Transitive & Intransitive Verbs
A verb is an action or a state of being.
I like to think of the verb as being the life of a sentence. If someone says to you, “Cris cookies,” you have no idea what is happening in the sentence. You need a verb to tell you if Cris hates cookies, or if Cris is baking cookies, or if Cris eats cookies. The sentence has no energy, movement or action without a verb.
Some verbs must be followed by a noun. These are actions which must be received. Other actions/verbs don’t need receiving.
For example, if you say, “I like,” and then you stop, the listener is waiting to hear what you like.
What is the Object (receiver) of your action (i.e., like)?
Verbs that require an Object are called TRANSITIVE VERBS. A good dictionary will tell you if a verb is transitive or intransitive.
REMEMBER: You must include an object after a transitive verb.
Here is a list of transitive verbs, with example sentences, that English language learners often have trouble with.
– Can you please bring your laptop when you come to my house?
– Please bring me that book.
– Don’t forget to bring your winter boots.
– Did you buy a new game?
– I want to buy a used car.
– I bought a warm coat.
– Please close the door.
– I closed the window.
– Did you enjoy the movie?
– She enjoyed it.
– I don’t enjoy jazz music.
– I have a key.
– Do you have $20?
– I have his phone.
– I like cookies.
– I like you.
– Do you like it?
– Will you tell her?
– She told him.
– I told my friend.
– Could you repeat the last question, please?
– I will repeat it for you.
– He repeated his name twice.
– She doesn’t need much.
– I need a drink of water.
– He needs help.
– Open the fridge.
– Can you open the door, please?
– I opened a can of soup.
– Can I return this item that I bought?
– He returned my book
– I won’t return it today.
– Do you want coffee?
– Yes, I want some.
– Everyone wants coffee.
* Note: WANT can also be followed by an infinitive verb.
WANT + TO (VERB)
– Do you want to go?
– I want to help.
– Everyone wants to belong.
Some actions are complete without a receiver. They do not need an Object. Verbs that do not require an Object are called INTRANSITIVE VERBS.
For example, you can say, “I work,” or “I teach,” or “Everyday, I run.” Those sentences are complete. No more information is required.
Careful: Many English language learners find the difference between say and tell confusing.
Say is intransitive. Tell is transitive.
Here is a short English Grammar lesson on say and tell.
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