First Grammar Lessons: Part II, Lesson III

First Grammar Lessons: Part II, Lesson III

Lesson III

You remember that we may make a sentence with only two words—a name-word for the subject, and a verb for the predicate:

Birds sing.
John walks.

But there are some verbs that we cannot use without a name-word after them.

We cannot touch without touching something, or take without taking something.

Henry broke,—what? His cup, or his stick, or the jug; but if he breaks he must break something. So there are some actions that must pass over from the doer to something else.

This kind of verb is called Transitive, a long Latin word which means to pass over.

If you tear your frock, the action of tearing passes from you to the frock, so tear is a transitive verb.

The other verbs we call not-transitive,—only, as transitive is a Latin word, we also use the Latin word for not, which is in.

Tom sleeps.

He does not sleep anything; the action of sleeping stays with himself, so ‘sleeps’ is an intransitive verb.

To be learnt.

When an action is done to some person or thing, the verb is transitive.

Transitive means to pass over.

The action passes.

Exercise III

1. Put six transitive verbs after each of these name-words:

John, the baby, a bird, the dog, Mary.

2. Put six intransitive verbs after each of the same nouns.