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Psych-verb is verb which designates a psychological state or process, such as amuse, frighten, etc. Also called Experiencer-verb because the state or process involves an Experiencer. This Experiencer may be but need not be the subject.


The Experiencer we is the subject in (i), but the Experiencer us in (ii) is not the subject. See Psych-movement.

(i)  We feared the storm
(ii) The storm frightened us


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Beletti, A. & L. Rizzi 1988. Psych-Verbs and Theta-Theory, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 6, 291-352, .
  • Grimshaw, J. 1990. Argument Structure, MIT-press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Postal, P. 1971. Cross-over phenomena, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.