English Grammar – Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

transitive and intransitive verbs - esl grammar

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Verbs in English can be two different types: transitive and intransitive. Let’s look at what the differences between them are:
[adrotate banner=”7″] [adrotate banner=”12″]

Transitive verbs

can be recognized by two main characteristics. They:

  •  are ACTION verbs (express an activity: e.g. eat, read, wash)
  • take a DIRECT OBJECT (sth that receives the action of the verb: e.g. wash the dishes)

Intransitive verbs

  • are also ACTION verbs (e.g. arrive, die)
  • do NOT take DIRECT OBJECT (e.g. I am sitting on a chair.)

NOTE: There are verbs that can be both transitive and intransitive, depending on what follows after them in the sentence.


I can run for two hours, however, I am still not ready for the marathon. (Intransitive)
I will run a marathon next March. (Transitive)

Tip: Direct objects follow the subject – verb clause, and answer the questions Who/ Whom? and What?

[adrotate banner=”8″] Here is a simple formula:



Josh and Andy played basketball in the yard.
Josh and Andy (SUBJECTS) | played (ACTION VERB) | What did Josh and Andy play? basketball (DIRECT OBJECT)

Josh pushed Andy and Andy fell.
Josh (SUBJECT) | pushed (ACTION VERB) | Who did Josh push? Andy (DIRECT OBJECT)

Grammar Practice – Transitive or Intransitive Verb?

Is the verb in Bold Italics transitive/ intransitive? Underline the correct answer.
[adrotate banner=”9″] 1. Pauline sang the most beautiful song at karaoke last night.
A) Transitive    B) Intransitive

2. Carl wanted to become an astronaut when he was a child.
A) Transitive    B) Intransitive

3. I waited for two hours in the rain.
A) Transitive    B) Intransitive

4. Ivonne completely disagreed with your opinion.
A) Transitive   B) Intransitive

5. Chistiana and Mikhai bought a house last week, and it’s utterly beautiful.
A) Transitive   B) Intransitive

6. That guy’s just hilarious. I always laugh so hard at his jokes.
A) Transitive   B) Intransitive

7. He’s the most important person in my life. He taught me to believe in myself.
A) Transitive   B) Intransitive

8. Her designer dress costs way too much money.
A) Transitive   B) Intransitive
[wpdm_file id=24]


[adrotate banner=”10″] [adrotate banner=”11″]