Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive is a label applied to a verb that does not take a direct object. Some English verbs are always intransitive and can never take an object.

Examples are: sleep, come, go, die, fall, laugh, arrive etc.

The child sleeps.
He might come.
He laughed loudly.
Alice arrived early.

Many verbs can be either transitive or intransitive.

Examples are: sink, ring, stop, speak etc.

The explosion sank the ship. (transitive)
The ship sank slowly. (intransitive)
The driver stopped the train. (transitive)
The train stopped suddenly. (intransitive)
He spoke the truth. (transitive)
He spoke rudely. (intransitive)

Labile verb

A verb which can be either transitive or intransitive with related meanings. English has many labile verbs.

Examples are: ring, sink, smoke, undress, fight etc.

Ring the bell. (transitive)
The bell rang. (intransitive)
The explosion sank the ship. (transitive)
The ship sank rapidly. (intransitive)
The soldiers fought the enemies. (transitive)
They fought bravely. (intransitive)

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

1 Response

  1. October 10, 2023

    […] transitive verb is a verb that takes an object. An intransitive verb does not have an object. Note that most verbs can be used both transitively and […]

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