Unit 11.2

Verbal phrase

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Introduction

syntagma [sintagma] is a word or set of words that perform a syntactic function in a sentence. According to their nucleus, there are five types of syntagms: nominal, verbal, adjectival, adverbial, and prepositional.

The verbal phrase (VP) [sintagma verbal (SV)] is a syntactic structure whose nucleus is a verb (predicatecopulative or attributive, auxiliary) on which other complements of the verb in the sentence depend.

Form

The verbal phrase performs the functions of the predicate.

It has this structure:

Nucleus + complements (attributedirect complementindirect complementcircumstantial complement...).

The verbal syntagm is made up of two parts: the nucleus and the complement.

Nucleus

The nucleus of the verbal phrase is the verb, and it is the essential and obligatory element in the sentence.

The nucleus can be:

  • predicative verb (gustarhablar, leer, escribir, pensar, hacer, etc.);
  • copulative or attributive verb (ser, estar y parecer);
  • auxiliary verb (haber, ser, estar, tener, ir, acabar, empezar, volver, poder, etc.);
  • pseudo-copulative verb (ponerse, quedarse, hacerse, volverse, etc.).

Complement

The complement of the verbal phrase is a word or words that complement and modify the meaning of the verbal nucleus (verb).

The complement of the verb can be:

  • attribute;
  • direct complement;
  • indirect complement;
  • circumstantial complement;

Example

Nucleus:

  • Yo le leo una revista a Laura;
  • estás cansado de escuchar la radio;
  • Él ha llegado al quiosco;
  • Nosotras nos pusimos verdes de envidia al ver su ordenador.

Complement:

  • Yo estoy cansado de escuchar la radio;
  • Tú le lees una revista a Laura;
  • Él le lee una revista a Laura;
  • Nosotras hemos llegado al quiosco.

Use

The verbal phrase (VP) is used to indicate action, movement, existence, condition, or state of the subject and construct the sentence’s predicate.

Summary

In Spanish, the verbal phrase (VP) is a syntactic structure composed of a nucleus (predicative, copulative or attributive verb, auxiliary verb) and complements of the verb.
It has this structure:
Nucleus + complements (attribute, direct complement, indirect complement, circumstantial complement…)
For example:
— «Él tiene una nueva televisión.» = The verb as a nucleus;
— «Él tiene una nueva televisión = Direct complement (DC).
Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.

Related

A syntagma is a word or set of words that perform a syntactic function in the sentence. According to their nucleus, there are five types of syntagms: nominal, verbal, adjectival, adverbial and prepositional. For example, the verbal syntagm (SV) is a syntactic structure formed by a nucleus (predicative, copulative or attributive verb, auxiliary verb) and complements of the verb.

 

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