Connect
To Top

    The Verb Phrase Head in English Grammar

    The Verb Phrase Head in English Grammar

    Verb phrase heads are words that function as the heads of verb phrases. A verb phrase consists of a verb plus any modifiers, complements, objects, infinitive markers, particles, operators, progressives, perfects, passive, and modals. Only one grammatical form can perform the function of adverb phrase head in the English language. The one grammatical form that can function as the verb phrase head is:

    • Verbs

    The following section defines and exemplifies the only grammatical form that can function as the verb phrase head in English grammar.

    Verbs as Verb Phrase Heads

    The only grammatical form that performs the grammatical function of verb phrase head is the verb. Traditional grammars define verbs as words that denote actions and states of being. For example, the following italicized verbs function as verb phrase heads:

    • dance
    • was
    • will shimmy
    • am screaming
    • had  chomped
    • has been peeling
    • could be storing
    • have been being written
    • should have been getting whipped
    • to obfuscate
    • not err
    • reading the magazine
    • is listening to the new song
    • run quickly
    • would have given me the bad news
    • could have been painting the roses red
    • squirrel away
    • might have been looking the information up

    The only grammatical form that can function as the verb phrase head in the English language is the verb.

    Summary

    Verb phrase heads are words that function as the heads of verb phrases. A verb phrase consists of a verb plus any modifiers, complements, objects, infinitive markers, particles, operators, progressives, perfects, passive, and modals.

    Verb phrase head is a grammatical function.

    The grammatical form that can function as the verb phrase head in English grammar is the verb.

    References

    Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
    Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
    Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    More in Grammatical Function