English: transitive vs intransitive

Tutoring English, a key idea may emerge any time. The tutor brings up transitive and intransitive.

A transitive verb implies two entities: someone who performs the verb, but also its receiver. For instance, in the sentence [Suzie eats a snack.], eat is transitive. Suzie is doing the eating, to the snack.

An intransitive verb doesn’t require an object; the action happens, but not to something or someone else. Consider the following dialogue:

How does Billie get to college?

She walks.

Walks, above, is intransitive; we don’t imagine a receiver of that action.


Hodges, Horner et al. Harbrace Handbook for Canadians. Scarborough: Nelson Education, 2003.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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