Action verbs may be classified as transitive or intransitive.

The word transitive means "passing over .Therefore, if the action of the verb passes over to a receiver. the verb is called "transitive."

a. A transitive verb is a verb that has a receiver of the action to complete its meaning.

            The pitcher threw the ball. {Ball receives the action.)
            Mr. Gray reseeded his lawn. {Lawn receives the action.)
            We repaired the sail on our catamaran. {Sail receives the action.)

b. An intransitive verb is a verb that does not have a receiver of the action.

          Their plot failed.
The train stopped abruptly.
            The ball sailed over the fence.

Note. The verb does not require a receiver for the action in these examples. The action is complete in the verb itself.

c. Most verbs can be either transitive or intransitive according to their use in the sentence.

            Terri plays the piano. (transitive-piano receives the action)
            Terri plays well. (intransitive-no receiver for the action)


Note. You can determine whether a verb has a receiver for the action by asking whom or what after the verb.


EXERCISE. On a piece of paper: (1) Find the action verb in each sentence and write it down. (2) If the verb is transitive, write the word that receives the action and write tr.  If the verb is intransitive, write intr.

1. Samuel Pepys's Diary contains a fascinating account of the reign of King Charles II.

2. After sixteen years of ominous tremors, Mount Vesuvius violently erupted.

3.  We planted poplars on the north side of our property for a windbreak.

4. Cleopatra ruled in Egypt as the last member of the Ptolemy dynasty.

5. The Diary of Anne Frank, a drama about a Jewish family during the Nazi regime, won the Pulitzer prize in 1956.

6. The yearly Feast of Purim reminds the Jews of their deliverance during the time of Queen Esther.

7. Haman resented the position of Mordecai, Esther's cousin.

8.  Esther informed her husband King Ahasuerus of Haman's plot.

9.  Ahasuerus hanged Haman on the gallows, instead of Mordecai.

10.   The Great Pyramid still stands in the desert near Gaza, Egypt.

11.   The Basques live in the Pyrenees Mountains in the northeast corner of Spain.

12.   Pyrite (fool's gold), a compound of iron and sulfur, deceived many unwary miners.

13.   The Greek mathematician Euclid proved the Pythagorean Theorem.

14.   Parliament usually meets in London from November through August.

15.   Gary Landis, a missionary in Morocco, presented the Gospel to the Muslim inhabitants of the area.

16.   Fierce persecution often comes to Muslim converts to Christianity.

17.   Moses dwelt with Jethro and his daughters in the wilderness of the Sinai.

18.   Piranha fish can devour a large animal in only a few minutes.

19.   The Phoenicians established trade routes throughout the ancient world to such distant places as Britain and southern Africa.