intransitive verbs


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).



Dear Mr. Kirk,

In the intransitive verb section, there was one question: That smells!...looks like the sentence is incomplete to me sir. Actually, i am a little bit confused here sir. I thought an adjective would come over there. Can you please clarify me sir?


Hello saipathudut,

You are right that an adjective could come after 'smells' here, if we wanted to give more information. However, it is not necessary. 'That smells' means that it smells unpleasant, without any other details, just as 'That hurts' tells us about the pain, but not in any detail. There are a number of verbs which work like this: smell, hurt, sting, ache and tickle, amongst others.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, I have heart that only intransitive verbs can be used to make passive voice sentences. Is that true????

Hello sanka bandara,

No, that is not correct - passive forms are impossible with intransitive verbs. Most transitive verbs can have passive forms, though some transitive verbs, such as stative verbs, are not normally used in the passive either.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Roka2010,
Some of the verbs are intransitive (no object) and some are transitive (with an object).  You have to decide which are which.  You don't see full sentences, and have to think about if the verbs that you see need an object or not.
For example
She is relaxing  >  this is intransitive - there is no need for an object.
She is making  >  this is transitive - it needs an object of some kind ('She is making dinner / the bed / problems / a cake' etc.
I hope that clarifies the exercise.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

thnku peter
while teaching to the students i myself used to remain confused. these few lines really cleared my concept regarding transitive and intransitive. though ur examples were short but good enough to hit the bulls eye.

thanx again