I am a little confused with a transitive and intransitive verb form.

Can someone help me with this, please?

  • This has been addressed here before. Though some would classify all S + V + N constructions as showing a transitive construction, Allerton, in The Handbook of English Linguistics_eds Aarts and McMahon in particular, considers this approach simplistic and misleading. This example fails the passivisability test (*His head was laughed off by him) and I'd say it's better not to class it as a transitive usage. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 7 '15 at 16:17

Laugh is used as a transitive verb as the link shows:

  1. To affect or influence by laughter: laughed the speaker off the stage; laughed the proposal down.

  2. To say with a laugh: He laughed his delight at the victory.

If you consider "laugh" as an intransitive verb, it cannot have an object, "your head", there. "Laugh your head off (your body)" is the same construction as the example in No. 1.

  • I'd say your first example is probably best considered a transitive usage, your second a reporting usage, and OP's a (separable MW)-V + N idiom usage. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 7 '15 at 16:28
  • @EdwinAshworth Some transitive verbs cannot be passivised. There was this question involving the verb "sleep" and sleep is used as a transitive verb as in "The ship sleeps 6", but it cannot be passivised. I think Allerton's conclusion is generally acceptable, but not 100%. – user140086 Oct 7 '15 at 16:32

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