By the Oxford dictionary, 'know' is a intransitive or transitive verb in "have information" meaning. Example:

I do not know how many years of life are before me.

Is the verb 'know' transitive here? I think that 'how'-based subordinate is a prepositional object. How to correctly distinguish transitive and intransitive verbs without vocabulary?

  • It does not have a direct object so it is intransitive. "How many years of life are before me" is not a direct object but a subordinate interrogative clause (embedded question) functioning as complement of "know".
    – BillJ
    Mar 16, 2020 at 14:20
  • How do you verify that it doesn't contain direct object?
    – FAQ
    Mar 16, 2020 at 15:40
  • And how did you detect complement here?
    – FAQ
    Mar 16, 2020 at 16:11
  • 1
    Because objects are almost always noun phrases, not clauses. The interrogative clause in your example is specifically permitted by "know", and thus is a complement. Note that complements must be licensed by an appropriate head.
    – BillJ
    Mar 16, 2020 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


"To know" is not a Dynamic verb. It is a stative verb. In stative verbs, it is a linking or a copulative verb. So, it does not need an object. Although, there is incomplete-predication, so it will take complement not an object to complete the predication.

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