Transitive or intransitive?

English grammar and usage issues

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miot
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Transitive or intransitive?

Unread postby miot » 20 Mar 2009, 20:18

Hello! I'm just going over some grammar because I am applying for a CELTA course and was confused, so I wondered if someone would be able to help me?

Transitive Verbs: My grammar book says that:
The whole family went.
AND I have applied.

are intransitive. I can see that the object isn't in the sentence but surely the sentence would make no sense if the listener didn't know where the family went or what you applied to? So isn't the object implied in the context? Does this matter? I would want to say that properly intransitive verbs are like 'I slept' where there isn't an implied object. Where do you draw the line between transitive and intransitive?

systematic
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Re: Quick Grammar question

Unread postby systematic » 21 Mar 2009, 23:57

Hi,

The line between transitive and intransitive verbs is quite clear.

Transitive: verb + object
'transitive' means that the action of the verb is transferred to an object. In other words, if the action of a verb can do something to something else (the object) then it is transitive.
'went' is the past tense of go. The verb go can't do anything to anything, so it cannot take an object, hence it is intransitive.

Some verbs can be both transitive and intransitive:

eat:
"Let's eat." intransitive (no object).
"Let's eat pizza." transitive. (the pizza is having something done to it - it's being eaten. Its an object).

See: Swan 2001 579.2, p.602. Practical English Usage , OUP, ISBN0-19-442146-5
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Fran123
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Re: Quick Grammar question

Unread postby Fran123 » 24 Mar 2009, 16:15

...So in the case of 'My dog has a bad leg', is the verb To Have being intransitive?

systematic
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Re: Quick Grammar question

Unread postby systematic » 24 Mar 2009, 16:39

Subject dog + verb has + object leg
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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systematic
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Re: Quick Grammar question

Unread postby systematic » 24 Mar 2009, 17:23

[deleted by Systematic]
Last edited by systematic on 31 Mar 2009, 12:07, edited 1 time in total.

Jo
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Re: Quick Grammar question

Unread postby Jo » 29 Mar 2009, 11:26

miot wrote:Transitive Verbs: My grammar book says that:
The whole family went.
AND I have applied.
are intransitive. I can see that the object isn't in the sentence but surely the sentence would make no sense if the listener didn't know where the family went or what you applied to? So isn't the object implied in the context?

Following your logic, which is essentially correct as far as it goes, what is implied is an indirect object. The definition of a transitive verb is that it takes a direct object.

The whole family went TO THE MEETING. (indirect object)

As there is no direct object involved in your examples (implied or otherwise), they are intransitive.

http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verb ... n-main.htm

miot
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Re: Transitive or intransitive?

Unread postby miot » 09 Apr 2009, 10:19

Thanks :)


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