In order to understand the sentence structure and its construction, it is important that you know the three types of verbs.

  • Linking verbs
  • Transitive verbs
  • Intransitive verbs

Every verb has a subject like a person or a thing that does the action. The main difference between a linking, transitive and intransitive verb is whether they have an object or not.

LINKING VERBS: Linking verbs have no object. The two parts of a sentence get linked with linking verbs. The subject gets linked to a noun or adjective. With this, you can consider linking verbs like mathematical equal signs (=).

For eg: 

  1. Keith is a doctor.

In this sentence, The message says ‘Keith=doctor.

Linking verbs will not make sense if they are used alone. They need a ‘subject complement’ in order to complete the meaning. Remember that linking verbs cannot be passive. Sometimes, linking verbs are called “copula verbs”.

TRANSITIVE VERBS: Transitive verbs have an object and their action is transferred from the subject to the object. Transitive verbs can be active or passive. Some of the transitive verbs have one object and some of them have two objects. Monotransitive verbs, whereas, have only one object. Some examples of monotransitive verbs are bomb, clean, break, destroy, eat, kill, like, put off, trigger, turn down and want. In contrast, ditransitive verbs have two objects. A direct object and an indirect object. 

INTRANSITIVE VERBS: Intransitive verbs have no object. The actions of intransitive verbs are not transferred from the subject to something else. Many intransitive verbs can make sense only if they are used alone. Very often we follow intransitive verbs with other words which tell us how, where or when-but never with an object. Note that intransitive verbs cannot be passive. 

For eg:

  1. She lives in New York.
  2. Tell your friend to stop talking now.
  3. Are your dogs barking?
  4. The situation hasn’t improved.
  5. She died a long time after the heart attack.

Do note that many verbs can be used transitively or intransitively depending on the context. These kinds of verbs are called “ambitransitive verbs.”

  • He drinks at night. (intransitive)
  • He is reading a novel. (monotransitive)
  • He wrote Henry the letter. (ditransitive)

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