How can I recognize which verb is ditransitive and which verb is monotransitive ?

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I'd never heard of these terms, but I googled them and found this kind of definition. I hope it helps.


A monotransitive verb is a verb that takes two arguments: a subject and a single direct object . For example, the verbs buy, bite, break, and eat are monotransitive in English.

The following examples show monotransitive verbs in sentences (the direct object is in boldface):

  • Yesterday, I bought a cat.
  • The cat bit me!
  • He broke the toothpick.
  • The chef ate his own watermelon soup.

  • compared to

    A Ditransitive Verb is one that takes both a direct object and an indirect object .

    EG: He gave her the letter. ('The letter' is the direct object , what he gave, and 'her' is the indirect object, the person he gave it to. This sentence can also be written 'He gave the letter to her'.)
Very informative post, Clive.

I bought a cat for my son. Here, is 'bought' used as a monotransitive verb or a ditransitive verb?
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I bought a cat for my son. Here, is 'bought' used as a monotransitive verb or a ditransitive verb?

'ditransitive', according to the definition. You could also say I bought my son a cat.

I guess some verbs can be both monotransitive and ditransitive, depending on how they are used.

hi!!! i'm from peru... and i'm leraning english grammar... i want to know how many ditransitive words are in he english lenguage, and what are they??... some body could help me?!!!
Hi I know this is an old post but i dont know if you still wonder wether a verb is mono- or di-transitive.

Take the example of the cat: "I bought my son a cat", here bought is not used as ditransitive bought is naturally monotransitive which doesnt mean it cannot take a second object. The idea is that the second object is not obligatory and one could say simply "I bought a cat". Some other verbs like for instance give are naturally ditransitive, that is to say you cannot say "I gave my son" or "I gave a cat" but you can say "I gave my son a cat" or "I gave a cat to my son". I hope this helps you

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Sorry wrote a wrong concept. Clive is write when he says that some verbs can be both Di- or Mono-transitive as for example BUY but GIVE can be used as monotransitive. Sorry again I got confused but I believe the example of the cat is ditransitive lol

*GIVE can´t be used as monotransitive

Wouldn't that depend on the definition of the word 'give'?

Cows give milk. = monotransitive
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