Stretched verb

A stretched verb is a complex predicate composed of a light verb and an eventive noun. An example is the English phrase "take a bite out of", which is semantically similar to the simple verb "bite". The concept has been used in studies of German and English.[1]

Other names for a stretched verb include "supported verb", "expanded predicate", "verbo-nominal phrase", and "delexical verb combination". Some definitions may place further restrictions on the construction: restricting the light verb to one of a fixed list; restricting the occurrence of articles, prepositions, or adverbs within the complex phrase; requiring the eventive noun to be identical or cognate with a synonymous simple verb, or at least requiring the stretched verb to be synonymous with some simple verb. [2]

In English, many stretched verbs are more common than a corresponding simple verb: for example "get rid [of X from Y]" compared to the verb "rid [Y of X]"; or "offer (one's) condolences [to X]" vs "condole [with X]". Correct use of stretched verbs is about as difficult for EFL students as other types of collocation.[3]

See also


  1. Allerton, D. J. (2002). Stretched Verb Constructions in English. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-25733-6.
  2. Nesselhauf, Nadja (2005). Collocations in a Learner Corpus. John Benjamins. pp. §2.1.2, pp.19–21. ISBN 90-272-2285-1.
  3. Nesselhauf, §5.1.3, pp.211–214

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