"The book took more than four years to write." - from 'Joseph Anton' by Salman Rushdie

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    No, because there is no direct object. Although the object of "write" is understood as "the book", it is nonetheless missing, and hence the verb is intransitive here. – BillJ Aug 12 '18 at 11:29
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    Yes, "the book" is the direct object of "write". – Peter Shor Aug 12 '18 at 11:44
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    I agree with @PeterShor that "the book" is the direct object of "write" in your quote. Test: assume write has no direct object and try giving it one (e.g. "... write him"), then check whether the expanded sentence is still grammatical. – Lawrence Aug 12 '18 at 12:11
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    The conclusion is that people should not put answers in comments. – tchrist Aug 12 '18 at 12:29
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    I have understood that write is a transitive verb, but here to me, as a non-native speaker, it sounds as if the book wrote something and took four long years for something's completion. It is obviously weird. – Swami Aug 12 '18 at 12:51

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