The verb is undoubtedly the most crucial word of the sentence, and it is the subject of many descriptions (see description of the verb). The first is whether it is an action verb or a state verb.

We can’t talk on verbs without addressing transitive and intransitive verbs. A verb’s intransitivity or transitivity is something a native speaker will intuit, but whether you’re a native speaker or a student, knowing the distinction between the two is more fun than yodeling.

What Are Transitive Verbs?

Transitive verbs are actions verbs where objects take that action. Transitive Verb is one which possesses a doer (who perform an act) and a receiver (who feels the impact of the action):

He shot the goat. He = doer, shot = verb = action, goat = receiver = object

On it’s own “I shot” doesn’t make much sense.

Some examples of transitive verbs are addressed, borrow, bring, discuss, raise, offer, pay, write, promise, and have.

Here are some more samples of transitive verbs:

  • The instructor addressed the student’s question.
  • The spokesman explained different exam studying approaches in the seminar
  • John borrowed the Guide book from his classmate because he forgot her own.
  • Can you bring your textbook to our study gathering?
  • Mercy gave the gift to her Uncle.
  • The board members will allocate money for the new project.
  • He eats an apple
  • He drinks wine
  • He speaks of his childhood
  • John likes (“Rice” is the direct object of “likes”)
  • You drank coffee. (“coffee” is the direct object of “drank”)
  • He punished (“me” is the direct object of “punished”)
  • I give him the book. (“book” is the direct object, and “him” is the indirect object of “give”)
  • I cooked some beans.
  • I appreciated my coach.
  • I roasted a yam.

As you can view all of the verbs above are transitive due to the object that receives the action of the verb. An excellent tip for spotting is that transitive verbs transfer the action to the object.

What Is Intransitive Verb?

An intransitive verb does not take an object. Using an object directly after an intransitive verb will devise a wrong sentence.  Intransitive verbs are still action verbs, but no object takes the action of the verb. The action can be done on its own without being support by an object.

Hari runs. Here, Hari = doer, runs = verb = action. No object.

Some other examples of intransitive verbs are deteriorated, increase, vote, sit, originate, fluctuate, laugh, and trend.

Examples of an intransitive verb in sentence are:

  • The patient’s health deteriorated
  • Ahmad voted in the local election.
  • May I sit here?
  • Attendance grew at the weekly study sittings as finals drew near.
  • Micheal laughed.
  • You’ve grown since I saw you last.
  • I cried.
  • I laughed.
  • The cat jumped.
  • The pupils arrived at the residency in the UK.
  • She’s been singing a lot.

In all of the cases above, the subject is doing the action, and there is no object to receive it.

Verbs That Are Both Transitive and Intransitive

Some verbs can be both transitive and intransitive; this depends on the situation.  In some cases, such a verb may require an object, while in others it does not require an object.

Example Sentences

  • We will continue the lecture after the break. (transitive)
  • The lecture continued after the break. (intransitive)
  • John returned the plate to the kitchen. (transitive)
  • The students returned to school after the holiday. (intransitive)

If you are unsure about whether a verb is transitive or intransitive, you can check a dictionary.

Brought to you by the KidsEnglishCollege™ Editorial Team.

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