VERBS CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO MEANING AND USE.
TRANSITIVE AND INTRANSITIVE VERBS.
The nature of the transitive
202. By examining a few
verbs, it may be seen that not all verbs are used alike. All do not express
action: some denote state or condition. Of those expressing action, all do not
express it in the same way; for example, in this sentence from
Bulwer,—"The proud lone took care to conceal the anguish she
endured; and the pride of woman has an hypocrisy which can
deceive the most penetrating, and shame the most
astute,"—every one of the verbs in Italics has one or more words before
or after it, representing something which it influences or controls. In the
first, lone took what? answer, care; endured what?
anguish; etc. Each influences some object, which may be a person, or a
material thing, or an idea. Has takes the object hypocrisy;
can deceive has an object, the most penetrating; (can)
shame also has an object, the most astute.
In each case, the word following, or the object, is
necessary to the completion of the action expressed in the verb.
All these are called transitive verbs, from the Latin
transire, which means to go over. Hence
203. A transitive verb is
one which must have an object to complete its meaning, and to receive the
The nature of intransitive
204. Examine the verbs in
the following paragraph:—
She sprang up at that thought, and, taking the
staff which always guided her steps, she hastened to the neighboring
shrine of Isis. Till she had been under the guardianship of the kindly
Greek, that staff had sufficed to conduct the poor blind girl from
corner to corner of Pompeii.—Bulwer
In this there are some verbs unlike those that have been
examined. Sprang, or sprang up, expresses action, but it is
complete in itself, does not affect an object; hastened is similar in
use; had been expresses condition, or state of being, and can have no
object; had sufficed means had been sufficient, and from its
meaning cannot have an object.
Such verbs are called intransitive (not crossing over).
205. An intransitive verb
is one which is complete in itself, or which is completed by other words
without requiring an object.
Study use, not form,
of verbs here.
206. Many verbs can be either transitive or intransitive,
according to their use in the sentence, It can be said, "The boy walked
for two hours," or "The boy walked the horse;" "The rains swelled
the river," or "The river swelled because of the rain;" etc.
The important thing to observe is, many words must be
distinguished as transitive or intransitive by use, not by
207. Also verbs are sometimes made transitive by
prepositions. These may be (1) compounded with the verb; or (2) may follow the
verb, and be used as an integral part of it: for example,—
Asking her pardon for having withstood her.—Scott.
I can wish myself no worse than to have it all to
undergo a second time.—Kingsley.
A weary gloom in the deep caverns of his eyes, as of a
child that has outgrown its playthings.—Hawthorne.
It is amusing to walk up and down the pier and look
at the countenances passing by.—B.
He was at once so out of the way, and yet so sensible,
that I loved, laughed at, and pitied him.—Goldsmith.
My little nurse told me the whole matter, which she had
cunningly picked out from her mother.—Swift.
(a) Pick out the transitive and the intransitive
verbs in the following:—
1. The women and children collected together at a
2. The path to the fountain led through a grassy
3. As soon as I recovered my senses and strength from so
sudden a surprise, I started back out of his reach where I stood to view him;
he lay quiet whilst I surveyed him.
4. At first they lay a floor of this kind of tempered
mortar on the ground, upon which they deposit a layer of eggs.
5. I ran my bark on shore at one of their landing
places, which was a sort of neck or little dock, from which ascended a sloping
path or road up to the edge of the meadow, where their nests were; most of them
were deserted, and the great thick whitish eggshells lay broken and scattered
upon the ground.
6. Accordingly I got everything on board, charged
my gun, set sail cautiously, along shore.
As I passed by Battle Lagoon, I began to tremble.
7. I seized my gun, and went cautiously from my camp:
when I had advanced about thirty yards, I halted behind a coppice of orange
trees, and soon perceived two very large bears, which had made their way
through the water and had landed in the grove, and were advancing toward
(b) Bring up sentences with five transitive and
five intransitive verbs.