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Transitive and Intransitive verbs

Verbs are a complex and necessary component of communication. There are various types of verbs, but we'll focus on two of them: transitive and intransitive verbs.

Let us try and understand both of these verbs Transitive and Intransitive verbs. Also read through the examples, usage tips to explore the difference between a transitive verb and an intransitive verb.

Transitive and Intransitive verbs

Verbs and Direct Objects-What You Must Know

Before going into the distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs, there are are a couple things you must known and understand-verbs and direct objects.

Verbs are words that describe an action, an event, or a state of being. The verbs are highlighted in the following examples:

  • I asked a novel from her.
  • He became enraged.
  • She is ecstatic.

A sentence complement is a direct object. These are nouns or pronouns that gain verbal action and respond to the questions "whom?" or "what?" The direct objects are highlighted in the instances below:

  • Thomas threw the football over the boundary.
  • Betty consumed the banana.
  • The two boys tightly grasped their mother.

Transitive and Intransitive verbs

Let's look at transitive and intransitive verbs now that we've covered verbs and direct objects.

1. Transitive Verbs

Verbs with an object, in other words, the verbs that have an object, are called transitive verbs. That object may be a person or a thing that is affected by the action of the verb. There can be the passive form of the transitive verb.


  • Rohan hits the ball. (Here 'hits' is the transitive verb that affects the object 'the ball')
  • My dog ate my homework. (here 'ate' is the transitive verb followed by the object 'my homework')
  • Mehak sang a beautiful song.(here 'sang' is a transitive verb followed by an object 'a beautiful song')
  • The pilot landed the plane safely. (Here 'landed' is the transitive verb followed by the object 'plane')
  • I enjoy my science lessons. (here 'enjoy' is the transitive verb followed by the object 'my science lesson')
  • The shot sank the ship. (here 'sank' is the transitive verb followed by the object 'the ship')
  • Do you see the pole star? ( here 'see' is the transitive verb followed by the object 'the pole star')

A transitive verb also may have two objects 'direct object' (the thing someone does or gives or usually the name of the thing), and 'indirect object' (someone who receives the action, in other words, the person to whom something is given or for whom something is done).


  • Kiran gave me a pen. (Here, 'pen' is the direct object and 'me' is the indirect object.
  • My mother gave me a watch. (here 'watch' is the direct object and 'me' is the indirect object)
  • My friend told me a secret. (Here, 'secret' is the direct verb, and 'me' is the indirect verb.

Some more examples of the transitive verb

  • Rohan was painting the wall.
  • Reena cooked a sandwich.
  • Ram and Shyam were reading a book.
  • John sent an email to his friend.
  • Sunil opened the door.
  • I visited my friend.
  • Someone rang the door.

2. Intransitive Verb

The verb without an object, in other words, the verb that doesn't have an object, is called an intransitive verb. There cannot be the passive form of an intransitive verb.


  • We sing so well.
  • They went home early.
  • Some TV programs are very
  • He swims
  • The train stopped.
  • Rani keeps her things neatly.
  • The children were
  • All the birds
  • Rohan was
  • Reena
  • Ram and Shyam were

Some important points about transitive and intransitive verb

  • Some verbs may be transitive in one sentence and intransitive in another.


She cooked slowly. (Here, the verb 'cooked' has no object, and it cannot be passivized, so it is intransitive).

She cooked a sandwich. (Here, the verb 'cooked' has an object 'sandwich', and it can be passivized, so it is a transitive verb).

Some ants fight very fiercely. (Intransitive)

Some ants fought the wasps. (Transitive)

The bus stopped suddenly. (Intransitive)

The driver stopped the bus. (Transitive)

Ram spoke loudly. (Intransitive)

Ram spoke the truth. (Transitive)

  • In the sentence 'he killed himself,' the subject and the object both refer to the same person. Here the verb is used reflexively, so there is no object, and it cannot be passivized. Therefore it is
  • Some verbs can be used reflexively and also as transitive verbs.


I enjoy myself sitting alone. (Intransitive)

He enjoys good health. (Transitive)

Difference Between Transitive And Intransitive Verbs

Transitive Verbs Intransitive Verbs
These require an object to fully understand the action being referenced. In these kinds of verbs it is not necessary to use an object to complete the statement or understand the action being referred to.
Transitive verbs appear in sentences with the SVO, SVIODO, SVOC, SVOA, and ASVO patterns. Intransitive verbs are commonly seen in sentences that follow a certain sequence i.e. ASVC, SV, SVC, ASVA, and so on.
A transitive verb sentence can be converted to a passive voice. A statement containing an intransitive verb cannot be changed to transform it into the passive voice.
Transitive verbs are accompanied by either an indirect or direct object. Intransitive verbs are typically followed by an adjunct or a complement.

Note: Here S, V, O ,C and A stands for Subject; Verb; Object; Complement and Adjunct respectively

Identifying Transitive Verbs When You Come Across Them

Unfortunately, determining whether a verb is transitive can be difficult at times since some verbs are neither transitive nor intransitive. Now for instance take in account the verb eat and the following examples:

  • I eat poached eggs for dinner
  • I eat rapidly at dinner.

The verb eat is a transitive verb in the first case since the action has a direct object - the poached eggs. The second instance, on the other hand, displays eat as an intransitive verb. There is no action involving a direct object; rapidly is an adverb that describes the eating act.

Stroll, drive, study, and comprehend are more instances of transitive and intransitive verbs.

  • I strolled
  • I strolled the kitty
  • Danny drives
  • Danny drives the racing car.
  • Bina studies
  • Bina studies 2 languages a month.
  • I comprehend
  • I comprehend him.

To identify a transitive verb, you must first grasp and recognize that it functions on a direct object.

Identifying Intransitive Verbs When You Come Across

As previously stated, numerous verbs can be transitive or intransitive, thus other portions of the sentence must be analyzed to determine the type of verb. Analyze the verb to sing, and consider the following examples:

  • The birdies sang a love call.
  • The birdies sang
  • The birdies sang
  • The birdies sang on the branches.

Sang (the past tense of sing) is a verb that is transitive in the first case. The birds are performing a singing activity on a direct object - the love call

In the other three situations, however, sang is an intransitive verb. We understand this since the first example has no direct object for the action, while the subsequent example has an adverb following it, and the last example has a preposition following it.

As a result, we can identify an intransitive verb if it stands alone (without a direct object) or is accompanied by an adverb or preposition.

Why You Should Be Aware Of Transitivity

Is transitivity important? Yes, indeed understanding an dknowing transitivity is crucial since numerous verbs have distinct meanings depending on whether they are transitive or intransitive.


  • Naina ran the organization. [Transitive]
  • Naina fled to hide. [Intransitive]

Understanding transitivity can also help you communicate more clearly. It indicates that for the statement to make sense, a transitive verb must be near to the direct object.

Here's another reason why transitivity is important. When looking up the different meanings of a verb in a dictionary, you may come across entries beginning with 'transitive' and 'intransitive,' 'tr.' and 'intr.', or '(t)' and '(i)'. You now understand what this implies.

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