Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
Transitive verbs are used to talk about an action which relates to a direct object. Verbs that require a subject but don't require (or cannot accept) an object are called intransitive
Transitive verbs are used to talk about an action which relates to a direct object.
Examples of sentences with transitive verbs:
John likes pasta. ("Pasta" is the direct object of "likes")
You drank the coffee. ("coffee" is the direct object of "drank")
He punished me. ("me" is the direct object of "punished")
I give him the book. ("book" is the direct object, and "him" is the indirect object of "give")
Verbs that require a subject but don't require (or cannot accept) an object are called intransitive, for example the verbs to 'die', 'sleep' or 'snow'. It is not possible to 'die', 'sleep' or 'snow' something.
Transitive verbs that are able to take both a direct object and an indirect object are called ditransitive. English has a number of generally ditransitive verbs, such as give, grant, and tell and many transitive verbs that can take an additional argument (commonly a beneficiary or target of the action), such as pass, read, bake, etc.
He gave Mary ten dollars.
He passed Paul the ball.
Jean read him the books.
She is baking him a cake.
English grammar allows for these sentences to be written alternately with a preposition (to or for):
He gave ten dollars to Mary.
He passed the ball to Paul.
Jean read the books to/for him.
She is baking a cake for him., etc.
The second form is grammatically correct in every case, but in some dialects the first (without a preposition) is considered ungrammatical, or at least unnatural-sounding, for example when both objects are pronouns (as in He gave me it).
Verbs that require a single object are called monotransitive.
Verbs that can be used in a transitive or intransitive way are called ambitransitive; an example is the verb 'to eat'.
The sentences: I eat (intransitive form) and I eat an apple (transitive form with an apple as the object) are both grammatically correct.