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transitive and intransitive verbs

Transitive And Intransitive Verbs


He kicked the ball.

She is running.

They moved quickly.

We can divide verbs into two different categories: transitive verbs and intransitive verbs. We use these terms to describe whether a verb needs to take an object in order to make sense. In the above examples, “kicked” is transitive, “running” is intransitive and “moved” can be used as either (however in this case it is being used as an intransitive verb.) As well as categorizing verbs in this way we can also do the same with phrasal verbs.

What Are Transitive Verbs?

Transitive verbs are used to express a subject acting on an object and as such, require an object in order to be grammatically correct.

She punched him.

In this sentence we have the subject “She“, the verb “punched” and the object “him“. It is a transitive verb and if we didn’t include the object then it would sound quite odd. It would also leave the listener trying to figure out what or whom she punched.

She punched.

What Are Intransitive Verbs

On the other side of things, intransitive verbs are quite happy being used with just the subject and do not require an object to be complete. In fact, trying to add an object would again sound quite unnatural and / or have a different meaning to what was intended of the speaker.

She arrived at the train station.

She arrived him at the train station.

Verbs That Are Both Transitive And Intransitive

It was mentioned at the beginning that some verbs can be either transitive or intransitive depending on the situation. Here is a list of examples as well as showing how they are used:


  1. Change
  2. Move
  3. Open
  4. Start
  5. Stop

Transitive Example

He changed his shoes.

She moved her car.

He opened the door.

I will start work tomorrow.

I will stop you.


Intransitive Example

She has changed a lot.

He moved.

The shop will open soon.

The TV show has started.

The rain has stopped.

Transitive And Intransitive Verbs Quiz

What do you remember from the article?

What is a transitive verb?
What is an intransitive verb?
Which is a transitive verb?
Which is a transitive verb?
Which is an intransitive verb?
Which is an intransitive verb?
Which is a verb that can be both transitive and intransitive?
Which is a verb that can be both transitive and intransitive?
Which is the correct sentence?
Which is the incorrect sentence?
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Transitive Intransitive Verbs Quiz
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