Transitive and Intrasitive Verbs


Trying to think of some ways to clarify your paper, or to get into the nitty gritty of grammar? This is the perfect post for you! Let’s start with this: try to identifying the direct and indirect objects in your sentence. Not sure what I’m talking about? Read on!

Well, a direct object follows the transitive verb.  But what’s a transitive verb?

A transitive verb is something you do followed by who or what it is being done to. 

 An intransitive verb is a verb not proceeded by direct object–something you do but it is not mentioned who or what it is being done to.

 Example: Jordan returned the car.            Transitive (T) verb: returned//Direct object (DO) = the car

    Serra returned before supper.  Intransitive (I): returned, but with no direct object.

 Now you try:  Identify the underlined verb as transitive (T) or intransitive (I).  If transitive identify the direct object.

  1. Smokey the bear hates forest fires. 
  2. Little Jennifer found the missing key.
  3. Wilhelmina collects tropical fish.
  4. The Hernandez family eats outdoors in the summer.
  5. The irate customer spoke angrily.


  1. Answers: 1(T) direct object = “forest fires” , 2 (T) direct object = “key”, 3 (T) direct object = “fish”, 4 (I) What do they eat while outdoors?, 5 (I) Who did he speak to?

 Now, let’s try the indirect-object inversion technique.

  • Neal sent the package to Krystal.
  • Transitive verb = sent
  • Direct object = the package
  • Indirect Object=  Krystal
  • Now switch the two and you’ll get a new sentence like, Neal sent Krystal the package.
  • Note: This technique does not work if there is no indirect object.  For example, you cannot rearrange the sentence: She bought a watch for forty dollars. You could not say, though: She bought forty dollars a watch.

 Now, you try.  Rewrite the following sentences, if you can.  First, identify the indirect object. Remember: If there is no indirect object, then it cannot be rewritten!

    • Mrs. Smith gave a new dress to her daughter.
    • The commissioner sent it to the new champion.
    • Ned handed a hundred dollars to his bookie.
    • Mr. Jones bought it for his grandson.

Answers: 1) Mrs. Smith gave her daughter a new dress.  2) No (INDO). 3) Ned handed his bookie a hundred dollars.  4) No (INDO)


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