Lesson sixteen

16.1     Intransitive verbs

An Intransitive verb is an action verb that does not require a direct object for the sentence to have complete meaning.


The ship sailed.

     Subject             action              verb

 The child smiled.

     Subject             action              verb

They do not answer the questions what? or whom? Sometimes they answer the questions how? or how often?


The ship sailed smoothly. (How did it sail? Smoothly)

The child smiled repeatedly. (How often did the child smile? Repeatedly)

16.2     Both transitive and intransitive verbs

Some verbs can be used both transitively and intransitively.


We cheered our team noisily.

(Transitive) We cheered noisily.

(Intransitive) He broke the window pane.

(Transitive) The glass broke. (Intransitive)

NB: Only transitive verbs can be changed from active to passive voice.


Active                                                                 Passive

He kicked the ball                                               The ball was kicked by him

She bought a new dress                                     A new dress was bought by her.

She wailed loudly                                                 ??

They danced well                                                ??

16.3     Exercise 16

Indicate at the end of each of the following sentences whether the underlined verb is

Transitive or Intransitive.

  1. Some whales sing
  2. We gave our books to the gatekeeper.
  3. She cried
  4. He made a sketch of the
  5. John danced to the
  6. The bird flew in the
  7. They located the lost
  8. She pleaded with him
  9. The children heard the sound from the
  10. It rained