In the UK Transcript Solutions office this week, we’ve been talking about transitive and intransitive verbs and the idea that all of our actions can be split into two groups based on whether they’re happening to something, or just happening generally.
I swim is intransitive – the swimming isn’t something that you’re doing to anything in particular, no matter how hard you try. You could swim to a place, but you wouldn’t be able to “swim the place” itself. But then after your swim you might grab a towel and grab here is transitive because you’re doing it to the towel.
Whenever we transcribe interviews, it always strikes me that the English language is too complicated to fit into easy groups. So, as you might have guessed, a lot of verbs fit in both categories, depending on how you go about them. I transcribe is intransitive (you’re doing something but not doing it to something). I transcribe an interview, however, is transitive – an action is being transferred from the subject to the object.
Thankfully, the tricky world of transitive versus intransitive is rarely relevant when you’re chatting or conducting a research interview. So you can carry on recording and leave those kinds of worries to us!
Rachel and the UKTS Team