Not yet registered?
Join our Community and check your progress .







English courses


Lesson 7.2

Delexical Verbs

Delexical Verbs
Share this

Advertisements

Translate
to Spanish
American female
American male
British female
British male
Listen to
this lesson

Delexical verbs are common verbs such as “have”, “take”, “make” or “give” which when used with particular nouns have very little meaning of their own. In these delexical structures most of the meaning is found in the noun, not in the verb. In most cases, there is a verb which has a similar meaning to the delexical structure. Delexical structures are very common in English and an understanding of them will enrich one’s fluency of the language.

Using delexical structures allows us to add additional information to the action by using adjectives with the nouns, rather than an adverb, which at times can sound awkward.

Let’s take a look at some examples with each particular verb.

Have

“Have” on it’s own indicates possession, but when used in delexical structures the meaning changes. We can use “have” when talking about meals, conversations and disagreements, washing or resting.

Examples:

 We have breakfast every morning at 8 o’clock.
 Lets have a drink!
 They had an argument last night.
 John had a hot shower after his day out in the cold.
 I’m not happy. We need to have a conversation.
 Next year I will have a long holiday in France.

Note: In the example above, “He had a shower…”, we could also say “He showered,” but by using the delexical structure we are able to include additional details with the use of an adjective (“hot”). It’s also important to note that the delexical structure “have a shower” is perhaps more commonly used than the actual verb “to shower”. This is the case not only with the above mentioned example, but in many of the examples discussed here.

Other nouns which we use with the verb “have” in delexical structure include:

lunch, dinner, a snack, coffee, a chat, a discussion, a talk, a bath, a break, a rest, a dispute, a fight…

Take

Take”, like “have”, is used with washing or resting as well as several other nouns.

Examples:

 I need to take a long, hot bath.
 Take a break, you look exhausted.
 Nancy doesn’t like to take risks.
 Can you take care of my dogs while I am on vacation?

Other nouns which we use with the verb “take” in delexical structure include:

care, a chance, a photograph, a turn…
Note: Both “have” and “take” can be used with the noun forms of certain verbs.

Examples:

 Let’s have a swim, it’s hot.
 Can you take a look at my article before I submit it to the publisher?

Make

We use “make” with plans, travel and with reference to talking.

Examples:

 Have you made the arrangements for your trip yet?
 My parents made a quick visit to the British Museum when they were in London.
 Helen made a very important point in the meeting this morning.
 The President will make his speech at the end of the inauguration.

Other nouns which we use with the verb “make” in delexical structure include:

a sound, conversation, a comment, a noise, a promise, a suggestion, a choice, a decision, a plan, a trip, a tour…

Give

Give” is used with noises, facial expressions, affection, hitting and talking.

Examples:

 Give me a shout when you are ready to go.
 Please give Sally a big hug for me!
 My dad always gives me good advice.
 Go ahead, give it a kick!

Other nouns which we use with the verb “give” in delexical structure include:

a cry, a laugh, a scream, a smile, a look, a glance, a punch, a slap, a push, a kiss, an answer, information, an interview, a lecture, a report, a warning…

Go and Do

Go” and “do” can also be used as delexical verbs, but the structure with these verbs is different. We frequently use these verbs in delexical structures with “-ing” nouns.

Go

Go” is generally used for common activities that involve movement. We use the construction “go for a” when the noun is not a “-ing” noun.

Examples:

 Beth goes swimming every day.
 Nina doesn’t like to go shopping.
 It’s a beautiful day, we should go for a walk.

Other nouns which we use with the verb “go” in delexical structure include:

running, walking, jogging, skiing, a jog, a ride, a swim, a run, a stroll…

Do

Do” is often used with work related activities. We also use “do” when the action is obvious.

Examples:

 Can you please do the washing?
 You rest, I’ll do the cooking today.
 Let me help you do your hair.

Other nouns which we use with the verb “do” in delexical structure include:

jobs, work, homework, the washing up, the cleaning, the dishes, exercise, research, damage…

Note: See the lesson Do vs. Make for more delexical structures with these two verbs.

Note: See the lesson Do vs. Make for more delexical structures with these two verbs.

Translate
English Spanish
Listen to
this lesson
Previous lesson
7.1 Do vs. Make

Complete the exercises in order to update your progress
Advertisements