A transitive verb is a type of finite verb. A finite verb is considered transitive or intransitive depending on its relationship with some other words in the sentence. Another way of saying this is that the division into transitive and intransitive is based on syntax.
Look at these sentences.
In these sentences, the verbs are the words met, wrote and destroys. In each sentence, if you ask the question: 'met whom/what?' - you will get the answers as follows:
The words her, story and iron in the sentences above are called objects in grammar.
A transitive verb is, therefore, a verb which has an object.
An object, we may say, is the aim or purpose or destination or target of a verb's action.
In our three example-sentences above, the verbs met, wrote and destroys have the words her, story and iron as their targets. These targets are called objects. With a transitive verb, we can expect these objects.
We call these verbs transitive because these verbs have the property of transitivity.
To transit means to pass through. Each of the verbs met, wrote and destroys in our examples has its action conveyed (carried) to the object. We might also say that the action begins with the subject (he, she, rust in our sentences) and passes through the verb to the object.
This property of the verb, where it allows such "passing through" is transitivity. Hence we call these verbs transitive.
Understanding these verbs in this way helps us to remember what they are.
eat, drink, read, write, play, see, hear, answer, buy, find, love, like, understand, catch, bring, sing, meet, give, take, get, forget, buy, sell, pay, help.
|(a) The teacher answered the question.||answered||question|
|(b) My friend bought a house.||bought||house|
|(c) The children found the money.||found||money|
|(d) Most Indians love cricket.||love||cricket|
|(e) Keralites like football.||like||football|
Simple, I suppose. It is a verb which is not transitive—a verb which does not take an object.
walk, jump, sleep, sit, lie, stand, weep, kneel, fall, fly, flow, remain, die, belong, wait, come, go.
You will often find transitive verbs used intransitively, i.e. without an object.
At rare times intransitive verbs are used transitively.
Besides transitive and intransitive verbs, we have linking verbs in the finite verbs family.