse (to think)
Yo pienso, or me pienso que sí (I think so)
Me escapó de la memoria or (it escaped my memory).
Se me escapó de la memoria (it escaped my memory).

In the case of this third kind, students should not indulge freely in the pronominal form, but should wait until they see it in the reading of good books, because, although the meaning is practically the same in all cases, still there are "finesses" of shade which practice alone can teach.

Irregular Verbs.

We shall give only those Primary Tenses which are irregular and the Derivative Tenses when they are not formed regularly from the Primary Tenses from which they are derived[2]--

Footnote 2: For Primary and Derivative Tenses see Synopsis at the end.
Pensar (to think).[3]
Pres. Indic. Pienso-as-a, pensamos, pensáis, piensan.
Pres. Subj. Piense-es-e, pensemos, penséis, piensen.
Imperative Piensa, pensad (reg.).
Acordar (to agree).[3]
Pres. Indic. Acuerdo-as-a, acordamos, acordáis, acuerdan.
Pres. Subj. Acuerde-es-e, acordemos, acordéis, acuerden.
Imperative Acuerda, acordad (reg.).

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