I would like to say the following:

"Taking this job would allow for these ideas to flourish".

But I'm wondering whether I can say it in an active manner:

"Taking this job would allow for me to flourish these ideas".

The dictionary definition of flourish is "grow or develop", so using it in this way would logically make sense, but I just have never seen it before!

  • Flourish can be a transitive verb. Oxford. I don't think your sentence is an appropriate use, though; its meaning has diverged from the intransive sense.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 3, 2016 at 13:47
  • I think that its OK to write it as an active verb if your writing a note to yourself, but if you are going to share it with others than I would use proper grammar.
    – user196350
    Sep 15, 2016 at 2:17

1 Answer 1


Nope! Flourish is an intransitive verb. It can't take a direct object.

Take another look at the dictionary and you'll probably see some cryptic abbreviation like "v.intr."

Plants grow. (ok, intransitive use of "grow")
I grow plants. (ok, transitive use of "grow")
Plants flourish. (ok, intransitive use of "flourish")
I flourish plants. (wrong, but see below)

There is also a transitive sense of flourish, but it has a totally different meaning. If you flourish a zucchini squash, you're not helping it to grow. You're wielding it dramatically as a weapon.

(Technically, all of these sentences use the active voice; passive voice would be Plants are grown. But I see what you mean by "active": you want yourself to appear as the agent in the sentence. You'll just have to use a different verb.)

  • Are you saying that 'flourish' and 'flourish' are different words?
    – Řídící
    Sep 3, 2016 at 13:56
  • That's not what I meant to say, so I changed it. Sep 3, 2016 at 14:03
  • 1
    Actually, "flourish" also means "something resembling flour".
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 15, 2016 at 2:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.