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.

Complex Transitive Verbs in English Grammar

What Are Complex Transitive Verbs?

A complex transitive verb (also called attributive ditransitive verb or resultative verb) is a verb that needs both a direct object and an object complement.

Complex transitive verbs look like they have two objects But, they act differently.

They called him Robinson Crusoe.

The object in this sentence is 'him'. 'Robinson Crusoe is the object complement.

Object Complements

The object complements (also called object predicate or object predicative) are parts of the predicate that come after a direct object and complement the direct object by describing it. They can be:

I will make her happy.

I will make her a movie star.

I will make her mine.

I chose her for captain.

I found her sleeping on the couch.

Childhood experiences make us who we are.

I consider him to be a gentleman.

Put the turkey in the oven.

make is a complex transitive verb

Tip!

Only adverbs of place can be placed directly after the direct object of the transitive verb. You are not allowed to use adverbs of time or frequency or manner as an object complement. Check out the examples:

✗We found him amusingly.

✗We understand our child always.

Common Complex Transitive Verbs

Common complex transitive verbs in English are:

  • make
  • call
  • find
  • turn into
  • keep
  • believe
  • prove
  • consider
  • think

That mean comment made her sad.

I consider you my best friend.

Tip!

Many complex transitive verbs can also be used as transitive verbs without an object complement. Note that when they are transitive they have a different meaning than when they are complex transitive verbs.

I found Tina.

I found Tina fascinating.

Passive Voice

The direct object of complex-transitive verbs can be turned into passive voice. Note that it is the direct object and not the object complement that can turn the sentence into a passive one.

They made him a star.

He was made a star. (Not 'A star was made him.')

Ditransitive vs. Complex Transitive Verbs

In order to know the difference between a ditransitive verb and a complex transitive verb, you need to pay attention to the noun phrases that occur after the transitive verbs:

I consider Jake my best friend.

Answer this question: Do Jake and 'my best friend' refer to the same person?

If the noun phrases following the verb refer to the same person/thing, the main verb is a complex transitive verb.

I made Jake a sandwich.

Answer this question: Do Jake and 'dinner' refer to the same person?

If the noun phrases following the verb do not refer to the same person/thing, the main verb is ditransitive verb.

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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.

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.

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.

Catenative Verbs

Catenative verbs, also known as chain verbs, are followed by other verbs to form a chain of two or more verbs. In this lesson, we will discuss them in detail.

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