intransitive

play
adjective in·tran·si·tive \(ˌ)in-ˈtran(t)-sə-tiv, -ˈtran-zə-; -ˈtran(t)s-tiv\

Definition of intransitive

  1. :  not transitive; especially :  characterized by not having or containing a direct object an intransitive verb

intransitively

adverb

intransitiveness

noun

intransitivity

play \(ˌ)in-ˌtran(t)-sə-ˈti-və-tē, -ˌtran-zə-\ noun

Examples of intransitive in a Sentence

  1. In I ran and The bird flies, ran and flies are intransitive.

What is the difference between a transitive verb and an intransitive verb?

A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object, which is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that follows the verb and completes the sentence's meaning by indicating the person or thing that receives the action of the verb. The direct object typically answers the question what? or whom?:

The kids like pickles.

That really annoys me.

Have they sold their house yet?

An intransitive verb is not used with a direct object. If something comes after an intransitive verb, that is, in the position usually inhabited by the direct object, it doesn't answer what? or whom?; instead it answers a question like where?, when?, how?, or how long?:

Her car died suddenly last week.

Someone was coughing loudly.

A single verb can have both transitive and intransitive uses:

They are playing soccer.

They've been playing all afternoon.

A transitive verb can also have an indirect object, which is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that comes before a direct object and indicates the person or thing that receives what is being given or done. Many common verbs can be used with both direct and indirect objects. In the following examples the indirect object is in italics:

Find her a chair.

Can you read me the letter?

Who gave her lawyers the information?

He's saving Caitlin a piece.

Origin and Etymology of intransitive

Late Latin intransitivus, from Latin in- + Late Latin transitivus transitive


First Known Use: 1612

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


INTRANSITIVE Defined for English Language Learners

intransitive

play
adjective

Definition of intransitive for English Language Learners

  • grammar of a verb : not taking or having a direct object


INTRANSITIVE Defined for Kids

intransitive

play
adjective in·tran·si·tive \in-ˈtran-sə-tiv, -ˈtran-zə-\

Definition of intransitive for Students

  1. :  not having or containing a direct object In “the bird flies,” the word “flies” is an intransitive verb.


Learn More about intransitive


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