A transitive verb takes a direct object; without it, the meaning is incomplete. The verb “take” is one example; something or someone must be taken in order for a sentence with this verb to make sense. This common type of verb can be followed by a prepositional phrase under the right circumstances.

Active Voice

In the active voice, it is rare for a prepositional phrase to follow a transitive verb directly. Consider this example: “I took my cat to the library.” The prepositional phrase indicates where the subject took her cat, and while such modifying phrases typically follow the verb, they usually do so at a remove, often after the direct object, the cat. Most English speakers would understand the sentence, “I took to the library my cat,” but it is idiomatically incorrect. On rare occasions, a prepositional phrase can function like an appositive, in which case you should set it off with commas: “I am slashing, for one day only, these already low prices.”

Passive Voice

When a transitive verb is in the passive voice, on the other hand, it is quite common for a prepositional phrase to immediately follow it. Consider the passive version of the first example: “My cat was taken to the library.” Similarly, the second example also works with this structure: “These already low prices have been slashed for one day only.”

Related Articles

About the Author

Jennifer Spirko has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting at "The Knoxville Journal." She has written for "MetroPulse," "Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times" and "Some" monthly. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.