As per my knowledge:

A transitive verb takes a direct object.

Some examples:

I watched a movie.

He played cricket.

An intransitive verb does not take a direct object.

Some examples:

I watched.

He goes to school.

My question is that:

Why this sentence(He goes to school) is an example of intransitive verbs? Because school is a direct object of the subject(he) here.

  • Here is a similar explanation, with more examples. An answer to "What did you watch?" could be "I watched a movie." An answer to "What did he play?" could be "He played cricket." Now let's consider "What does he go?" -- It's clear that the question doesn't make sense. (It should be "Where does he go?") – Damkerng T. Mar 19 '14 at 12:41
  • @oerkelens: I think the terminology (particularly direct/indirect objects) is of limited use anyway, but your distinction based on "affected by" seems almost worthless. OP's movie is obviously unaffected by the fact of having been watched. – FumbleFingers Mar 19 '14 at 16:57
  • @FumbleFingers you are right. Removed my comment :) – oerkelens Mar 19 '14 at 20:19
  • @oerkelens: I suppose you'd have to say "Tom and Dick sang Harry a duet" is Subject + Verb + Indirect Object + Direct Object, but the terminology can become counterproductive if you try to use it when there are prepositions involved. By the "functional" logic of my example, "Tom sang for Harry" should thus be a "direct" object, how would one then classify "Tom sang with Dick", or "Tom talked about Dick"? It's a minefield, and I don't think the only existing answer clarifies much. – FumbleFingers Mar 19 '14 at 21:29

Are you sure the school is the direct object?

Yes, he is 'going' but he is not 'going his school'. The 'to' means he will eventually end up at school.

An example makes this more apparent: He watched a movie says the movie is what he is watching, but before this he must go to the cinema. The cinema and the movie are different: he goes (intransitive) to the cinema and watches (transitive) the movie.

Hopefully this explains it.


"to school" is a prepositional phrase - a complement of the verb "goes". Here the direct object indeed is the word "school", but it is the direct object of the preposition and not the verb.

You can compare it to the transitive uses of "go":

  • He couldn't go the school teachers. (Meaning "he couldn't tolerate the school teachers"). Here the direct object of the verb "go" is "school teachers".

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