chapter  8
10 Pages

Verb compounds

A compound verb has a final verbal element, modified usually by a noun, sometimes by an adjective: to hand weave, to parcel-bomb, to cold-call. Verbs, however, should not be thought of as compounded - formed by the combining of two lexical items - in the same way as noun compounds and adjective compounds. Verb compounding is a productive process in some languages, but English is not one of them. Despite some suggestions to the contrary (e.g. Bromser 1985, Lehrer 1996b), there will almost always be an intermediary nominal or adjectival expression from which an English compound verb is derived. For this reason, Marchand's term for all formations of the kind illustrated in this chapter is 'pseudo-compound verb' (1969, 100-7). It is convenient, however, to go on referring to 'compound verbs' here.