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Transitive verbs take object directly. Source - http://grammar.about.com/od/tz/g/tranverb02term.htm

If "click" is a transitive verb, why do we say "click on the image" and not "click the image"?

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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, choster, aedia λ, Kristina Lopez, MετάEd Feb 5 at 19:48

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It's still transitive in both the cases. Where's the intransitive use? –  Kris Feb 4 at 7:18
Also I would likely say click the image rather than click on the image –  mplungjan Feb 4 at 7:33
@mplungjan Are you suggesting that "Click on the image" is grammatically incorrect? –  Sandeep Dhamija Feb 4 at 8:03
No. Not at all. Just that click the image is certainly grammatical too. goo.gl/p9UBzY –  mplungjan Feb 4 at 8:50

2 Answers 2

The question to consider is whether click on is a transitive phrasal verb or a free combination of verb + preposition.

Transitive phrasal verbs allow particle movement. We can say ‘He picked up the phone’, but we can also say ‘He picked the phone up’. Can we say ‘Click the image on’? We can’t, so we must conclude that click on is not a transitive phrasal verb, but a free combination in which click is intransitive and on the image is a prepositional phrase acting as an adverbial.

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My view is that the verb construction was at first "to click on something". Then the preposition "on" was dropped because of frequent use of the verb to click + object in the Internet sector. The phenomenon that a prepositional object is simplified to a direct object occurs frequently. But dictionaries still don't pay too much attention to such things so it is often a bit difficult to verify what has happened when double verb constructions are used.

I would understand "to walk the dog" (to walk with the dog) as such a simplification of verb construction. Or "Shadow walked the meadow (for: walked across the meadow, or another appropriate preposition. In American Gods, page 565). Also: The general marched his soldiers across the country. If one looks for such things you find a lot of examples.

By the way, I find the terms "transitive or intransitive verb" used for describing verb constructions very vague and imprecise. The two terms are traditional terms of verb construction in Latin grammar, but today two terms for describing about fifty verb constructions is a bit primitive. If you look at constructions of the type verb + object we should have a special term for the fact that a verb is mainly used without any object (He was laughing) and we should have a term when a verb is used with prepositional object. "intransitive" can mean: no object at all or a prep-object (prepositional object) and that is imprecise because the term means two things. There are a lot of other verb-constructions, with adjectives, with infinitive, with gerund, with past participle, with two noun objects, with clauses and so on - for all these constructions there are no names. And in dictionaries it is often difficult to get a survey about the various constructions of the verb. A grammar sector that is not studied enough and grammars have not managed yet to give an overview of all the possibilities and an arrangement of these possibilities that helps a learner.

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@mplungian - The distinction in verb types is to do with the relation between subject and action. Pure copulas just link subject and attribute - the stone is white. Intransitive verbs denote an action that starts and ends in the subject - a rose blooms, the river flows. Transitive verbs denote an action that goes from the subject to the object - the boy ate his food. Bitransitive verbs involve direct and indirect objects - the boy gave his sister a gift. Infinitives and gerunds, to take just one element from your list are examples of verbs acting as nouns - running is an athletic activity. –  Leon Conrad Feb 4 at 10:25

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