Transitive and Intransitive Verbs for intermediate learners

'She smiled beautifully'. 'She started a rumor'. One of these sentences has an intransitive verb and one has a transitive one. Want to know the difference?

"Transitive and Intransitive Verbs" in English Grammar

What Are Transitive and Intransitive Verbs?

Based on whether or not the verbs need objects, they can be divided into two groups:

  • Transitive verbs
  • Intransitive verbs

Transitive Verbs

Transitive verbs only have a complete meaning if they have an object, whereas intransitive verbs can make sense without one.

I love ice cream.

I bought a car.

Direct and Indirect Objects

A transitive verb takes a direct object; that is, the noun that receives the action. It can also have an indirect object that comes before the direct object. The indirect object tells 'to' or 'for' whom the action is done.

She gave me (indirect object) a watch (direct object) for my birthday. = She gave a watch to me.

Can I buy you (indirect object) a drink (direct object)? = Can I buy a drink for you?

Examples of Common Transitive Verbs

Here is the list of common transitive verbs in English:

  • Offer
  • Pay
  • Borrow
  • Bring
  • Send
  • Kiss
  • Love
  • Take
  • Sell
  • Give

Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive verbs do not need an object. They can have other information after them, such as a prepositional phrase or an adverb.

I arrived at the airport at 9 o'clock.

Jimmy laughed.

Examples of Common Intransitive Verbs

Here is the list of common intransitive verbs in English:

  • Sleep
  • Laugh
  • Purr
  • Run
  • Sail
  • Talk
  • Arrive
  • Fall
  • Wait
  • Sit


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Ditransitive Verbs

Ditransitive verbs are transitive verbs that take two objects. A direct object and an indirect object. Follow the article to read more about them.

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