Transitive & Intransitive Verbs

Transitive Verbs (Vt)

Transitive Verb - a verb that denotes an action which passes over from the Subject to an Object.

Hence, Transitive verbs are followed by an object. Such a verb doesn’t sound good or work on its own without an object.

The boy kicked. (incorrect as kicked is a transitive verb)

The boy kicked the ball.

  • Common mistake: Many students leave out objects after transitive verbs.

Andrew took to the mall. (Andrew took whom or what?)
Andrew took his son to the mall.

Julia left on the floor. (Julia left whom or what?)
Julia left the bag on the floor.

  • In case of no object, always use an appropriate dummy object for the verb.

My son needed a bike therefore I gave him some money to buy. (buy what?)
My son needed a bike therefore I gave him some money to buy it.

Intransitive Verbs (Vi)

The man laughed. (man – subject; laughed – verb; Where is the object?)

Intransitive verbs do not require an object to act upon (i.e. sentence will make sense even without an object).

All of them can end a sentence. Some intransitive verbs can even make comprehensible one-word sentences.

An Intransitive Verb is:

  • a verb that denotes an Action which does not pass over to an object.
    He ran fast.

  • or a verb which expresses a State.
    The baby sleeps.

  • or a verb which expresses Being.
    There is a flaw in this design.

transitive and intransitive verbs
  • Transitive verbs can have a passive form.

Thieves stole his bike. (active)

His bike was stolen by thieves. (passive)

  • Intransitive verbs never have a passive form (because there is no direct object).

He lives like a king.  (active)

Transitive – Intransitive Interchangeability

Most verbs can be used both as Transitive and as Intransitive verbs.

To find out whether a verb is being used transitively or intransitively - determine whether the verb has an object (i.e. ask verb + what OR verb + whom).

Verb used TransitivelyVerb used Intransitively
The driver stopped the car.The car stopped suddenly.
The horse kicked the jockey.This horse never kicks.
The Germans fought the French.Some Germans fight very fiercely.
I closed the door.The door closed.
  • Sometimes the meaning changes depending on whether the verb is transitive or intransitive.
Verb used TransitivelyVerb used Intransitively
He runs a small manufacturing company. (runs - manage)He runs in the park every morning. (runs - to run)
Do take off your shoes before entering the temple. (take off - remove)The airplane will take off in a few minutes. (take off - fly)
  • Some verbs denote actions which cannot be done to anything - so they can never be used transitively.

The valiant soldier died in action.

Aanya fell on the ground while playing basketball.

In a good dictionary, verbs will be listed as transitive, intransitive, or both.
vi (intransitive verb) and vt (transitive verb).
Any possible differences in meaning between the two uses will be given as well.

Extra Books and Tools

Though the matter on our website is in-depth and comprehensive enough for the needs of most of the aptitude exams, but it may also feel daunting for the same reasons. Moreover, some learners prefer books over websites. So, if you are a beginner level English learner, and prefer books, you may explore the following English Grammar books too.

1. Wren & Martin - This book has been around for long and is still considered one of the best. Though many concepts have not been dealt with in much depth here, but beginners may find it a breeze to read. Once you are done with it, the content on our website will work as a rich add-on. If you are getting this book, make sure you get the key to its exercises too.

Link for Indian readers: Wren and Martin

2. More advanced learners may refer to the following books. However, buy them only if you must. Most of your English Grammar learning needs will easily be met by our website.

Essential English Grammar by Raymond Murphy
Link for Indian readers: Essential English Grammar

Intermediate English Grammar by Raymond Murphy
Link for Indian readers: Intermediate English Grammar

Advanced English Grammar by Martin Hewings
Link for Indian readers: Advanced English Grammar

So much so for Englsh Grammar. But what about Comprehension skills and Vocabulary?

We strongly believe that Comprehension skills and Vocabulary are more a matter of practice. The more you read, the better you will become in them. In fact, this will help you in Grammar too. Afterall Grammar rules are just in the nature of temporary scaffholding - the goal is to read, write and speak a language without consciously remembering even a single Grammar rule.

So, we suggest you to read vividly. Ideally, carry some tool with you that you may refer to learn the meaning of any word that is new to you. There are many ways you may go about it.

* The old method: Carry a good dictionary with you. But who does?

* Download a Thesauraus app on your mobile or just google it. Better, but we still need to stop reading, open app, type and then search. Boring!

The methods mentioned above kill the joy of reading. Who wants to stop reading in the midst of an interesting plot and look for the meaning of a word? And if you are a lazy soul like me, oh man! No chance!

That's why I prefer to read on gadgets like Kindle. We may just tap on any word and see its meaning there and then. It's also not taxing on the eyes.

If you guys know about any more such books, gadgets and technologies that are awesome and may help English learners, do share 😇
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