Transitive verbs have a noun phrase as object:


Noun phrase (Subject) Verb phrase Noun phrase (Object)
Some of the children
had been playing
are learning
a new bicycle.

This pattern is N + V + N (noun + verb + noun).



Hello Peter M,
Could you, please, explain me what information this sentence gives us then?
I understand such sentences as:
"The cup's broken"
"The cup was broken"
"The cup's been broken"
"The cup will be broken"
"I broke the cup" etc.
When I hear 'The cup broke...' I wonder what was broken by the cup or how the cup did it on its own.
‘The cup broke the glass table after falling from the shelf’, for example.
Thank you in advance!
Best regards,

Hello Dima,

'break' is an ergative verb (see also the Wikipedia entry for more). Such verbs can be used either transitively or intransitively. In this case, as Peter points out, it's an intransitive use. I suppose the closest transitive meaning would be 'the cup was broken', which in the past simple (like 'broke'). 

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi sir,
English is tricky some time. I've had been confused with, why people say I've broken my arm 'instead of using passive, but you gave me nice explanation for that, in active and passive lesson. As your previous reply,if I say, my arm broke.does it indicate my arm was broken? very sorry if I ask same thing,I'm not a native speaker.

Hello dlis,

You can indeed say 'my arm broke', but it's more common to say 'I broke my arm'. 'My arm broke' implies some kind of distance between you and the event. Perhaps because it's so difficult to be distant from a broken arm, it's uncommon to say it that way.

We're happy to help our users figure out things like this - as you say, it can be tricky sometimes!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,
Frankly speaking, It's a tricky one for me indeed. Thank you very much for the explanation and making useful references.
Best regards,

Hi ! Someone please tell me whether the verb 'warms-up' in the following sentence transitive or intransitive:
It is the beginning of the day and my entire team warms- up for the treacherous task

Hello Dhananjay Joshi,

The verb here is intransitive because there is no object. The phrase 'for the treacherous task' is not an object but rather an adverbial phrase giving us the reason why your team is warming up.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Can a transitive verb have a participle as an object?
Please explain it with examples.

Hello arafatmgr,

Yes, a participle can function as an object. When the present participle is used in this way it is called a gerund:

I hate reading.

I've finished washing the dog.

Past participles cannot be used in this way.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

what do you mean from past state and action? in past habit text
what is the meaning of through?
we have been through a lot together