Difference Between Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Transitive vs Intransitive Verbs

Transitive and intransitive verbs are a feature of English grammar, and this property of verbs is called their transitivity. Many people find it difficult to differentiate between transitive and intransitive verbs with the result they make grammatical mistakes in their written pieces. Transitive and intransitive verbs form a part of grammar and students often score less on exams like TOEFL because they do not understand the concept of transitive and intransitive verbs.

Verbs are action words or words that describe an action. Thus, they depend on the nature of the object they act upon and are either transitive, intransitive, or even linking verbs.

What is Transitive Verb?

If a verb has an object that takes its action, the verb is said to be transitive in nature. The thing to remember is that the objects of the verbs do receive some kind of action from the verb if it is transitive. Take a look at the following sentences to understand the meaning clearly.

• She broke the glass

• I bought a pen

• He read the magazine

It can be seen that, in all these examples, the word after the verb is the object that takes or receives the action from the verb.

What is Intransitive Verb?

If the verb in the sentence does not have an object after it that is there to receive action from it, the verb is said to be intransitive in nature. There is a subject that does the action but there is no object to receive it. Take a look at the following examples to understand the meaning of an intransitive verb.

• I coughed

• He ran

• She slept

• The baby cried

It is clear that there is no word after the verb to receive its action. This is why these verbs are called intransitive verbs.

Transitive Verb vs. Intransitive Verb

• Transitive verbs require a direct object whereas intransitive verbs do not.

• Objects receive the action of the transitive verbs and are placed after the verb in the sentence.

• You can find out the direct object by asking what/whom after reading the subject and the verb.

• Some verbs can be either transitive or intransitive depending upon the context they are being used.

• Sentences written in the passive voice tend to be made up with transitive verbs.