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Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

When a verb is transitive, the sentence describes an action received by a 'direct object'. For example,

Bill hit transitive verb the ball object.

We collected transitive verb the data object

Einstein finished transitive verb the experiment object.

He cleaned transitive verb the lab bench object.

The sentence describes transitive verb an action object.

I teach transitive verb biology object.

In these examples, the subject performs the action received by the object, and we therefore say that the transitive verb is in the active voice. We can change transitive verbs in the active voice to transitive verbs in the passive voice by making the receiver of the action (the object when voice is active) the grammatical subject of the sentence.

The ball was hit transitive verb by Bill.

The data were collected transitive verb.

The experiment was finished transitive verb by Einstein.

The lab bench was cleaned transitive verb.

An action was described transitive verb by the sentence.

Biology is taught transitive verb.

Note how the performer of the action is the grammatical subject in the active voice sentence and is the object of a prepositional phrase or is absent in the passive voice sentence. Also note that the passive voice form of the transitive verb requires an auxilliary (= helper) verb.

When a verb is intransitive, the sentence describes an action not received by an object.

She jumped intransitive verb across the lab prepositional phrase.

Bill ran intransitive verb to first base prepositional phrase.

I teach intransitive verb at UCD prepositional phrase.

I teach intransitive verb.

These intransitive sentences lack direct objects. Instead they usually have prepositional phrases. Prepositional phrases have objects, but these phrase objects do not receive actions in the manner of direct objects.

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