Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
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Transitive verbs must have a direct object:
- I enjoyed the party (NOT:
(The subject is 'I', the verb is 'enjoyed' and the direct object is 'the party'.)
- William likes chocolate (NOT:
(The subject is 'William', the verb is 'likes' and the direct object is 'chocolate'.)
Intransitive verbs can't have a direct object. Intransitive verbs also can't make a passive.
(The subject is 'they' and the verb is 'arrived'. There's no object.)
- The children are sleeping.
(The subject is 'the children' and the verb is 'are sleeping'. There's no object.)
Many verbs have a transitive and an intransitive form:
- John ate the pizza (transitive).
- John ate (intransitive).
Also, some verbs that have more than one meaning can be transitive or intransitive depending on which meaning is being used.
- I see the mountains (see = see with your eyes, transitive).
- I see (see = understand, intransitive).