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Transitive and intransitive verbs

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In our article about reporting verbs , we discuss how different verbs can be followed by different kinds of structures.
In the same way, some verbs are usually followed by nouns or pronouns that we call the direct object, and show action on
someone or something. These verbs are called transitive verbs:

He made something. (NOT He made.)

I like it. (NOT I like.)
The car hit a tree. (NOT The car hit.)
He brought the book. (NOT He brought.)

Other verbs are not usually followed by direct objects, needing only the subject to make a sentence. These verbs are
called intransitive verbs:
He slept. (NOT He slept something.)

She fell out of the tree. (NOT She fell the tree.)

Many verbs can be either transitive or intransitive, depending on the meaning and context:
He likes to drink.

He drank some juice.

The children are playing.
The children are playing football.

Unfortunately, there are no simple techniques to distinguish between the two types of verbs. As with many grammatical
problems, it is necessary to learn what kind of structure follows each verb.
For more information on transitive and intransitive verbs, see the following web sites:
For a list of verbs, sorted as transitive or intransitive, see:


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