A verb with no meaning of its own that serves merely to convert another word in a sentence into a verb form.
Examples and Observations:
- "Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind."
(Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy)
- The police force received the blame, although it did not deserve it.
- "You can't take a picture of this; it's already gone."
(Nate Fisher, Jr., in Six Feet Under)
- "If a man knows certain things, will he be able to give an account of them, or will he not?"
- light verb
"A common and versatile lexical verb like do, give, have, make or take, which is semantically weak in many of its uses, and can be combined with nouns in constructions such as do the cleaning, give (someone) a hug, have a drink, make a decision, take a break. The whole construction often seems equivalent to the use of a single verb: make a decision = decide."
(Geoffrey Leech, A Glossary of English Grammar. Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2006)
- "The light-verb construction is built by combining three elements: (i) a so-called light verb like make or have; (ii) an abstract noun like claim or hope; (iii) a phrasal modifier of the noun which supplies most of the content of the sentence. The following are typical examples of the construction:
a. John made the claim that he was happy.The light verb construction is set apart semantically by the fact that it usually can be paraphrased by similar sentences with a verb plus complement structure:
b. Mary has hopes that she will win the championship.
c. They have a chance to tell about their plans.
d. They have opinions about politics.
e. They cast votes for their favorite candidate.
a. John claimed that he was happy.(Paul Douglas Deane, Grammar in Mind and Brain: Explorations in Cognitive Syntax. Walter de Gruyter, 1992)
b. Mary hopes that she will win the championship.
c. They are enabled to tell about their plans.
d. They voted for their favorite candidate.