grate: intransitive or transitive?

harry1999

Senior Member
Marathi, Hindi
I have a question about the verb "grate". It is transitive as well as intransitive verb. I wonder how it's used in the dictionary intrasitively with object.


v.intr.


To cause irritation or annoyance: a noise that grates on one's nerves.


Here, "on one's nerves" is an indirect object. Also, In the sentence "a noise", which is being used as a subject. But if we ask the verb "grate" - what does grate on one's nerve? The answer is: noise. How the word "noise" functioning as it were both a subject and an object of the sentence.


You can see its meaning at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/grate.

Thanks,

Harry

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  • bennymix

    Senior Member
    "That noise grates on my nerves." "Noise" is the subject. "grates" is an intransitive verb. It does not, here, take an object. What is your question?

    "Grates" as transitive [most common] 1) takes such objects as 'cheese.'
    Mom grates cheese for the spaghetti
    .

    ADDED: [less common] 2) takes a person (from M-W unabr.)

    3a : fret, irritate, offend

    <news, my good lord, from Rome … grates me — Shakespeare>
     
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    harry1999

    Senior Member
    Marathi, Hindi
    I know "Noise" is the subject. But to identify the object we ask questions to the verb with "what" - it usually gives us the direct object of the sentence and "to whom or who" in order to get the indirect object. In sentence "That noise grates on my nerves." What grates on my nerves answers 'That noise" So, is it also the object of the sentence?

    As in your example "
    Mom grates cheese for the spaghetti". DO is cheese.


     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    If it only were as simple as that...

    If the sentence is Subject - verb - preposition - noun, the verb is intransitive. "He put the cat on the mat." "He climbed onto the chair."
    If the sentence is Subject - verb, the verb is intransitive. "He looked."
    If the sentence is Subject - verb - noun, the verb is transitive. "He eats the cake."

    If the verb is a phrasal verb then the sentence will be Subject - [verb+another word that may or may not be a preposition] - object, and the phrasal verb will be transitive. "Who is looking after the kids?" (to look after = to care for) "Who can put up with that?" to put up = to tolerate.
    OR,
    Subject - [verb+another word that may or may not be a preposition] and the phrasal verb will be intransitive. "You should not give in so quickly." to give in = to surrender
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I know "Noise" is the subject. But to identify the object we ask questions to the verb with "what" - it usually gives us the direct object of the sentence and "to whom or who" in order to get the indirect object. In sentence "That noise grates on my nerves." What grates on my nerves answers 'That noise" So, is it also the object of the sentence?

    As in your example "
    Mom grates cheese for the spaghetti". DO is cheese.
    Actually, 'on my nerves' is a prepositional phrase that functions as an adverb; it tells you where the noise grates.

    Often prepositional phrases are used with intransitive verbs to name the thing affected, what we more loosely might think of as the 'object', though grammatically that is incorrect.

    When we use grate literally to mean something like shred, it is transitive: I grate the cheese.
    When we use grate metaphorically, to mean something like 'irritate', it is intransitive: It grates on my ears.
     

    harry1999

    Senior Member
    Marathi, Hindi
    If it only were as simple as that...

    If the sentence is Subject - verb - preposition - noun, the verb is intransitive.
    If the sentence is Subject - verb, the verb is intransitive.
    If the sentence is Subject - verb - noun, the verb is transitive.

    If the verb is a phrasal verb then the sentence will be Subject - [verb+another word that may or may not be a preposition] - object, and the phrasal verb will be transitive. OR, Subject - [verb+another word that may or may not be a preposition] and the phrasal verb will be intransitive
    Thanks for the detailed structures you provided.
     

    lapdwicks

    Senior Member
    Sinhala
    If it only were as simple as that...

    If the sentence is Subject - verb - preposition - noun, the verb is intransitive. "He put the cat on the mat."
    Your explanation is OK, but, how can the verb in above sentence be intransitive as it has an object "cat"?

    You have to give an example like "he (subject) went (verb) to (preposition) London (noun)" to prove your statement.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Your explanation is OK, but, how can the verb in above sentence be intransitive as it has an object "cat"?

    You have to give an example like "he (subject) went (verb) to (preposition) London (noun)" to prove your statement.
    Thank you. I have corrected the example.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    I'm not sure why phrasal verbs were brought up by Paul. "The noise grated on my nerves" is not at all like,
    "That fellow hit on my girlfriend." In the former case it's an intransitive verb and, as cagey noted, a propositional phrase to indicate the thing affected (not the grammatical object). In the latter case it's arguably a transitive, phrasal verb 'hit on' and 'girlfriend' is the grammatical (and real-life object).
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I'm not sure why phrasal verbs were brought up by Paul.
    I did it for completeness. Had I merely said, "If there's a preposition, it's intransitive." I would now be replying to the point, "But what about phrasal verbs?": I was probably in a lose-lose situation. :)
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    Good point, Paul. The rule should say, "Where a verb is followed by a preposition that functions on its own and retains its basic autonomous meaning, then the verb is likely intransitive and the following noun is not the grammatical object (though it might be an indirect object)." The noise grated [{on} my nerves]

    In phrasal verbs, the preposition is, so to say, absorbed into or incorporated into the verb; the meaning of the consolidated pair (or triple) is a change from, and not an addition of, the two basic meanings.
    The fellow (hit on) my girlfriend, where "hit on" means "made a sexual suggestion or approach."
     
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