Many verbs have both a transitive and an intransitive function, depending on how they are used. The verb break, for instance, sometimes takes a direct object ("Rihanna breaks my heart") and sometimes does not ("When I hear your name, my heart breaks").
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Etymology:From the Latin, "not passing across"
Examples and Observations:
- "Autos honked. Trees rustled."
(Langston Hughes, The Ways of White Folks)
- "Sometimes imagination pounces; mostly it sleeps soundly in the corner, purring."
- "My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk."
(John Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale")
- "Men blush less for their crimes than for their weaknesses and vanity."
(Jean de la Bruyere)
- "Do not tremble in fear but become strong and courageous instead."
- "Hush my darling, don't fear my darling, the lion sleeps tonight."
(Solomon Linda, "Wimoweh")
- Intransitive Complementation
"Some verbs are complete in themselves and do not require any further elements to make their meaning complete: although there may be further elements in the sentence, these are not essential. This is called intransitive complementation. It involves verbs such as: appear, arrive, begin, break, come, cough, decrease, die, disappear, drown, fall, go, happen, increase, laugh, lie (tell an untruth), matter, rain, rise, sneeze, snow, stop, swim, wait, work."
(Ronald Carter and Michael McCarthy, Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2006)
- The Intransitive Use of Be
"Intransitive verbs are verbs that do not take an object or subject attribute in the sentence. Also note that the verb be, when followed by an adverbial expressing place or time, is used as an intransitive verb.
- He is running.
- He is reading.
- He is turning around.
- He is in London at the moment."