HomeEssayTransitive Verbs | Definition, Examples and Rules

Transitive Verbs | Definition, Examples and Rules


What are Transitive Verbs?

Transitive verbs are verbs that require one or more objects to express a complete thought. These verbs transfer action from the subject to the object in a sentence. The object can be a noun, pronoun, or a phrase that gives meaning to the action performed by the subject.

Learn about Intransitive Verbs also.

Key phrases to understand are “require one or more objects” and “transfer action from the subject to the object.”

Transitive verbs are fundamental in constructing meaningful sentences. They allow us to specify the recipient of an action or the thing affected by it. For example, in the sentence “She reads a book,” “reads” is a transitive verb, and “a book” is its object, receiving the action of reading. Without the object, the action remains incomplete, highlighting the necessity of transitive verbs in conveying clear and complete ideas.


Here are examples of sentences using transitive verbs, with the transitive verbs and their objects highlighted:

  1. “She bought a new car.”
    • Transitive verb: bought
    • Object: a new car
  2. “The teacher assigned homework to the students.”
    • Transitive verb: assigned
    • Object: homework (direct object), to the students (indirect object)
  3. “He loves his dog very much.”
    • Transitive verb: loves
    • Object: his dog

Each of these sentences demonstrates how the action of the verb is directed towards an object, completing the thought and providing clear meaning.

List of Transitive Verbs

Here’s a table listing 20 transitive verbs along with brief definitions:

Transitive Verb Definition Usage Example
Answer To respond to a question She answered the difficult question correctly.
Bring To carry or convey to a place Can you bring the books to the table?
Buy To acquire in exchange for money He bought a new laptop for his studies.
Cook To prepare food by heating She cooked dinner for the family.
Create To bring something into existence The artist created a beautiful sculpture.
Destroy To put an end to the existence of something The fire destroyed the ancient manuscript.
Eat To consume food They ate the whole cake in one sitting.
Explain To make (an idea or situation) clear to someone by describing it in more detail He explained the rules of the game to the new players.
Find To discover or perceive by chance or effort She found a rare coin in the attic.
Give To freely transfer the possession of something to someone I gave my friend a thoughtful gift.
Have To possess, own, hold for use They have a house in the countryside.
Hold To keep or detain something The museum holds many ancient artifacts.
Keep To retain possession of Keep the receipt for your records.
Know To be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information She knows the answer to that question.
Leave To go away from He left the keys on the table.
Make To construct, produce, or create She made a beautiful painting.
Offer To present or proffer something for someone to accept or reject They offered help to the newcomers.
Play To engage in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose The children played games in the park.
Read To look at and comprehend the meaning of written or printed matter by interpreting the characters or symbols of which it is composed He reads the newspaper every morning.
Write To mark (letters, words, or other symbols) on a surface, typically paper, with a pen, pencil, or similar implement She writes her diary every night.

This table showcases a variety of transitive verbs, demonstrating their versatility in sentence construction and their essential role in conveying complete thoughts and actions.

Rules and their Explanation

Transitive verbs follow specific rules that help in identifying and correctly using them in sentences. Understanding these rules is crucial for constructing grammatically correct and meaningful sentences. There are a few differences between transitive and intransitive verbs. Here are the key rules for transitive verbs:

Must Have a Direct Object

Transitive verbs require a direct object to complete their meaning. The direct object receives the action of the verb.

  • Correct: She plays the piano.
  • Incorrect: She plays. (The sentence is incomplete without knowing what she plays.)

Cannot Stand Alone

Unlike intransitive verbs, transitive verbs cannot stand alone in a sentence without a direct object because the action needs to be directed towards something or someone.

  • Correct: He reads a book every night.
  • Incorrect: He reads. (Without specifying what he reads, the action feels incomplete.)

Can Have an Indirect Object

Some transitive verbs can have both a direct and an indirect object. The indirect object usually indicates to whom or for whom the action is done.

  • Correct: She gave her friend a gift.
    • “her friend” is the indirect object (to whom),
    • “a gift” is the direct object (what was given).

Object Placement

In English, the direct object typically follows the transitive verb. If there’s an indirect object without a preposition, it usually comes before the direct object.

  • Correct: I told the story to my sister.
  • Also Correct: I told my sister the story.

Passive Voice

Transitive verbs can be used in the passive voice, where the focus is on the action being done to the subject rather than by the subject.

  • Active: The chef prepared the meal.
  • Passive: The meal was prepared by the chef.

Understanding these rules helps in identifying transitive verbs and using them correctly, ensuring clarity and precision in communication.

FAQs on Transitive Verbs

How can I identify a transitive verb?

You can identify a transitive verb by looking for a direct object in the sentence. If the verb’s action is being done to something or someone, it is transitive. For example, in the sentence “She holds the book,” “holds” is a transitive verb because “the book” is the object receiving the action.

Can a verb be both transitive and intransitive?

Yes, many verbs can be both transitive and intransitive, depending on how they are used in a sentence. The key difference is whether a direct object is present. For instance, “She sings a song” (transitive) vs. “She sings beautifully” (intransitive).

What happens if I use a transitive verb without an object?

Using a transitive verb without an object can lead to a sentence that feels incomplete or grammatically incorrect because the action seems to have no target. For clarity and completeness, always ensure a transitive verb is accompanied by its direct object.

Are there any exceptions to the rules for transitive verbs?

While the basic rules for transitive verbs are consistent, English language exceptions and variations can occur, especially with verbs that can be used both transitively and intransitively. Context and sentence structure often determine the correct usage.

Summer Leonard
Summer Leonardhttps://studentsnews.co.uk
Summer Leonard writes about students and school life. She shares practical advice and understanding based on her own experiences. Her writing aims to create a supportive community among students, helping them navigate the challenges of academics. Through simple and thoughtful words, she inspires and guides those on the educational journey.

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Latest posts