Transitive and Intransitive Verbs- Definition, Examples and Differences

In this article we will study in detail- Transitive and Intransitive Verbs , definition,examples and differences. A brief and easy definition of transitive verb :- A verb that requires an object to complete its meaning and its action is on object. Intransitive Verb is one which does not require an object to complete its meaning in the sentence. Example- He laughed.

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs :-

As defined above, transitive verbs always requires and object in the sentence. So lets see some examples in which if object is not written what will happen.

“He bought.” Now you will feel that the meaning and the sense of this example is not complete. So if this type of feeling comes to you about any verb in a sentence you can easily say that the given verb is a transitive verb. The sentence can be correct if you put some object after bought. Like – he bought a book. Now it is complete. Hence in this sentence bought is a transitive verb.

In addition to the brief in first paragraph, intransitive verbs have two special features.

  1. They are action verb.
  2. Do not require direct object.

For example- She was crying. Here the sentence is complete without any object.

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs Examples :-

Transitive Verb examples:-

  1. I sang a song.
  2. Anup met Abhishek.
  3. She moved the table.
  4. I play guitar.
  5. I love you.

Intransitive Verb examples :-

  1. She laughed.
  2. He cried.
  3. She died.
  4. You lie.
  5. I am jumping.

Some verbs are always intransitive verbs like- go, sit, lie, die,arrive, sneeze, etc.

How to identify transitive and intransitive verbs :-

1:- First find out the object for the verb in the sentence.

2:- Now ask questions: what or whom.

3:- If you get answer of the above questions, and the answer is object then we can say that the verb is transitive else intransitive verb.

Now lets understand this concept by example:-

I bought a book. 

1 :- object here is a book.

2:- bought what.

3:- Answer = a book. So we get the answer of what as a book. So we can say that here bought is a transitive verb.

We will discuss one more example.

She sang a song.

Question- sang what

Answer- a song.

So sang in the above sentence is a transitive verb.

One example for intransitive verb.

Rachana was crying.

Question- crying what/ whom?

Answer- In this case we do not get any answer of what or whom.

So here in the above sentence crying is the intransitive verb.

Note 1 :- We have to keep in mind that the verb will be transitive verb only if we get the answer of what or whom . If we get answer of other then verb will not be transitive verb. To understand this concept lets discuss one example.

I went to Patna in Chhath Puja.

Question:- went what or whom?

Answer:- We do not get any answer of the above question.

So the verb is intransitive verb. Even though we get the answer of where. Like where I went? I went to Patna. But went here can not be transitive verb because we do not get the answer of what or whom.

Note 2 :- Sometimes you get the answer of what or whom but if the answer is a subject and not the object the verb is NOT transitive. Example:-

Honesty is the best policy.

Question- What is best policy?

Answer- Honesty

But here honesty is the subject is the sentence. Therefore is an intransitive verb.

Note 3:- Sometimes is/am/are/has/have/.. are also used as main verb. Examples-

  1. You are a good boy.
  2. She is my sister.
  3. I have a pen.
Some verbs can be both transitive and intransitive verbs:-

Example 1 :-

I am singing a song. ( Here sing is a transitive verb)

I am singing. ( Here sing is an intransitive verb.)

Example 2.

She left the keys. ( Here left is a transitive verb.)

She left. ( Here left is an intransitive verb)



I hope now you must have got the overall ideas about Transitive and Intransitive Verbs- Definition, Examples and Differences. You are requested to leave your feedback in the comment section. For more information you may visit Oxford dictionary.