In linguistics a lexical verb or main verb is a member of an open class of verbs that includes all verbs except auxiliary verbs. Lexical verbs typically express action, state, or other predicate meaning. In contrast, auxiliary verbs express grammatical meaning. The verb phrase of a sentence is generally headed by a lexical verb.[1]

Lexical verbs are categorized into five categories: copular, intransitive, transitive, ditransitive, and ambitransitive.[2][3]

The descriptor lexical is applied to the words of a language's lexicon, often to indicate a content word, as distinct from a function word.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Crystal, David. (2003) A Dictionary of Linguistics & Phonetics (5th edition). New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
  2. ^ Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
  3. ^ Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  4. ^ "What is a lexical verb?". Glossary (Linguistics). SIL International. 2004. Retrieved 25 August 2009.