Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “intransitive”

intransitive

adjective     /ɪnˈtræn.sə.tɪv/ /-ˈtrɑːn-/ /-zə-/ US  /-ˈtræn.sə.t̬ɪv/ /-zə-/ specialized
B2 (of a verb ) having or needing no object : In the sentence "I tried to persuade him, but he wouldn't come", "come" is an intransitive verb . In this dictionary , verbs which are intransitive are marked [I]. → Compare ditransitive, transitive adjectiveVerb forms, tenses and types of verbs ditransitivetransitive adjectiveGrammar:ObjectsAn object is one of the five major elements of clause structure. The other four are subject, verb, adjunct and complement.Grammar:Direct objectsA direct object shows who or what the action of the verb affects:Grammar:Indirect objectsAn indirect object is usually a person or an animal. The indirect object (underlined) receives or is affected by the direct object (in bold). An indirect object always needs a direct object with it and always comes before the direct object:Grammar:Verbs and objectsSome verbs (often called transitive verbs) need an object to complete their meaning. Some verbs (often called intransitive verbs) do not take an object. Some verbs need both a direct object and an indirect object. Some verbs can take a wh-clause or a that-clause as an object.Grammar:Verb patterns: with and without objectsGrammar:Verbs: transitive and intransitive usesSome verbs always need an object. These are called transitive verbs. Some verbs never have an object. These are called intransitive verbs. Some verbs can be used with or without an object. These are called transitive (with an object) and intransitive (without an object) uses of the verbs.Grammar:Verbs with direct and indirect objectsSome verbs take two objects, a direct object and an indirect object. The indirect object is the person or thing that receives the direct object. The indirect object (underlined in the examples) comes before the direct object (in bold):Grammar:Verbs followed by a direct object and a prepositional phrase of time or placeSome verbs take a direct object and a prepositional phrase of time or place:Grammar:Verbs followed by a direct object and an -ed clauseSome verbs can be followed by a direct object (underlined) and a clause containing the -ed form of a verb:Grammar:Verbs followed by a wh-clause as direct object intransitively     /-li/ adverb Verb forms, tenses and types of verbs intransitive     noun [C] Verb forms, tenses and types of verbs
(Definition of intransitive adjective from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of intransitive

Definitions of “intransitive” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

cookery

the skill or activity of preparing and cooking food

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More