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387. The Direct Object of a transitive verb is put in the Accusative (§ 274).

a. The Accusative of the Direct Object denotes (1) that which is directly affected, or (2) that which is caused or produced by the action of the verb:—

  1. (1) Brūtus Caesarem interfēcit, Brutus killed Cæsar.
  2. (2) aedem facere, to make a temple. [Cf. proelium pūgnāre, to fight a battle, § 390.]

Note.--There is no definite line by which transitive verbs can be distinguished from intransitive. Verbs which usually take a direct object (expressed or implied) are called transitive, but many of these are often used intransitively or absolutely. Thus timeō, I fear, is transitive in the sentence inimīcum timeō, I fear my enemy, but intransitive (absolute) in nōlī timēre, don't be afraid. Again, many verbs are transitive in one sense and intransitive in another: as,—Helvētiōs superāvērunt Rōmānī, the Romans overcame the Helvetians; but nihil superābat, nothing remained (was left over). So also many verbs commonly intransitive may be used transitively with a slight change of meaning: as,—rīdēs, you are laughing; but rīdēs, you're laughing at me.

b. The object of a transitive verb in the active voice becomes its subject in the passive, and is put in the nominative (§ 275):—

  1. Brūtus Caesarem interfēcit, Brutus killed Cæsar.
  2. Caesar ā Brūtō interfectus est, Cæsar was killed by Brutus.
  3. domum aedificat, he builds a house.
  4. domus aedificātur, the house is building (being built).

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