Transitive and Intransitive Verbs


A verb that requires an object in a sentence to give a complete meaning is called a transitive verb.

A transitive must have an object for it in the sentence because without an object, it cannot give a complete meaning.

For instance, ‘buy’ is a transitive verb. We cannot use it in a sentence without an object. See the following example.

  • She bought ______.

The above sentence, without an object, is incomplete and does not make a complete sense. This is because the verb ‘buy’ should have some object for it in the sentence to give a complete meaning. If we add some object in this sentence, it will complete the sense of the sentence. See the following examples.

  • She bought a book.
  • She bought a chair.
  • She bought a camera.

See the following more examples where the red word is a transitive verb, and the blue word is an object.

  • He wrote a letter.
  • He won a prize.
  • They completed the task.
  • She likes the music.
  • He ate an apple.
  • She passed the exam.
  • He is cutting a tree.
  • She plucked a flower.
  • He needs money.
  • She made a painting.
  • He threw the ball.
  • The students raised their hands.


A verb that does not require an object in the sentence is called an intransitive verb. It can express a complete meaning without an object in the sentence. e.g., sleep, laugh, die, run, go, stand, cough, etc.


  • He is laughing.
  • She is sleeping.
  • The baby was crying.
  • The patient is coughing.
  • They were running.
  • He smiled.
  • She has gone.
  • He died.
  • The guests have arrived.
  • The kids were dancing.
  • He was standing.
  • It is raining.

Sometimes, a few words may be added after an intransitive verb which is basically not the object. For instance, the verb ‘go’ is an intransitive verb, but it may be used as ‘He is going to school’. In this sentence, the word ‘school’ is not an object but an adverb of place. Similarly, an adverb of time may be added after an intransitive verb. The adverb of place and time are used to modify (add more information about) the verb in terms of place and time. Such an adverb may sometime confuse the reader who may consider the adverb as an object which is basically not an object.
For instance, sleep, sit, reach, die, go, talk are some intransitive verbs. See the following examples where a few words have been added as adverb of place or time.

  • He is sleeping in the bed.
  • She is sitting on a table.
  • He reached his home.
  • She died from cancer.
  • We went to the library.
  • They talked all the night.