Transitive Verbs

A transitive verb expresses an action and is followed by an object that receives the action of the verb.

In the following examples, transitive verbs are shown in color and direct objects of these verbs are underlined.
  • I took (whom?) my sister to the movie.
  • John studies (what?) English.

Intransitive Verbs

An intransitive verb expresses an action but is not followed by an object. Applying (what?) or (whom?) test to an intransitive verb shows immediately that an object cannot follow.

  • The child cried (what? whom?) loudly.
  • My package arrived (what? whom?) just on time.

Sample list of common intransitive verbs: appear, arrive, collide, disappear, emerge, laugh, occur, remain, rise, sleep, vanish

Many verbs can be both Transitive and Intransitive.

  • John studies hard.
    - verb studies acts as intransitive verbs
  • John studies (what?) English.
    - verb studies acts as transitive verbs

Other Types of Verbs

For additional examples please refer to What is a Verb?

For more practice go to Grammar Quizzes