Scatter (transitive or intransitive or both)

  1. If your drop these toys, they will scatter everywhere.
  2. If your drop these toys, they will be scattered everywhere.

What is correct and natural here can I use it as intransitive verb?

  1. If you do this to me my dreams will scatter.
  2. If you do this to me my dreams will be scattered.

  1. The toys are scattering on the floor.
  2. The toys are getting scattered on the floor.
  • 1
    Have you tried consulting a dictionary? merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scatter
    – Stuart F
    Jan 19, 2023 at 22:37
  • yes, i did but somewhere this in transitive and somewhere intransitive so in my examples what is correct? and especially in # 5 and 6 examples Jan 19, 2023 at 22:49
  • 2
    Dictionaries are not where you find out about grammar. As you note, transitivity is not an inherently obvious fact about verbs. If you find that scatter is sometimes transitive and sometimes intransitive, what will you learn? And where did you learn that either the active or the passive form must be incorrect, if you didn't learn which one it was? Jan 19, 2023 at 23:18
  • I didn't understand your question it would be really helpful if you could answer what's the difference and which one is correct? Jan 20, 2023 at 0:07
  • 1
    Your examples 3 & 4 are "unnatural". Dreams are metaphorically shattered, not scattered. Jan 20, 2023 at 12:15

1 Answer 1


The verb "scatter" can be used in either a transitive or an intransitive sense. So can the verb "shatter".

Example sentences 1 and 2 are both correct and natural. Sentences 3 and 4 are at least unusual, because as Kate Bunting points out "scatter" is not often used of dreams, although there is nothing grammatically wrong in doing so. Sentance 5 is odd if noit correct. "are scattering" indicates an active, ongoing process. This could perhaps be true of some sort of active, self-propelled toys. But normally one would say "are getting scattered" as in sentence 6, or perhaps "are being scattered".

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