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Section 11.3.8

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Verbs can be divided into two categories, transitive andintransitive, depending on whether or not they take an object. Transitive verbs are followed by direct objects;intransitive verbs are not.

Transitive verbs: contain, verify, assess

Intransitive verbs: sneeze, die, capitulate

Passive voice is possible only with transitive verbs.

Many verbs are transitive in some uses and intransitive in others. If you arenot sure whether a verb you are using may be may betransitive and intransitive, consult a dictionary.


Intransitive Usage

The student guessed correctly.

Transitive Usage

The student guessed the answer correctly.


Be aware of common transitive/intransitive verb pairs such as raise/rise in which the verbs sound similar butone requires an object and the other cannot take an object.


Unacceptable

In the Malthusian model of unrestrained growth, the linear growth functionrises the population growth upward. [Rises is an intransitive verb and cannot take an object.]

Acceptable

In the Malthusian model of unrestrained growth, the linear growth functionrises.

Acceptable

In the Malthusian model of unrestrained growth, the linear growth functionraises the population growth.

--James Gleick, Chaos


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## Transitive and Intransitive Verbs ##
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