Grammar terms beginning with letter L

Labile verb

A verb which can be either transitive or intransitive. English has many labile verbs. Examples are: sink, smoke, dress, wash, swim, jump etc.

  • Susie smokes expensive cigarettes. (Transitive)
  • Susie smokes. (Intransitive)
  • The explosion sank the ship. (Transitive)
  • The ship sank. (Intransitive)
  • She washed her dress. (Transitive)
  • This dress washes easily. (Intransitive)

Lexical item

The form of a word which is listed in a dictionary. For example, book is a lexical item, while books isn’t. In the same way, take is a lexical item, but its grammatical forms takes, taking, taken and took aren’t lexical items.

Lexical verb

Any verb which is not an auxiliary verb. Examples are: write, sing, dance, work, break, explain, smile, die etc.

The set of words in a language. To refer to the words known by a person, we use the word vocabulary.

Light verb
A verb which has no meaning of its own. A light verb helps to convert another word into a verbal form. The English verbs which can be used as light verbs include do, make, have, give and take.

  • Make a mistake
  • Do a dance
  • Have a shower
  • Give a cry
  • Take a sip

Linking verb

A special verb which serves to connect two parts of a sentence. A linking verb expresses either that the two parts denote the same thing or that the first part has the property denoted by the second. An example of a linking verb is be.
The sentence James is my brother asserts that James and my brother are the same person.