This page is to help you to identify transitive and intransitive verbs.

On this page: Explanation, Exercise

Transitivity can be described as a relation between a verb and another unit (typically the object). You can say that a verb is transitive if it takes an object and intransitive if it does not. The following are some transitive verbs that are commonly used in academic writing:

believe discuss mean report cover expect accept trust
consider include convince defy contact express

  • Researchers report progress in human cloning but critics express concern on ethical grounds.
  • We trust that this study, which includes a detailed investigation into the problem of domestic violence in Hong Kong, will convince the public of the need to support the victims.

In contrast, the following verbs are intransitive:

happen fall arrive occur disappear wait

  • We heated the test tube and waited for several minutes until the residue disappeared.

Some verbs can be both transitive and intransitive:

  • I won. (Intransitive)
  • I won the first prize. (Transitive)
  • I collapsed. (Intransitive)
  • I collapsed the table. (Transitive)

The following paragraphs are taken from a speech delivered by Professor Poon Chung-kwong at the Ninth Congregation of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Decide which of the highlighted verbs are transitive and which are intransitive.

Choose the correct option from the drop-down boxes, then click the 'Show Answers' button below:



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Last updated on: Friday, February 01, 2013