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Grammar 19 - Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
"The farmer grows wheat." - Does this sentence contain a transitive verb?

Grammar 19 - Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

The English language is one which makes communication between two people easier if the speaker or writer and the listener or reader understand grammar well. Verbs are parts of speech that are vital to the English language. We have seen that verbs express some action, feeling or existence. In short they portray action.

Look at the following two sentences:

  • ‘Mustaq DROVE the car.’
  • ‘Mustaq DROVE to the cinema.’

Can you see any difference between the verb DROVE in the two examples? In the first sentence if you ask the question ‘what did Mustaq drive?’ you get the answer 'the car'. In the second sentence you don’t get an answer to your question, even though it tells us where he drove to. The cinema isn't a direct object; it's an indirect object. The two verbs in these examples are called TRANSITIVE and INTRANSITIVE VERBS respectively.

To clarify further, TRANSITIVE VERBS are action verbs that perform their action on an object. In the first sentence the object ‘car’ received the action of the verb DROVE. Some more examples, such as 'I COOKED SOME FOOD' and 'I DRANK THE MILK' might help to clarify further. In these sentences FOOD and MILK are objects receiving the action of their respective verbs, COOKED and DRANK.

INTRANSITIVE VERBS, on the other hand, don’t have a direct object on which the action verb can act. Some more examples, such as 'The aircraft FELL' and 'The donkey BRAYED' might help you to understand. In these sentences we don’t have a direct object to receive the action of the respective verbs. Generally, no words are found after an intransitive verb as that verb does not have an object to act upon. However, there are exceptions. Take the quiz that follows and learn to identify transitive and intransitive verbs.

1.
Choose the sentence that does not have a transitive verb.
The moon shimmers.
I killed a lion.
I stole the books.
I recited a poem.
There is no object for the verb 'shimmers'. All the other options have an object for their respective verbs - 'lion', 'books' and 'poem'
2.
Choose the sentence that does not have an intransitive verb.
Donkeys bray.
The boat capsized.
Cheetahs run fast.
Girls wear skirts.
In answer to the question 'what do girls wear' you get the answer 'skirts'. This option has an object whereas all the other options do not have an object
3.
Choose the sentence that does not have a transitive verb.
Madhuri painted a picture.
The young man walks fast.
Young boys like chocolates.
I ran the half marathon.
There is no object for the verb 'walks'. All the other options have an object for their respective verbs - 'picture', 'chocolates' and 'half marathon'
4.
Choose the sentence that does not have an intransitive verb.
I jog.
The child gurgles.
I saw a movie.
She sobs.
In answer to the question 'what did you see' you get the answer 'a movie'. This option has an object whereas all the other options do not have an object
5.
Choose the sentence that does not have a transitive verb.
He presented a bouquet.
He waved his arm.
She understood my question.
She laughed heartily.
There is no object for the verb 'laughed'. All the other options have an object for their respective verbs - 'bouquet', 'arm' and 'my question'
6.
Choose the sentence that does not have an intransitive verb.
The farmer grows wheat.
The farmer grows.
He has grown fat.
I am feeling unwell.
In answer to the question 'what does the farmer grow' you get the answer 'wheat'. This option has an object whereas all the other options do not have an object
7.
Choose the sentence that does not have a transitive verb.
We showed her the flower vase.
The grocer is selling vegetables.
The grocer is selling this morning.
The coach advised me to practise daily.
There is no object for the verb 'selling'. All the other options have an object for their respective verbs. Note that 'selling' is appearing both as an intransitive verb and a transitive verb. There are many more verbs that can be used as an intransitive verb or a transitive verb
8.
Choose the sentence that does not have an intransitive verb.
The customer is buying this afternoon.
The customer is buying pancakes.
They were crying all day long.
She giggled at the joke.
In answer to the question 'what does the customer buy' you get the answer 'pancakes'. This option has an object whereas all the other options do not have an object. Note that 'buying' is appearing both as an intransitive verb and a transitive verb. There are many more verbs that can be used as an intransitive verb or a transitive verb
9.
Choose the sentence that does not have a transitive verb.
She cut the cake.
They climbed the hill.
Arpana telephoned Trupti.
Arpana telephoned today.
There is no object for the verb 'telephoned'. All the other options have an object for their respective verbs. Note that 'telephoned' is appearing both as an intransitive verb and a transitive verb. There are many more verbs that can be used as an intransitive verb or a transitive verb
10.
Choose the sentence that does not have an intransitive verb.
The telecaller is answering questions.
The telecaller is answering at this moment.
She sleeps too much.
He complains frequently.
In answer to the question 'what does the telecaller answer' you get the answer 'questions'. This option has an object whereas all the other options do not have an object. Note that 'answering' is appearing both as an intransitive verb and a transitive verb. There are many more verbs that can be used as an intransitive verb or a transitive verb
Author:  V T Narendra

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