Transitive verb has an object.

My mother likes tea.
Tom sold his house.
But I want a drink first.
I want to be famous.

Ok, that's easy. Transitive verb, according to the rule, requires subject+verb+object form and should answer the question "What" or "Whom", Therefore these sentences are all the transitive verbs, especially 'to be famous' is still the direct object(What do I want? I want 'to be famous').

But this word 'consent' makes me confused. Ditionary says 'Consent' is intransitive verb.

a. He consented to his daughter's marriage. (intransitive - ok)
b. He consented to make a speech. (?)
c. I want to be famous. (transitive)
d. He consented that the money should be paid immediately. (?)

Of course 'a' is intransitive verb, that is clear, but is 'b' is intransitive? Isn't 'to make a speech' object same as 'to be famous' is object? 'b','c' look like they have same pattern in my eyes(non-native, sorry ^.^;). Of couse 'd' is confusing me. That clause looks like ojbect.

So, are 'b', 'd' transitive or intransitive?

  • 1
    want and consent can be analyzed as catenative verbs taking a catenative complement when it's followed by the infinitival clause. And D, yes, the that-clause can be analyzed as the object. Related Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 5:22
  • 1
    Learn the difference between complement and object, and all will revealed. Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 7:33

1 Answer 1


To be honest, many native speakers misuse the verb "consent" all the time. However, here I will address your four sentences.

  1. Fine. Note that "his daughter's marriage" is in a prepositional phrase introduced by the preposition "to".
  2. Incorrect. In (1), "to" was a preposition, but here it is part of the infinitive verb "to make". The key is that you need a preposition, and "to" is not acting as a prepostion here. But you could say "he consented to making a speech", because now "to" is not part of "making", but is a preposition again.
  3. Fine. But as you note, "want" can take a direct object but "consent" cannot (since it's intransitive).
  4. Incorrect. "That" is not a preposition. I don't want to make a blanket statement but I can't think of any case where you can use "consent" with any preposition other than "to" afterwards. You definitely can't use it without any preposition at all afterwards. You could correctly write "He consented to transferring the money" (but not "he consented to transfer the money"; that would fall under (2)).

(2) and (4) are both incorrect, but I've heard native speakers use them all the time, especially (2). When I read them, (4) immediately sounded slightly wrong to me, but I had to look closely at (2) before I realized it was incorrect. So this is a subtle difference.

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