Transitive and Intransitive Verb Examples

Transitive and Intransitive Verb Examples

Transitive verbs are action verbs that have a direct object, while intransitive verbs are action verbs that do not have a direct object.

Remember that direct objects receive the verb’s action, meaning the action is performed on the direct object. One easy way to identify a direct object is to locate the sentence’s verb, and then ask, “What?”

Example:

Joey ate ice cream.

  • The verb in this sentence is “ate.”
  • If we ask the question, “Ate what?” it’s clear that the answer is, “Ice cream,” making ice cream the direct object. Since “ate” has a direct object, it’s a transitive verb in this sentence.

When action verbs are not performed on a direct object, they’re intransitive, as in this example:

Jenna sang very well.

  • The verb in this sentence is “sang.”
  • However, we can’t answer the question “Sang what?” because it’s not specified. Since the action of singing is not performed on an object, “sang” is an intransitive verb in this sentence.

Some verbs are always transitive because they require an object in order to make sense.

Other verbs can be transitive or intransitive, depending on the sentence.

To learn more about transitive and intransitive verbs, review WriteLab’s Guide.


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