Light verb is thematically incomplete verb which only in combination with a predicative complement qualifies as a predicate.
the Japanese verb suru in (i)a case-marks but does not theta-mark the complement NP hanashi which in its turn theta-marks John and Mary. As shown by the contrast with (i)b, the verb suru only contributes the past tense (shita = suru + past) and the case-marking (-o) of the complement.
(i) a John-wa Mary-ni hanashi-o shita John-topic Mary-to talk-Acc suru-past 'John talked to Mary' b John-no Mary-e-no hanashi John-Gen Mary-to-Gen talk
- Catell, R. 1984. Composite Predicates in English, Academic Press Australia: North Ryde, New South Wales.
- Grimshaw, J. & A. Mester 1988. Light verbs and theta-marking, Linguistic Inquiry 19, 205-232, .