English as a Second Language/Transitive Intransive Verbs


What do  a transitive / intransitive verb mean? Thank you

Hi Guillermo!

Great question!  It's a pretty simple answer, but a very important one.

Transitive verbs are simply verbs which requires a direct object and sometimes an indirect one, whereas an intransitive verb cannot be used with a direct object, but sometimes requires an indirect object.  A direct object is simply an object that comes directly after a verb without anything between them, an indirect object comes after a verb, but generally with a preposition between them.

Some examples of transitive verbs are eat, try or push.  While we can say them without objects in certain contexts, in general they require direct objects.  For example:

I'm going to try.  X Try what?
I'm going to try playing basketball.  O

Did you push?  X  Push what?
Did you push me?  O

Some examples of intransitive verbs are run, sleep or fall.  These cannot be used with direct objects, but must either be without objects or with indirect objects.

I fell the street.  X
I fell.  O
I fell ON the street.  O

I'm going to sleep my bed.  X
I'm going to sleep.  O
I'm going to sleep ON my bed.  O

Hope that helps!

English as a Second Language

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Brian Connelly


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