An intransitive verb is an action verb, but it does not have a direct object. The action ends or is modified by an adverb or adverb phrase rather than being transferred to some person or object.
Typically, an adverb or prepositional phrase modifies an intransitive verb or the verb ends the sentence.
To determine whether a verb is intransitive ask whether the action is donein some way, in some direction or to some degree. Does a noun receive the action of the verb? If it does, then the verb is transitive and the person or thing that receives its action is the direct object. [In the following examples, the intransitive verb is bold and the modifier is underlined.]
1. The man decided against a plea bargain.
1. The subject (the man) did something (decided) aparticular way (against).
2. He refused because of his immaturity, not his lack of contrition.
2. The subject (He) did something (refused) for a particular reason (because of his immaturity).
3. Alice complained bitterly.
3. The subject (Alice) did something (complained) to a particular degree (bitterly).
4. At the end of the Roaring '20s, the incarceration index roseslightly.
4. The subject (the index) did something (rose) in a particular direction (slightly).
5. When faced with the problem, the scholar paused.
5. The subject (scholar) did something (paused) at a particular time (when faced with the problem).
6. Earl fell.
6. The subject (Earl) did something (fell) and the action did not transfer to someone or something.The adverb or prepositional phrase answers a question about the verb:
The subject did something WHERE?
1. If Charlie had run into the street, he could have been injured.
2. The turtle may live in a small area of Arizona.
3. In 1973, the incarceration number inched upward.
4. Jordan drove into the lane.
The subject did something WHEN?
1. Thousands of cranes will return inthe spring.
2. The number climbed in 1974 and in 1975.
3. Walter Payton died near the end of the century.
4. The company's leader collapsed during a meeting.
The subject did something HOW or TO WHAT DEGREE?
1. The statistics come in any form you like.
2. Politicians and the public are complaining loudly.
3. His blood pressure kept climbing steadily.
4. She worked withcare and precision.
The subject did something WHY?
1. Our elected officials listen because we vote.
2. Shoshana's grades improved with the help of a tutor.
3. Germany's expedition leader collapsed from the effort.
4. Elise competed for her family.
First and foremost, a transitive verb is an action verb. Second, it requires a direct object to complete itsmeaning in the sentence. In other words, the action of the verb is transferred to the object directly. To determine whether a verb is transitive, ask whether the action is done to someone or something. Does the subject act upon someone or something? Or put another way, does someone or something receive the action of the verb. If it does, then the verb is transitive and the person or thing thatreceives its action is the direct object. [In the following examples, the transitive verb is bold and the direct object is underlined]
1. The judge sentences the man to five years in prison.
1. The subject (the judge) applies an action (sentences) to a direct object (the man).
2. The attorney has revealed the bad news.
2. The subject (the attorney) has transferred an action(revealed) to a direct object (news).
3. The defendant could not provide an alibi.
3. The subject (the defendant) will transmit an action (could provide) to a direct object (an alibi).
The direct object can be found by asking a question about the action:
The subject does/did something to WHOM?
1. Prosecutors charge people.
2. The knife's sharp edge cut the chef.