Transitive and Intransiitive Verbs

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  • Topic: Subject, Verb, Intransitive verb
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Section 1
What are transitive verbs?
The term transitive is derived from a Latin word meaning “to go across.” A transitive verb “goes across” to an object. In other words, a transitive verb controls or “takes” an object. A transitive verb needs an object to complete the meaning. An object is that which (or one who) receives the action or is affected by it (Lester 149-50; W. Lovinger 457). Look at this sentence:

Alice eats a banana for breakfast.
The subject of the verb is Alice. She is the person who does the action: she eats. The object of the verb is a banana. A banana is affected by the action of the verb. So in this sentence, the object of the verb ‘eat’ is ‘a banana’. Verbs that have objects are called transitive verbs. As this example shows, transitive verbs typically describe what a subject is doing to an object (eating it in the case of our example) (Sargeant 55; Lester 150).

If we consider these examples below
The man stole a coat.
Everyone enjoyed the conference.
The driver saw the hitch-hiker at the side of the road. The man had no money.
Then we discover that Transitive verbs can express not only actions (stole) but also feelings (enjoyed), perception (saw) and possession (had) (Eastwood 8). Verbs which take an object (transitive verbs) can have a passive form. So we can make corresponding passive sentences for: • They destroyed the building. ≪—• the building was destroyed. • The news surprised me.≪—•I was surprised by the news (Hewings58).

After some transitive verbs we can leave out the object when it would add little or nothing to the meaning: The man opposite was reading (a book).
We're going to eat (a meal).
A woman was driving (the coach).
We can also leave out the object after these verbs:
Ask/answer (a question), draw/paint (a picture), enter/leave (a room/building), pass/fail (a test/exam), play/win/lose (a game), practice (a skill), sing (a song), speak (a few words), study (a subject). The following verbs can also be without an object if the context is clear: begin, choose, decide, hear, help, know, notice, see, and start. NOTE

There must be an object after discuss and deny.
The committee discussed the problem.
He denied the accusation (eastwood 8).

Transitive verbs have three types: mono-transitive verbs, di-transitive verbs and complex transitive verbs, I will try to discuss all the three types in detail.

1.1 Types of Transitive verbs
1.1 .a. Mono-transitive verbs
Mono-transitive verbs require a single object (Bourk 4). The word object normally implies direct object. (There is also an indirect object, which we will encounter in the second type of transitive verbs). An action verb followed by a single object is by far the most common of all types of complements. All objects are either noun phrases or pronouns. (Compound nouns and pronouns are counted as single complements.) Here are some examples, first with noun phrases, and then with pronouns. Verbs are in italics and objects are in bold: Noun phrase objects

John saw Mary.
Theo washed his new car.
Pronoun objects
I watched them.
The children saw us.

The noun phrase can be any structure that can be replaced by a third-person pronoun: noun clauses, infinitives, or gerunds. Here are some examples: Noun clauses
It
I loved what they proposed in the new budget
It
I loved that they accepted most of our ideas.

Infinitives
It
I love to go for long walks in the fall.

Gerunds
It
I liked hearing what they had to say (Lester 152).

If you are giving an opinion in English about a person, a place, a thing, an event,...
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