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?


"That" here is used to refer to a thing that smells bad, so we do not need to use an adjective after "smells".
Some verbs can either be intransitive or transitive. You can learn more about transitive and intransitive verbs on Cambridge Dictionary.

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????

Passive voice is the structure of a clause in which we put the object of a verb in subject position. So the verb must be a transitive verb (which needs a direct object).

No intransitive verb is used in passive voice. Passive voice can only be made with transitive verb. Like, He killed a tiger - a tiger was killed by him.

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

So surprised!!! I got a 100% on this exercise . Thank you very much The LearnEnglish Team. This website is really helpful. Now, my English skills are getting better.

I didn't understand what is difference among that phrases?

me too i didn't understand what is different between them?