What Is an Intransitive Verb? | Examples, Definition & Quiz
An intransitive verb is a verb that doesn’t require a direct object (i.e., a noun, pronoun or noun phrase) to indicate the person or thing acted upon. For example, the verb ‘yawn’ is intransitive because it’s not possible to ‘yawn’ something.
The opposite is a transitive verb, which must take a direct object. For example, a sentence containing the verb ‘hold’ would be incomplete without a direct object clarifying the action of the verb (e.g., ‘Bill holds a book’). Some verbs can be classed as either transitive or intransitive, depending on the context.
How are intransitive verbs used in sentences?
While intransitive verbs are never followed by an object, they can be followed by modifiers such as adverbs, adverbial clauses, and prepositional phrases that indicate where, when, or how something occurs.
Transitive vs intransitive verbs
Unlike intransitive verbs, transitive verbs require a direct object to indicate the person or thing receiving the action. The direct object usually occurs immediately after the verb. Without a direct object, sentences containing transitive verbs don’t make sense.
Ambitransitive verbs are verbs that can be used transitively or intransitively, depending on the context.
Quiz: Transitive and intransitive verbs
Frequently asked questions
- What are intransitive verbs?
- What are some examples of intransitive verbs?
- How can I identify transitive and intransitive verbs?
- Transitive verbs take a direct object (e.g., ‘I ordered pizza’).
- Intransitive verbs do not take a direct object (e.g., ‘My dog is sleeping‘).
You can identify transitive and intransitive verbs by determining whether anything is receiving the action of the verb.
Sources for this article
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