Using intransitive verbs as transitive verbs

Some intransitive verbs become transitive when a preposition is added to them.

Study the examples given below.

  • He stared at me.

The verb ‘stared’ is intransitive, but when the preposition ‘at’ is added to it, it becomes transitive and takes the object ‘me’.

  • The boys laughed at the beggar.

Although ‘laugh’ is an intransitive verb, we can make it transitive by adding the preposition ‘at’.

  • Please look into the matter carefully. (Look is intransitive but ‘look into’ is transitive.)
  • We have talked about this problem many times. (The verb ‘talked’ is intransitive but ‘talked about’ is transitive.)

Sometimes a preposition is prefixed to the verb to make it transitive.

  • The boxer overcame his opponent. (The verb ‘came’ is intransitive but ‘overcame’ is transitive.)
  • The fort withstood the attack.
  • The river overflows its banks.

Some intransitive verbs are followed by a phrase similar in meaning to the verb. This phrase is called the cognate object.

  • He laughed a hearty laugh. (Intransitive verb – laughed; cognate object – a hearty laugh)
  • I dreamt a strange dream. (Intransitive verb – dreamt; cognate object – a strange dream)
  • Aurangzeb lived the life of an ascetic. (Intransitive verb – live; cognate object – the life)
  • She sang a sweet song. (Intransitive verb – sang; cognate verb – a sweet song)
  • She sighed a deep sigh. (Intransitive verb – sighed; cognate verb – a deep sigh)