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I see that wallow is an intransitive verb so it means that it should not be followed by an object.

But if I use wallow as:

Since that kid didn't get the ice-cream so she started wallowing on the road.

Is this sentence grammatically incorrect because now I am using it like a transitive verb?

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    @pjj Wallow does not take an object there. The road is the object of the preposition on, not of the verb. – StoneyB Mar 14 at 19:07
  • @StoneyB Thank you. Your comment is really really helpful. 3 questions/point - (1.) so does it make my sentence grammatically correct (2.) lets say it it is incorrect, but suppose I had "accidentally" used in an English essay writing exam (lets say ILETS or toefl) then would it be considered as grammatically incorrect or it is too trivial to be notice? (3.) Could you please recommend some online resources to me where I can learn these concepts, how do I understand that "the road" was object of preposition "on", to me it looked like "on the road" was object.. please recommend... – pjj Mar 14 at 19:13
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To physically wallow in something is to partly sink the body into something: water, mud, sand, dirt, etc. Figuratively one can wallow in an emotion such as self-pity, or in luxury, comfort, etc. There is a strong implication, for humans, of laziness (good or bad). Wallowing on a road does not make sense, because we do not use 'on' after 'wallow'.

Wallow

  • Ok. Suppose I use in an English essay writing exam (lets say ILETS or toefl) then would be considered as grammatically incorrect or it is too trivial to be notice? – pjj Mar 14 at 19:01
  • And one more question - the way I have used wallow in the example in my question, that particular usage is showing after "wallow" an object is there, right? – pjj Mar 14 at 19:05
  • Yes, I want to understand how to check whether verb is used transitively or intransitively.. basically understanding whether verb has object or not... I am not a native English user so please don't mind my ignorance towards English grammar... If you could recommend some good online learning resources then it would be helpful... – pjj Mar 14 at 19:16
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    @pjj - wallow 'on' is never right. When you wallow you sink into something. – Michael Harvey Mar 14 at 19:36
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You are not making it transitive. There is simply a prepositional phrase acting as an adverbial of location. There is no object for wallow, you're just saying where they are wallowing.

However, one does not wallow on anything. You wallow in things, either literally (mud, water, or even champagne) or metaphorically (emotions like self-doubt, guilt, or angst, for instance, or champagne - that one is more usually metaphorical than literal). It actually comes from how some animals live, keeping themselves partly submerged for much of the time, like pigs or hippos.

You could wallow on something as long as you were also wallowing in something, where the on might give an idea of broader location - so if we ever have pigs on the moon, we might say "the pigs wallowed in mud on the moon".


In case you are wandering about the "wallowing in champagne" thing, that could happen literally - if someone had enough money and wanted to do it, they could fill a large, shallow container with champagne and frolic in it. However, it is used metaphorically just to indicate flagrant and wasteful luxury. Not to suggest that people have a paddling pool full of champagne.

  • While you could "wallow in champagne", wouldn't you write "drown yourself (or your sorrows) in champagne"? – RonJohn Mar 15 at 1:06
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    @RonJohn, the implication is a bit different. Wallowing in champagne implies a frivolous, dissolute sort of existence; you're enjoying yourself, at least superficially, though you might be making an idiot of yourself at the same time too. Drowning your sorrows is sadder and quieter; you're off at far corner of the bar by yourself, trying to forget some personal tragedy. Drowning your sorrows with champagne sounds a little odd to me, as champagne is usually associated with celebrations. – Matt Krause Mar 15 at 3:45
  • "Drowning your sorrows with champagne sounds a little odd to me, as champagne is usually associated with celebrations." That's the point: you're sad and trying trying to "fake it (happiness) 'till you make it", but still knowing that you're truly sad. It's only something that the Very Rich could do. Imagine a Veronica Lake movie character always dressed up, and constantly with a champagne glass in her hand to distract herself from being sad and lonely. – RonJohn Mar 15 at 3:54

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