Take 10% OFF—Expires in h m s Use code save10u during checkout.

Claim Offer

International support numbers

USA
+1 (800) 405-2972Toll-free +1 (702) 979-7365Local/SMS
CAN
+1 (800) 597-3941Toll-free
AUS
+1 (800) 764-195Toll-free
GBR
+0 (808) 134-9867Toll-free

Ambitransitive Verb

A good example of an ambitransitive verb is probably "to read". You can say both that "you read a book" and that "you read", with no further information. In the first case, the book would be the object of the verb; in the second case, the verb has no object. "To read" is thus an ambitransitive verb, since it can be used in both of these ways. There are other verbs that can only be used in one or the other of these two ways, and not both.  

Ambitransitive Verb - Used with or without an object

If you want to know more about the meaning of the ambitransitive verb, then it is a good thing that you found this webpage. By understanding the different aspects of English grammar, you can become a better writer in no time at all. 

This sentence said you "found" this webpage. The verb "found", in fact, is not an ambitransitive verb. This is because when you find something, it is always necessary to say "what" you have found. The verb can't be used all by itself in the same way. But the ambitransitive verb can be used like that; and it will also keep the same form when it is used like that. 

Examples of proper usage

Here is an example of the ambitransitive verb being used in a proper way. 

"I read the book, all right; in fact, I read all night, the next morning, and well into the afternoon." 

In this example, the verb "read" has the object (a noun) "book"; but in the second part of the sentence, it has no object at all, but this does not change the structure of the verb.

Now, here is a sentence that contains an incorrect use of the ambitransitive verb.  

"I found yesterday afternoon; I found a beautiful robin's egg hidden up in the tree."

This is an incorrect usage of the ambitransitive verb due to the fact that the verb "found" is not an ambitransitive verb and cannot be used as it is in the beginning of the sentence.  

In case you are still confused, here are a couple rules you can follow in order to make sure that understand the concept of the ambitransitive verb. 

  1. Just think of whether you can just say "I [something]" with any given verb. Then think about whether that [something] can then also be done to an object. And then think about if the verb keeps the same form in both cases. If these criteria check out, then the verb is an ambitransitive verb. 
  2. Some verbs (such as "happen") cannot be done to an object; you know this because the phrase "was happened" doesn't make any sense. And some verbs (like "born") cannot be actively done by you. For example, you cannot "born"; you can only "be born". Such verbs cannot be ambitransitive verbs. 

Ambitransitive verb found on multiple languages

The ambitransitive verb is more common in some languages than it is in other languages. This is because in some languages, the form of a verb must almost necessarily change form depending on whether it is being used in a transitive or an intransitive way.

If this is the case, then it would be almost impossile for a verb to be an ambitransitive verb, because the whole idea here is that the verb must maintain the same form in both transitive and intransitive cases. The ambitransitive verb can only be found rarely in the Romance languages, because the structure of these languages is such that the ambitransitive verb is covered by other semantic concepts.  

Again, there are two main criteria that must be applied when evaluating whether a given verb is an ambitransitive verb. The first is that you must be able to use the verb in both transitive and intransitive ways (i.e. both without an object and with an object); and the second is that the verb must maintain the same form in both cases. There is no other easy rule for identifying what is an ambitransitive verb and what is not an ambitransitive verb. Most English speakers basically just get the hang of it through practice and experience. 

About The Author

This post was written by Ultius.

Ultius - Writing & Editing Help

Contact

Connect

Ultius is the trusted provider of content solutions for consumers around the world. Connect with great American writers and get 24/7 support.

Download Ultius for Android on the Google Play Store DMCA.com Protection Status

© 2020 Ultius, Inc.