The Grammar Nazi Strikes Back

Today, friends, we examine the verb to grow.

Which of these sentences is wrong?

“The tree grows tall.”
“We need to grow the economy.”

(It’s the second one, if anyone’s confused.)

For the record, there are a variety of types of verbs – one major distinction being transitive vs. intransitive verbs. For instance: to carry. To carry is a transitive verb. One doesn’t say “The bus carries.” One says “The bus carries four hobos and a ukulele.” Transitive verbs require a direct object to be complete. Intransitive verbs, on the other hand, cannot take a direct object.

To grow is an intransitive verb. Please don’t use it as in: “growing your faith,” “helping to grow your church,” “this new drug will grow your male member” or any similar perversions of the English language. Want your faith/state/ economy/nether regions to grow? Fine. Use “grow” intransitively, and I’ll leave you the F alone. Contribute money to help your political party’s coffers to grow. But don’t do it to grow their bank accounts. Comprenez-vous?

And yes, before anyone jumps me, many verbs can be used transitively and intransitively. We leave a present for Jeb. Jeb leaves. Elmer moved his car. Elmer moves quickly. Etc, etc, ad nauseum, ad infinitum. Grow, however, is NOT one of those verbs, so use it correctly (that includes you, TV preachers and news anchors, as well as you, Mr. President) or I’ll become very crabby. Ok, crabbier than usual. Don’t make me start frothing at the mouth! (intransitively)

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