This is probably a simple question to answer (why or why not), but every answer I see about the verb "go" just says that it is transitive. For example, various websites say that "The verb “go” is an intransitive verb that denotes an action which cannot be done to anything; it is, therefore, never be used transitively."

What about the sentence "I will go to Europe." How is it any different to "Lilia conveyed the message," where Lilia is the subject, conveyed is the verb, and message is the object (the thing conveyed).

Isn't go the verb, and Europe the object (the thing went to/gone to), and I the subject (I went/go)? Why can't a place like Europe be the object of the verb go? I do not understand for some reason... Can someone explain this to me like im five?

  • In Lilia conveyed [the message], it's inherent in the nature of the verb that what follows must something conveyed (which must be present). But with John went to Europe, there's also the possibility that John went mad - or even just John went (no "object" required). That's to say, to go allows a wider range of relationships between the verb and any associated text, so it's often useful to clarify things with a preposition. Dec 9, 2022 at 12:26
  • Even go, which is so often intransitive, sometimes takes a direct object: 'I'll go halves on the cost of the car' / 'He went bail for his friend' / 'I'll go $10 on Shergar'. But in the 'travel' sense, it always takes a prepositional phrase (if anything): 'Just go!' / 'She went along the canal and then across the field and up the hill.' Dec 9, 2022 at 13:00
  • Go home! looks like an exception.
    – Mr. Black
    Dec 9, 2022 at 13:07
  • "Go" is not a transitive verb: "go" does not require an object to present a completed idea. In fact, attempting to include an object after the verb "to go" results in a grammatically incorrect sentence. Notably, phrases following the verb "to go" are usually functioning adverbially, not as objects. For example, in the sentence "I go to school," "to school" is a prepositional phrase functioning to inform the reader where the speaker goes. In other words, "to school" functions as an adverb, not an object. - homework.study.com
    – Mr. Black
    Dec 9, 2022 at 13:12
  • 1
    In "go home", home is often considered an adverb, although there are other interpretations. In "go bananas", "go mad" etc, "go" is a copula/linking verb taking an adjective as subject complement.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 9, 2022 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


Consider the sentence "I drew a picture on the paper". The verb "drew" is transitive, and it has two objects - a direct object (a picture) and an indirect object (the paper).

The verb "go" is intransitive because it can't have a direct object. In your example "Europe" is an indirect object, and intransitive verbs can have these.

  • Hello. Peter. 'I gave Jill the book' has an indirect object (the noun 'Jill', which could be replaced by 'to Jill' {and necessarily postposed, so 'I gave the book to Jill'}) in addition to the direct object 'the book'. But in 'I drew a picture on the paper', 'the paper', within the prepositional phrase, is (nowadays) regarded as an oblique object and not an indirect object. See, for instance, this article by Jim Miller, 'An Introduction to English Syntax', at Almerja.net/. Dec 9, 2022 at 14:55

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