Transitive & Intransitive Verbs


Transitive & Intransitive Verbs

Subject English

Grade VIII

  • Principal verbs are two types:
  • Transitive Verb: as;
  1. We eat rice.
  2. He does his homework.
  • Intransitive Verb: as;
  1. River flows.
  2. Winds blow.
  3. Birds fly.
  4. Animals die.
  • A verb is Transitive if the action does not stop with the agent, but passes from the agent to something else.
  • A verb is Intransitive when the action stops with the agent, and doesn`t passes from the agent to something else.

Transitive & Intransitive Verbs

Study the following table:




He is eating rice.

She is preparing breakfast.

We have caught a thief.

They have bought a bike.

The beggar wanted some money.

The birds are flying.

The boy is laughing.

The lion is roaring.

Why are you weeping?

The old man is coughing.


  • So we can say:
  • Transitive verbs need an object to complete their meaning.
  • Intransitive verbs need no object to complete their meaning.

What is an object?

  • If we ask a verb ‘whom’ or ‘what’, the answer we get is the object.

Direct Object and Indirect Object:

  • Some transitive verbs like buy, find, give, get, send, write, and tell, etc., take two objects after them, a person and a thing. The thing is called direct object and the person is called indirect object. The indirect object usually comes first, as;
  1. Mr. Afzal teaches us English.
  2. Can you get me a job?
  3. He gave her a book.
  • If the indirect object is placed after the direct object, it must be preceded by the preposition ‘to’ or ‘for’, as;
  1. Mr. Afzal teaches English to us.
  2. Can you get a job for me?
  3. He gave a book to her.
  • His father gave       me                 a book.

                                   (Ind. Obj.)     (Direct Object)

  • He told                     us                  a secret.

                                    (Ind. Obj.)      (Direct Object)

  • The teacher asked      him               a question.

                                        (Ind. Obj.)        (Direct Object)

Cognate Object:

  • Some intransitive verbs take after them an object similar to the verb. Such an object called the Cognate Object: as;
  1. I slept a sound sleep.
  2. He has fought a good fight.
  3. She dreamt a strange dream.
  4. Afshan sing a sweet song.
  • Shehlah laughed a hearty laugh.
  • Mrs. Ghori cried a bitter cry.
  • What a bitter cry Mrs Ghori cried!
  • Most Verbs can be used as Transitive and as Intransitive verbs, as;  


Used Transitively

Used Intransitively

Ring the bell.

He spoke the truth.

The driver stopped the car.

The horse kicked the man.

I feel a severe pain in my head.

The bell rang loudly.

He spoke haughtily.

The train stopped suddenly.

This horse never kicks.

How do you feel?


  • Sometimes a Reflexive Pronoun used as an object is expressed or omitted: as;
  • The man killed himself. (Reflexive Pronoun used as an object)
  • The bubble burst [itself]. (Reflexive Pronoun omitted)
  • Please keep [yourself] quiet. (Reflexive Pronoun omitted)


Intransitive verbs used as transitive: as;

  • When an intransitive verb is used in a causative sense it becomes a Transitive.



The horse walks.

The girl ran down the street.

Birds fly.

He walks the horse.

The girl ran a needle into her finger.

The boys fly their kites.

  • A few verbs in causative use are distinguished as Transitive or Intransitive by their spelling: as;



Lie still on bed.

Rise early with the lark.

Sit there idly.

Many trees fall by the storm.

Lay the basket there (lay = cause to lie)

Raise your hands. (raise = cause to rise)

Set the lamp on the table. (Set = cause to fall)

The woodcutters fell trees. (Fell =  cause to fall)


  • Some Intransitive verbs may become Transitive by having a prepositions added to them: as;
  1. All his friends laughed at him.
  2. He will soon run through his fortune.
  3. We talked about the affair several times.
  4. Please look into the matter.
  5. The teacher asked for his name.
  6. I wish for nothing more.
  • Sometimes the preposition is prefixed to the verb and the verb becomes Transitive: as;
  • Sultan Shahbudin Ghori overcame the enemy.
  •  He bravely withstood the attack.
  • The river overflows its banks.
  • They determined to withdraw the strike.

Verbs of Incomplete Prediction:

  • Some Intransitive verbs e.g. come, go, fall, die, sleep, lie can never be used transitively. Hence these verbs don`t require any word to make the sense completed. But some Intransitive verbs e.g. be, become, seem, grow, taste require a word to make the sense complete. Such a verb is called     a verb of Incomplete Prediction.
  1. Tom is a dog.
  2. Ali becomes a soldier.
  3. Shumaila looks happy.
  4. She appeared pleased.
  5. Honey tastes sweet.
  6. The players made Imran Khan Captain.
  7. The man seems tired.
  8. She has grown old.
  9. Roses smell sweets.
  10. The man has fallen asleep.
  • Note: Such complements describe the subject. Hence these are called Subjective Complements.
  • Some Transitive verbs require, besides an object, a complement to complete their predication. Such a complement is called Factitive Object:
  1. We considered him honest.
  2. People elected him chair-person.
  3. They choose him their leader.
  4. Ahmad called his cousin a liar.
  5. The jury found him guilty.
  6. His parents name him Abdullah.
  7. We considered man trustworthy.
  8. Note: Such Complements describe the Objects. Hence these are called Objective Complements

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