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Vencer has two main meanings that don’t seem at all connected. One is to defeat or conquer and the other is to expire.

When vencer is used to mean defeat or overcome it is used in a straight forward manner. “Bill overcame the temptation” would become “Bill venció la tentación.” It is a transitive verb meaning it must have a direct object, i.e. “the temptation.”

When used to mean expire or become due the verb is in its intransitive form (it does not have a direct object). “They let the milk expire” becomes “Ellos dejaron vencer la leche.”

I don’t pretend to understand transitive and intransitive verbs, but there are a lot of verb meanings that make a whole world of difference depending on how they are used.

UPDATE: I found this article over at Daily Writing Tips that explains transitive and intransitive verbs a bit better.


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