Transitive and intransitive verbs


I bet you have heard these terms quite often, haven’t you?

Let me explain, if I say “She wants”, I am not expressing a complete idea. I need to say “She wants a piece of cake”.

The verb “to want” is a transitive verb because it needs the direct object, “a piece of cake”, to express a complete idea.

A direct object is who or what receives the action of the verb.

NOW, a verb is intransitive when it does not need an object to express a complete idea.

For example, I can just say:

He sleeps well anywhere.

We do not need an object because “to sleep” is an intransitive verb.

There are verbs that can be both transitive and intransitive but usually their meaning varies.


They are moving the sofa

In this sentence the verb “to move” is acting as a transitive verb, the direct object is “the sofa” and it means to change the place or position of something.


They are moving.

In this second example “to move” is acting as an intransitive verb, there is no object and it means to go from a residence to another.

Interesting and useful, isn’t it?

Take care and continue learning English

Now Teacher



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