Transitive and intransitive verbs are essential aspects of English grammar, referred to as transitivity. Many people struggle to distinguish between the two, leading to grammatical errors in their writing. Understanding transitive and intransitive verbs is crucial for success on exams like the TOEFL.
- Transitive verbs require a direct object that receives the action of the verb.
- Intransitive verbs do not have a direct object receiving the action of the verb.
- Some verbs can be both transitive and intransitive depending on the context in which they are used.
Verbs are action words, and their classification depends on the nature of the object they act upon. They can be transitive, intransitive, or linking verbs.
A verb is transitive if it has an object that takes its action. The objects of transitive verbs receive some kind of action from the verb. For example:
- She broke the glass
- I bought a pen
- He read the magazine
In these examples, the word after the verb is the object that takes or receives the action from the verb.
A verb is intransitive if it does not have an object after it that receives action from it. There is a subject that performs the action, but no object receives it. For example:
- I coughed
- He ran
- She slept
- The baby cried
In these cases, there is no word after the verb to receive its action, making them intransitive verbs.
Transitive Verb vs. Intransitive Verb
- Transitive verbs require a direct object, while intransitive verbs do not.
- Objects receive the action of transitive verbs and are placed after the verb in the sentence.
- The direct object can be found by asking what/whom after reading the subject and the verb.
- Some verbs can be either transitive or intransitive depending on the context they are used in.
- Sentences written in the passive voice tend to be made up of transitive verbs.