Is there a reference/archive of English verbs and their argument structure? That is to say, how many and what categories of arguments they require. And maybe even their theta roles? I don't expect there to be a comprehensive archive, but maybe there is a list of the most common verbs.

Something like this:

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  • 1
    Good question for ELU.meta, Bernardo. Notice that verbs are versatile. 'Place' for example may, with varied senses, have two arguments ('I can't place him') or be monovalent/intransitive ('Filho placed in the 3:50 at Kempton'). The table above doesn't indicate whether 'arguments 1, 2 & 3' say is claiming that 3 arguments are mandatory for the listed verb or not. May 17 at 10:19

1 Answer 1


Though traditional dictionaries aren't particularly reliable for parts of speech, surely with a dictionary that gives examples it should be straightforward to extract the valency and roles from the examples.

However, if you want to -select- those verbs with a given valency/role structure (ie you want to produce a list of verbs that require an object and location), that doesn't exist as far as I know, though it would be a good summer project in computational linguistics to write a program to create that from examples.

That said, I'm sure one could compile such a list by hand for a given language from relevant research articles and language learning resources.

  • And if you find or create such a resource please link here!
    – Mitch
    May 17 at 14:52
  • Levin's 1993 English Verb Classes and Alternations doesn't give all the information you ask for, but it's easy enough to derive from the information that is there. May 20 at 13:18
  • Why is this a proper Meta question? Please do not jump on me. I just don't know. Thanks.
    – Lambie
    Jun 1 at 17:12
  • @Lambie a long time ago it was decided by consensus (I'm not sure if the meta discussion that did it) that resource requests belonged in meta, not main. Maybe resource requests should be ok in main?
    – Mitch
    Jun 4 at 15:49
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    @Mitch Since I can't understand half the Meta stuff and discussions that go on, I really can't say. Thanks, though. I was just wondering. Most of it makes my eyes glaze over. :)
    – Lambie
    Jun 4 at 15:51
  • @Lambie SO is a toy to play with and meta is toy about toys to play with. So it becomes rule play quickly.
    – Mitch
    Jun 4 at 15:56
  • @Mitch Geesus, man, I know what meta means. That is not what I don't get. It's the endless discussions (nha nha nha factor) that go on and on about this or that topic.
    – Lambie
    Jun 4 at 16:11

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