Intransitive verbs have the pattern N + V (noun + verb). The clause is complete without anything else:


Noun Phrase (Subject) Verb Phrase
The baby
was sleeping

(John) (smiled).
(Nothing) (has happened).
(The baby) (was sleeping).




When a verb has prepositional object such as 'listen to, wait for, and look at,' is this verb transitive or intransitive? Thanks!

Hello ehc,

This is a point of contention between grammarians. You can see the verb as intransitive and therefore taking a prepositional, rather than a direct, object. On the other hand, you can see the prepositional object as sufficient to describe the verb as transitive (and the fact that a passive form can be made might be seen to support this).

My own view is that a transitive verb has a direct, not a prepositional, object and so this is not a transitive verb. However, as I said, this is a point about which grammarians differ.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Clause starting with "that" after a verb is transitive or intransitive ?? Like, He said that he had gone to England. Here, how is the verb "say" is used?

Hello Rahul Paul,

'Said' can be both transitive and intransitive. Where it is followed by a that-clause, the that-clause acts as the direct object and the verb is transitive. For examples of other reporting verbs which work in the same way, look here.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I have understood, sir. Thank you very much. can you give me the list of different types of sentences with transitive verb ? Now, I know two types of sentences, one is any 'direct object' after verb and another is 'that clause' after verb. I want a comprehensive list so that I can make sentences by reading dictionary.

Hello Rahul Paul,

For this kind of information, I'd suggest you consult a more comprehensive resource. Our main purpose here is to help users learn by using our site. We're happy to help out with other short, specific queries, but providing comprehensive lists of forms or other lengthy explanation is something we simply don't have the time to do.

You might want to take a look at the wikipedia entry on transitive verbs or the Word Atlas of Language Structures. They are not designed for learners, and I'm not sure they will have what you're looking for, but they're good places to start.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi ,british council team
in the sentence "she likes" contains noun and verb. Why don't we use this as an intranstive verb sentence .why this is a transtive verb sentence.similarly the sentences
1.I make
2.she put
can you please explein the reason with more examples.I didn;t understand this.

Hello krishna0891,

'like' indicates pleasurable feelings that some thing causes – that thing is the object of the transitive verb 'like'. 'make' and 'do' also don't make much sense without an object, as some object changes or is produced when you make or put it somewhere. Perhaps I'm missing something because I'm a native speaker of English, but to my mind, all three of these verbs can only be transitive. In any case, this is how they are viewed by native speakers. 

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team


I don't understand why "'That smells!" is intransitive verb. As I know that usually the verb smell is followed by good, delicious or bad etc. I've never heard "That smells!".

Thank you!