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Transitive and Intransitive Verbs: Direct Objects

Some verbs do not require any objects to express their meaning. The action they express is complete by itself. These are called intransitive verbs.

The sunshines
The dogwill bark

However, some verbs require an object (the receiver of the action) to complete their meaning. These are called transitive verbs. Transitive verbs cannot make sense unless they are followed by a direct object. A direct object tells who or what received the action of the verb.

SubjectVerbDirect Object
Jorgemaileda letter. (What did Jorge mail? A letter.)
Juliaboughta bicycle. (What did Julia buy? A bicycle.)
Wesawour friends. (Whom did we see? Our friends.)

Some verbs can be either transitive or intransitive, depending on how they are used.

  • Intransitive: My arm hurts.
  • Transitive: hurt my arm. (What did I hurt? My arm.)

In this example, the verb to hurt has two distinct meanings. The intransitive form means “to have a sensation of pain.” The transitive form means “to cause injury to.”

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