Verbs

Transitive and intransitive verbs

A transitive verb is one that is used with an object: a noun, phrase, or pronoun that refers to the person or thing that is affected by the action of the verb. In the following sentences, admire, maintain, face, and love are transitive verbs:

I admire your courage.

We need to maintain product quality.

I couldn’t face him today.

She loves animals.

 

Some transitive verbs can be used with a direct object and an indirect object:

Liz brought
her
a glass of water.
 
[indirect object]
[direct object]
He sent
her
a letter.
 
[indirect object]
[direct object]

 

Read more about direct and indirect objects.

 

Here is a short list of some common verbs that can take a direct and indirect object:

Verb
Example
give
Pat gave me a book for my birthday.
buy
Can I buy you a drink?
pass
Paul passed her a cup of coffee.
make
Shall I make us some lunch?
sell
Jenny was trying to sell me her car.
take
We took Maria some flowers and wine.
show
Show me your holiday photos.
offer
The company has offered me a job.
leave
Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you.
wish
Everyone wished us all the best for the future.
lend
Could you lend me £20?
cost
Ben’s mistake cost him his job.

 

Intransitive verbs

An intransitive verb does not have an object. In the following sentences, cry, work, laugh, and talk are intransitive verbs:

The baby was crying.

I work for a large firm in Paris.

They laughed uncontrollably.

We talked for hours.

 

Transitive and intransitive verbs

Many verbs can be transitive or intransitive. For example:

The choir sang carols. [transitive]

Pete always sings in the bath.   [intransitive]

She left London on June 6. [transitive]

I want to leave early. [intransitive]

 

Here is a short list of some common verbs that can be transitive or intransitive:

Verb
Transitive
Intransitive
move
Could you move your car please?
The trees were moving in the breeze.
start
Taylor was found guilty of starting the fire.
The match starts at 3 p.m.
change
Marriage hasn’t changed her.
The area’s changed greatly in the last decade.
close
Close your eyes; I’ve got a surprise for you.
Most shops here close at 5.30 p.m.
open
Open the window; it’s too hot in here!
The museum opens at 10 a.m.
stop
Greg tried to stop her from leaving.
When the rain stopped, we went for a walk.
do
Have you done your coursework?
Joe’s doing well in his new job.
set
Kate set a chair next to the bed.
The sun was setting and a red glow filled the sky.
run
Michelle used to run a restaurant.
The path ran over the hill.
live
Our cat lived till he was 10.
He was living a life of luxury abroad.
wash
Have you washed your hands?
I washed, dressed, and went out.
write
Write your name here.
Kevin couldn’t read or write.

 

Back to Verbs.

 

Read more about:

Subjects and objects

Phrasal verbs

Active and passive verbs 

Pronouns

 

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