Ergative Verbs

Ergative verbs are a type of verbs that can be both transitive and intransitive. In this lesson, we will learn more about this type of verbs.

Ergative Verbs in the English Grammar

What Are Ergative Verbs?

Ergative verbs (also called labile verbs or ambi-transitive verbs) are verbs that can be both transitive and intransitive.

A verb that is ergative can be used:

  • transitively (followed by the object)

or

  • intransitively (without mentioning the object)

What Are Ergative Verbs Used for?

In an ergative verb use, the subject of the intransitive verb would be the object of the transitive form of the verb. Take a look at these examples:

I rang the bell.

The bell rang.

I am cooking lasagna.

The lasagna is cooking.

The heat melted the snow.

The snow melted.

using an ergative verb (grow) in a sentence

Tip!

Remember that the object of the transitive verb, which is the subject of the intransitive verb, usually refers to a thing, not a person.

Common Ergative Verbs

Common ergative verbs in English are:

Verbs of tranform or change Verbs of cooking Verbs of transportation Verbs of movement
break bake drive walk
transform boil fly shake
burst cook reverse turn
form fry run move
heal sail sweep
melt
tear

Take a look at some examples:

The pilot flew the plane.

The plane flew in the sky.

We grew some tasty corns.

The corns were growing well.

Review

Ergative verbs can be both transitive and intransitive verbs. The transitive form can mean the same or a little different from the intransitive verb.

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Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

'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?

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.

Complex Transitive Verbs

There are five basic types of verbs: intransitive, linking, mono-transitive, di-transitive and complex-transitive verbs. In this lesson, we'll discuss the last.

Linking Verbs

Linking verbs are connectors of the language. Their only job is to link a subject with a subject complement. Want to know how?

Dummy Verbs

Have you ever repeated a word too much that made you think How boring it got! You can use dummy verbs instead of repeated verbs.

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