Transitivity (grammar)

property of verbs that relates to whether a verb can take direct objects and how many such objects a verb can take

Transitivity in grammar is about whether a verb has an object or not. A transitive verb has an object; an intransitive verb does not.[1]p1051 Examples:

  • Transitive:
    We really enjoyed the trip.
    She read the book.
    What did you throw?
  • Intransitive:
    She relaxed.
    She travels.
    She slept.

A transitive verb is an action verb. It expresses something doable (something possible to do).[2] The direct object is something or someone who is the receiver of the action (verb).[2] In the first two examples above, the 'trip' and the 'book' are the direct objects. 'Enjoyed' and 'read' are the transitive verbs.


  1. McArthur, Tom (ed) 1992. The Oxford companion to the English language. Oxford University Press.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robin L. Simmons. "The Transitive Verb". Grammar Bytes!. Retrieved 13 September 2015.