What are Intransitive Verbs
Intransitive verbs are verbs that do not require objects to convey a complete idea. Intransitive verbs are action verbs that refer to doable actions like sleep, laugh, cry, sit, arrive, etc. Intransitive verbs only involve the subject, and the sentence is complete with only the noun and the verb.
It is difficult to discuss the concept of intransitive verbs properly without discussing transitive verbs. Transitive verbs are opposite of intransitive verbs. They are action verbs that require objects to convey a complete thought. To understand the difference between transitive verbs and intransitive verbs, look at the two examples below.
The train arrived at the station.
(The train = subject, arrived = verb, at the station = adverbial)
In this sentence, the verb “arrive” does not require an object to give a complete idea. Therefore, “arrive” is an intransitive verb.
She kicked him under the table.
(She = subject, kicked = verb, him = object, under the table = adverbial)
In this sentence, the verb “kick” takes the object “him.” Therefore, “kick” is a transitive verb.
Examples of Intransitive Verbs
Given below are some examples of intransitive verbs.
She laughed so loudly that everyone frowned at her.
We sat on the wooden bench under the apple tree.
Little Red Riding Hood went to her grandmother’s home.
The cat hid under the table.
She ran as fast as she could.
The toddler, whose nap was interrupted, wailed loudly.
Her eyes twinkled like two precious diamonds.
Her mother died few years ago.
Do you know what happened?
My brother is sleeping soundly.
It is important to remember that some verbs can be both transitive and intransitive verbs depending on the context. Some verbs like sneeze, laugh, arrive, happen, go, etc. are always intransitive.
The children played in the garden.
Since “play” does not have a direct object, it is an intransitive verb.
The children played hide and seek in the garden.
Since “play” is followed by the direct object “hide and seek”, it is a transitive verb.
It’s raining. – intransitive verb
It’s raining cats and dogs. – transitive verb
He has been singing all day.- intransitive verb
He has been singing his favorite song all day. – transitive verb
Another important feature of intransitive verbs is their inability to form passive sentences. The object of an active sentence appears as the subject of a passive sentence. Since intransitive verbs cannot take a direct object, they have no passive form.
Intransitive Verbs – Summary
- Intransitive verbs are action verbs that do not take objects.
- Transitive verbs are opposite of intransitive verbs.
- Some verbs can be transitive or intransitive depending on the context.
- Verbs like go, arrive, laugh, vanish, sneeze, etc. are always intransitive.
- Intransitive verbs cannot be turned into passive voice since they do not have an object.