Transitive Vs. Intransitive Verbs — A Quick Guide

Whether or not an object is necessary for the verb to express a complete thought, a verb is either transitive or intransitive. Only when a verb acts on an object does it make sense as a transitive verb. In the absence of one, an intransitive verb makes sense. You can use some verbs in both ways.

In today’s article, we are going to take a look at transitive vs intransitive verbs. Specifically, what is what and how to use both in sentences?

What Are Transitive and Intransitive Verbs?

wood stamped letters of the latin alphabet all laid together
Photo by Amador Loureiro on Unsplash

When a verb expresses an action the subject carries out, it is referred to as a transitive verb.

Understand that transitive verbs adhere to two rules to define them. First, all action words are transitive verbs.

Since no action is occurring, you cannot have a transitive verb that describes a state of being. A linking word doesn’t adhere to the definition of a transitive verb either. As a result, verbs like “be,” “feel,” and “grow,” in all of their forms, cannot be transitive verbs. As such, the dictionary will list them under the intransitive verbs category.

Second, you must always connect a transitive verb to the sentence’s object. Let’s dissect the fundamentals of sentence structure to see what that means.

The subject of every sentence is a noun, noun phrase, or pronoun that is doing or being something. The verb will also describe an action or state of being, linking them or occasionally to an object.

A transitive verb is defined as a verb “having or needing an object,” per the Cambridge Dictionary. 

You can probably guess what an intransitive verb would be now that you know what a transitive verb is. There you have it.

You can use an intransitive verb in sentences or contexts without necessarily needing an object to explain the action the subject is performing.

Nevertheless, a few exceptional verbs can serve as transitive and intransitive verbs.

An intransitive verb is “characterized by not having or containing a direct object,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Cambridge Dictionary defines an intransitive verb as one “having or needing no object.”

Transitive vs Intransitive Verbs

Transitive verbs have an object when they appear in a sentence with an action word. When not present in sentences with action words, action words are intransitive verbs.

You must first define the main distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs, which is as follows. Here are a few examples of transitive verbs to illustrate how transitive and intransitive verbs differ in their use.

Only when a phrasal verb is present can a verb be considered transitive despite not having an object. Without looking at phrasal verbs, the topic of “what is a transitive verb” cannot be fully explored.

You can use both transitive and intransitive verbs with phrasal verbs. Action verbs or states of being are employed in sentences without apparent purpose.

Final Thoughts

Transitive and intransitive verbs create a verb tense in English based on what object is performing the action. In a verb tense, both types of verbs are transitive, not direct. To make things clear, transitive verbs are the verbs in the English language that require a direct object.

We hope you enjoyed our guide on transitive vs intransitive verbs. If you have any more questions, make sure you let us know!

Transitive Vs. Intransitive Verbs — A Quick Guide

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

Helping Verbs Guide: Meaning, Types, and Sentence Examples

Verbs are a key part of every good sentence. Main verbs help tie the pieces of a sentence together, while…

September 1, 2022

Exploring the Meaning of the Main Verbs and Examples

English writing requires you to have outstanding expertise in particular grammar rules. These concepts are vital for the reliability and…

September 1, 2022

Transitive Vs. Intransitive Verbs — A Quick Guide

Whether or not an object is necessary for the verb to express a complete thought, a verb is either transitive…

September 1, 2022

Do This Now! List of Imperative Verbs

No one likes to be bossed around by someone else! However, sometimes you have to be bossy to get stuff…

September 1, 2022

Helping Verbs or Auxiliary Verbs — Knowing the Correct Choice

Verbs are the backbone of every sentence in the English language. A sentence without verbs is like a lemonade without…

September 1, 2022

Verbs of Action vs. Auxiliary Verbs

Verbs are a crucial component of every sentence. You cannot communicate a complete thought without verbs. However, did you know…

September 1, 2022