Resign: Transitive or intransitive?

We often see the frequent occurrence of the word resign and its derivative in the print, electronic and social media thanks to politicians who hand in resignation letters. Look at these news headlines

Published: 18th October 2013 01:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2013 01:17 PM   |  A+A-

We often see the frequent occurrence of the word resign and its derivative in the print, electronic and social media thanks to politicians who hand in resignation letters. Look at these news headlines:

Rift in BJP open after Advani’s resignation from party posts.

Advani resigns from BJP, Nitish may say goodbye to alliance.

LK Advani resigns from all party posts.

Advani resigns for the third time in eight years.

L K Advani resigns all his leadership posts.

The verb resign was used transitively and intransitively in many tweets, news reports and comments. This prompted a reader to send in this query: Is ‘resign’ a transitive or intransitive verb? Which is correct: ‘resign from a post’ or ‘resign a post’? 

‘Resign’ is used as a transitive as well as an intransitive verb. It has the following three different meanings as a transitive verb:

To accept as inevitable  (no choice) Eg.  He resigned himself to the corrupt system by paying `10 lakhs as capitation fee to get an engineering seat for his son.

To give up (a position), especially by formal notification. Eg. She resigned her teaching post in order to focus on writing.

To relinquish (a privilege, right, or claim) Eg. Ashok resigned his right to be the Head of the department of Mathematics.

As an intransitive verb, ‘resign’ means ‘to give up one’s job or office’ in a very formal manner. Here are sample sentences:

Mrs Gomez resigned from the board of directors of Kavin Mutual Benefit Fund.

Yielding to pressure from the opposition party, Mr Tom Mathew resigned from the presidency. 

Which is correct: ‘to resign from a post’ or ‘to resign a post’? The word resign has been used intransitively in many news headlines and reports and only in very few news headlines and reports is it used as a transitive verb. Here are some more authentic examples in which the word ‘resign’ is used either transitively or intransitively:

I hereby resign the Office of President of the United States — Richard M Nixon

Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will resign the papacy because of ill health — ANSA.

President Nixon to resign from office.

Hillary Clinton resigns from Secretary Of State post

In the first two examples above, resign is used as a transitive verb as it is followed by objects, namely the Office of President and the Papacy. In the next two sentences (iii & iv) resign is used as an intransitive verb and is followed by the preposition from. Based on these examples, it can be stated that both to resign from a post and to resign a post are acceptable but the first one is more common than the second one as illustrated in the resignation letters below:

I have decided, therefore, to resign from the three main fora of the party - LKA

I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as Placement Officer effective 21 June 2013.

I am writing to notify you that I am resigning from my position as Finance Officer.

The words closest in meaning to the word resign’ are leave and quit. Both can be used as transitive verbs.

Advani quits all party posts.

I am writing this letter to inform you that I am leaving my position as Quality Assurance Manager with JVC.

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