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THE PARTS OF SPEECH [ ? ]
MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS
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What is a Transitive Verb?
The word transitive means passing over.
A transitive verb is a verb that passes over the action from the doer to something that receives it. The word transitive comes from two Latin words which mean "going over." The verb's action passes over (or goes over) from a doer to a receiver.
When the subject acts and the receiver is the object, the verb is transitive active. In this case the sentence is in the active voice. When the subject receives the action, the verb is transitive passive. The sentence is now in the passive voice.
When the subject acts but does not need a receiver to complete the verb, we call the verb as intransitive or "not transitive" because the action of the doer does not pass over to any receiver.
"The boy caught" makes no complete assertion and is not a sentence. If we add the object fish, we complete the assertion and form a sentence "The boy caught fish." The action expressed by caught passes over from the boy to the fish. This is a sentence with a transitive verb.
"Fish swim." The verb swim does not require an object to complete the sentence. No action passes from a doer to a receiver. Because the verb does not pass over to a receiver, this sentence contains an intransitive verb.
A verb that is transitive in one sentence may be intransitive in another.
ETC. Here they lie. (intransitive)
ETC. Lay it down right now. (transitive)
ETC. We rise early. (intransitive)
ETC. Raise the window. (transitive)
ETC. Here they sit. (intransitive)
ETC. Set the computer here. (transitive)
The main characteristic of the transitive verb is that it always has a receiver for its actionthe receiver can either be the subject or the object noun; whereas the intransitive verb either stands alone, or is followed by a word that modifies it or relates to the subject.
The following are the uses of the transitive verb:
(a) The transitive verb may express action when it receives an object.
ETC. "Brian bought several plants" (object plants receives the action, and the verb bought is in the active voice).
(b) The transitive verb may express action when the subject receives an object.
ETC. "The plants were bought by Brian" (subject plants receives the action, and the verb bought is in the passive voice).
NOTE Do not use such constructions as "He was given a gift" because then you make the indirect object of the action (he) the subject. A better way to rephrase this sentence is, "A gift was given him."
A few transitive verbs can take a predicate complement1. If we wrote, "He was made president," then president is taken as the predicate complement.
(1 Predicate complements, also known as predicatives, are the elements of the predicate of a sentence which supplement the subject or object by means of the verb.)
NOTE Some verbs that appear intransitive become transitive in peculiar constructions, such as: "She laughed a scornful laugh"; "He smiled a weary smile." We may regard these as transitive, although their real meaning are intransitive; thus, "She laughed scornfully"; "He smiled wearily."
The transitive verb, as already explained, asserts action which is received, or seems to be received, by some person or thing.
The receiver of the action may be either the direct object, which usually follows the verb: "I created a vase"; "He told a lie"; or the receiver of the action may be the subject: "The vase was created by me"; "A lie was told by him."
In either case the verb is transitive. The essential thing is that the action, actually or seemingly, must pass over from the doer to something which is influenced by the action.
NOTE When we use the verbs has, have, had alone as predicative verbs, the verbs express only possession. But we still call them transitive verbs because they are followed by a direct object which names the thing possessed: "I have a painting"; "Doug has a baseball"; "Have you a pen?"; "Have you a five dollar bill?"
Here are six verbs in English that cause the most confusion. They are the transitive verbs "lay," "raise," and "set," and the intransitive verbs "lie," "rise," and "sit." The first three, as transitive verbs, must always show action between a doer and a thing affected; the last three, as intransitive verbs, show action which involve the subject.
You should never say: "I laid down," "I raised up," "I set down," "He lays there all day," "Look at it raise," "Won't you set down?" These verbs require us to mention more about the subject concerned in the action.
The correct expressions should be: "I lay down," "I rose," "I sat down," "He lies there all day," "Look at it rise," "Won't you sit down?" One is correct in saying, "I laid it down," "I raised it," "I set it down," "He lays it there," "Let him raise it," '' Won't you set it down ?'' In these sentences we name both the doer and the thing affected.
To express "rise" in the past we say "rose"; when we use it with "is," "are," "have been," and other helping or auxiliary verbs, we use the participle forms "rising" and "risen."
ETC. "I rise."
ETC. "I rose."
ETC. "I have risen."
ETC. "I am rising."
To express "raise" in the past we say "raised"; when we use it with "is," "are," "have," "has been," and other helping or auxiliary verbs, we use the participle forms "raising" and "raised."
ETC. "I raise it."
ETC. "I raised it."
ETC. "I have raised it."
ETC. "I have been raising it."
ETC. "It has been raised by me."
To express "sit" in the past we say "sat"; when we use it with helping or auxiliary verbs, we use the participle forms "sitting" and "sat."
ETC. "I sit."
ETC. "I sat."
ETC. "I have sat."
ETC. "I have been sitting."
To express "set" in the past we use the same form "set," and with auxiliary verbs we use the participle forms "set," and "setting."
ETC. "I set the catnip there now."
ETC. "I set the food there yesterday."
ETC. "I have set it there."
ETC. "I am (or have been) setting it there."
ETC. "It has been set there by me."
To express "lie" (meaning to recline) in the past we use "lay"; when we use it with auxiliary verbs, we use the participle forms "lain" and "lying."
ETC."I lie here."
ETC. "I lay here yesterday."
ETC. "I have lain there before."
ETC. "I am "lying here."
ETC. "I have been lying here."
To express "lay" (to put a thing down) in the past we say "laid"; when we use it with auxiliary verbs, we use the participle forms "laid" and "laying."
ETC. "I lay it here now."
ETC. "I laid it here yesterday."
ETC. "I have laid it here before."
ETC. "I am laying it here."
ETC. "It has been laid here."