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12.4: Intransitive and Transitive

  • Page ID
    6537
  • Intransitive

    An intransitive verb has no complement (noun phrase or adjectival). Though an intransitive verb requires nothing more than a subject, it is often accompanied by adverbial information. In fact, a handful of intransitive verbs, such as reside, sneak, and glance, require an adverbial of place in order to be complete.

    1. (subject)+(intransitive verb)
      Subject Intransitive
      The children Wept
      My dog Sleeps
    2. (subject)+(intransitive verb)+(optional adverbial)
      Subject Intransitive Optional adverbial
      The children Played On the jungle gym
      The meeting Concluded Without a hitch
      My dog Snores Loudly

    Review Questions

    Identify the subject, intransitive verb, and optional adverbial (if present) of each sentence.

    1. We went to the bowling alley on Friday.
    2. Mr. Billingsworth laughed at the antics of the class clown.
    3. The ambassadors from Albania arrived.
    4. Rosa walked to the park.
    5. The party of boy scouts rested.

    Transitive

    All transitive verbs have a subject and take one or more complements. Furthermore, all transitive verbs have one complement in common—the direct object, which receives the action of the verb.

    1. (subject)+(transitive verb)+(direct object [NP])
      Subject Transitive Direct object [NP]
      The children Kicked The ball
      My dog Chews The furniture
      The professor Answered The question
      The second transitive-verb pattern includes a second complement, the indirect object. We traditionally define the indirect object as the recipient of the direct object.
    2. (subject)+(transitive verb)+(direct object [NP])+(indirect object [NP])
      Subject Transitive Indirect object [NP] Direct object [NP]
      The students Bought Their teacher A present
      My dog Brought Me The tennis ball
      The professor Called Himself A genius
      Transitive verbs take object complements. Similar to subject complements in be verbs and linking verbs, object complements describe or redefine their object. Object complements take the form of noun phrases [NP] and adjectives.
    3. (subject)+(transitive verb)+(direct object [NP])+(object complement [NP])
      Subject Transitive Direct object [NP] Object complement [NP]
      The child Named Her cat Charlie
      I Make My living The hard way
    4. (subject)+(transitive verb)+(direct object [NP])+(object complement [adj.])
      Subject Transitive Direct object [NP] Object complement [NP]
      The children Painted The fence White
      The teacher Made The test Easy

    Review Questions

    Identify the subject, transitive verb, and direct object of the sentence. If applicable, identify the indirect object or object complement as well.

    1. Mrs. Nakamura considers her hometown beautiful.
    2. Before setting out on the road trip, I put air in my tires.
    3. Joyce gave her father a gift card for Christmas.
    4. He hadn’t broken his promise.
    5. The voters elected Mr. Thompson mayor.