Does a transitive verb always require a direct object?

If a verb is only listed in the dictionary as a transitive verb, can it be correctly used without a direct object, i.e. as an intransitive verb? We can use the verb “force” as an example, which is only listed as a transitive verb. He always forces. Can it be correct? Although the meaning is … Read more

How to use “allow to do something” without mentioning a person?

Instead of the probably correct structure: Our software XYZ allows the user to resize and modify PNG images. I’m looking for a way to do it without specifying a person (or people): Our software XYZ allows to resize and modify PNG images. Does the latter sound strange for a native English speaker? Which one is … Read more

Is “bescumber” transitive or intransitive?

Behold! Did my lawn mower bescumber my neighbor’s fence (transitive), or did it bescumber on my neighbor’s fence (intransitive)? Or should I switch to passive voice and say my neighbor’s fence was bescumbered by my lawn mower, and avoid awkward questions? Indeed, is it possible to avoid awkward questions at all when discussing bescumbering? I … Read more

Mnemotechnic approach to identifying transitive vs verb-adjective constructs

I’m no linguist, grammarian and not even an english speaker, please bear with me. I’m looking for a quick way to identify transitive vs intransitive constructs, for example, in the sentence “the plant has buried leaves” even on google NLP, is incorrectly identified as transitive direct with action, where the plant decided to bury its … Read more

What is the grammar rule that states preference (in this example) between “exceeds” or “is exceeding”

A coworker and I have been discussing the grammar of an error message on a computer when downloading a file that is too big. The debate is between whether it should say “The file exceeds the maximum file size limit,” or “The file is exceeding the maximum file size limit.” I looked up information about … Read more

recent use of “to debrief” in AE as an intransitive verb but no dictionary says it can?

The online OED defines to debrief as follows transitive to obtain information from Examples Leonov and Belyaev..will stay at the space station for several days to be debriefed (1965) The online Merriam-Webster defines it as transitive a. to interrogate b. to review carefully However, it cites the following as “recent examples from the web” for … Read more

Transitive use of suicide

To suicide is an intransitive verb meaning “to kill oneself”. I’ve seen it sometime used it transitevly meaning “made to commit suicide” as in the following examples: From “The Enigma of Ralph A. Blakelock” by David Gebhard, Phyllis Stuurman, 1969 A collective American tragedy as well as an individual one, Blakelock in a sense was … Read more

Can “procrastinate” be a transitive verb?

I recently read in a book about someone who “procrastinated her tax return”, which seemed very strange to me. Is this usage common, and if so is it considered correct? Answer Transitive In the 19th century and before, the transitive use of procrastinate in the sense ‘delay, postpone’ is quite frequent: This motion was opposed … Read more