The Intransitive Verb
Recognize an intransitive verb when you find one.
An intransitive verb has two characteristics. First, it is an action verb, expressing a doable activity like arrive, go, lie, sneeze, sit, die, etc. Second, unlike a transitive verb, it will not have a direct object receiving the action.
Here are examples of intransitive verbs:
Huffing and puffing, we arrived at the classroom door with only seven seconds to spare.
Arrived = intransitive verb.
James went to the campus cafe for a steaming bowl of squid eyeball stew.
Went = intransitive verb.
To escape the midday sun, the cats lie in the shade under our cars.
Lie = intransitive verb.
Around fresh ground pepper, Sheryl sneezes with violence.
Sneezes = intransitive verb.
In the evenings, Glenda sits on the front porch to admire her immaculate lawn.
Sits = intransitive verb.
Flipped on its back, the beetle that Clara soaked with insecticide dies under the refrigerator.
Dies = intransitive verb.
Many verbs can be both transitive and intransitive.
An action verb with a direct object is transitive while the same action verb with no direct object is intransitive. Some verbs, such as arrive, go, lie, sneeze, sit, and die, are always intransitive; it is impossible for a logical direct object to follow.
Other action verbs, however, can be transitive or intransitive, depending on what follows in the sentence.
Compare these pairs:
Because of blood sugar problems, Rosa always eats before leaving for school.
Eats = intransitive verb.
If there is no leftover pizza, Rosa usually eats whole-grain cereal.
Eats = transitive verb; cereal = direct object.
During cross-country practice, Damien runs over hills, through fields, across the river, and along the highway.
Runs = intransitive verb.
In the spring, Damien will run his first marathon.
Will run = transitive verb; marathon = direct object.
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