Verb: Transitive and Intransitive


A verb is defined as a word that expresses an action or a state. It is one of the eight parts of speech.

for examples:
Mohan runs.
The river flows.

Jane is punished.
The battery is recharged.

He is tired.
This vase is fragile.

In the above sentences, the verb tells us about what a person(or a thing) does, what is done to a person(or thing) and what a person(or a thing) is. All the sentences above are very short but at the same time sentences can be longer, such as:

Students are playing football in the playground.
He accepted his defeat.
John has finished his course.

Types of verb

Transitive verb

If the action described by the verb passes over from the subject to some object then such a verb is called a Transitive verb.

for example –
He played the guitar.
Jason eats a banana every day.
She participated in the tournament.

In the first sentence, the verb ‘played‘ passes over from the subject he to the object guitar and similarly in the second and third sentences verbs(eats and participated) passes over from some subject(Jason and She) to some object(banana and tournament).

Intransitive Verb

When the action described by the verb does not pass over to an object or stops with the subject such a verb is called an Intransitive verb.

for example –
He played very well.
Jason eats every day.
Students are learning.
He is a good learner.

Most of the verbs can be used both as a Transitive and as an Intransitive verb. Therefore, you can say that a verb can be used transitively and intransitively.

*Some verbs such as go, fall, come, die, sleep, describes the actions which can not be done to anything, therefore they can not be used Transitively.

Transitive verbs usually take a single object. But few transitive verbs like ask, offer, send, bring, promise, tell, show etc., take two objects.

Direct Object

It is a person or a thing at which an action is performed, usually, it is the name of something.

Indirect Object

Which denotes the person(or thing) to whom(or what) something is given or for whom something is done.

for example-
I asked him(indirect) a question(direct).
This company offers its employees(indirect) free laptops(direct).
The boss sent me(indirect) a letter(direct).
The watchman told me(indirect) about the incident(direct).

Complement of verb

Consider the following sentences:
1. He walks.
2. He keeps himself calm.
3. He seems satisfied.

The first sentence makes complete sense without adding anything else in the sentence, while on the other hand if you take the third sentence as ‘He seems’ it does not make any sense. It requires a word to make complete sense. The word which is required to make this sentence meaningful is called Complement of the Verb.

When the complement describes the subject, it is called a Subjective Complement. Such as :

He is an officer.
The car is for sale.
Jane became a fashion designer.

The verb must agree with its subject in Number and Person(Personal Pronoun). A verb must be in the same number and the same person as its subject.

for example-
John talks effectively.
I talk effectively.
You talk effectively.

They are playing.
He is playing.
I am playing.

He has completed his work.
They have completed their work.
I have completed my work.

There are three forms of a verb used in sentences which tells us about the tense or time of the event. These are a base form or present, past and past participle also known as the first(V1), second(V2) and the third(V3) forms of verbs respectively.

The first form of the verb is used for the present tense, second is for past and the third is used for perfect. Detailed discussion on this is covered under the Tenses.

A list of verbs with their three forms(Vers forms) are given below:

three forms of verbs
Three forms of verb

This is all about the verb. You can discuss on our facebook page about the topic.

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