Light verb

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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


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • 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, .