Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Transitive verbs are verbs which can take a direct object. In the sentence

  • The men love their children.

the noun children is a direct object and the verb love is transitive.

Similarly, in the sentence                                         

  • The children like jelly.

the noun jelly is a direct object and the verb like is transitive.

On the other hand, in the sentence

  • Snow fell yesterday.

the verb fell (fall) is intransitive because it does not take an object.

Similarly, in the sentence

  • The situation improved.

the verb improved (improve) is intransitive.

Many verbs can be either transitive or intransitive according to context. Thus, in the sentence

  • They both play the piano.

the verb play is transitive, while, in the sentence

  • The children play on the beach every day.

the verb play is intransitive.

Similarly, in the sentence

  • They climb the highest mountains.

the verb climb is transitive, while in the sentence,

  • The paths climb steeply.

the verb climb is intransitive.

In the following sentences the bolded words form a transitive verb:

  • We know the truth.
  • They hate the climate here.
  • I chose the blue curtains.
  • You will adore him.
  • She crossed the street.
  • We are painting the house.
  • They dig the garden at weekends.
  • We appreciate the gesture.
  • They welcome the praise.
  • The doctor cured him.
  • We want more money.
  • They drink red wine.
  • She is picking flowers.

In the following sentences the bolded words form an intransitive verb:

  • A figure appeared.
  • She blushes easily.
  • These plants grow rapidly.
  • We failed.
  • They work hard.
  • He died yesterday.
  • He talks constantly.
  • Things are going badly.
  • I walk with difficulty.
  • They ran away.
  • She is sleeping.

Direct object and indirect object

The object of a sentence is the part of a sentence that is acted upon or is affected by the verb. It usually follows the verb to which it relates.

There are two possible forms of object in a sentence or clause—a direct object or an indirect object.

A direct object refers to the person or thing that is directly affected by the action described by the verb. The direct object can be a noun, and in the sentence

  • The girl hit the ball.

the word ball is a noun and the direct object.

A direct object can also be a pronoun, and in the sentence

  • She hit him.

the word him is a pronoun and the direct object. In the following sentences the bolded words form a direct object:

  • The dog bit the child.
  • He dislikes cats.
  • We loved them.
  • People admire her.
  • He wanted a comfortable city-centre flat.
  • She lost her diamond engagement ring.
  • I don’t know what you mean.
  • I asked why you did that.

An indirect object usually refers to the person who benefits from the action described by the verb, often by receiving something. In the sentence

  • Her father sent the school a letter.

the school is the indirect object and a letter is the direct object.

In the following sentences the bolded words form an indirect object.

  • I sent you the book.
  • She showed her mother the letter.
  • We had to tell her the bad news.
  • They gave the children some sweets.
  • Mary bought them some magazines for the journey.
  • Pass me the salt, please.

Thanks for reading about “transitive and intransitive verbs”.

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