In the glossary of grammatical words and phrases suggested for pupils of primary school age it is suggested that pupils should know the difference between a transitive verb and an intransitive verb.
A transitive verb is one that is used with an object.
The object of the verb can be a noun, a phrase, or a pronoun that refers to the person or thing that is affected by the action of the verb.
In the following sentences, applaud, keep, beat, and hate are transitive verbs:
- I applaud your performance.
- We need to keep quality players.
- I couldn’t beat him yesterday.
- She hates bullies.
Some transitive verbs can be used with a direct object as well as an indirect object:
- Gill boughther mother some chocolates.
- She senthim a Valentine’s card.
An intransitive verb does not have an object.
In the following sentences, howl, walk, shake, and sleep are intransitive verbs:
- The dog was howling.
- I walk to keep fit.
- They shook uncontrollably.
- We slept for hours.
Some verbs can be either transitive or intransitive depending upon how they are used in the sentence. The most common of these are: