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Please note that this is the beta version of the Erlangen Valency Patternbank, so there are some known issues. More…

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There is a whole range of publications which evolved around the research on valency at Erlangen University. More…

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Basic Concepts

Sense indication

If a word is listed with more than one sense in the Valency Dictionary of English, the number of the sense in the dictionary is indicated (usually by a capital letter and a short disambiguating label).

Uses that are glossed in VDE are indicated in the patternbank as special uses.

Quantitative Valency

Quantitative valency refers to the number of complements that occur in a pattern. The letter codes given refer to the active patterns as identified in the VDE:

  • M monovalent active use one complement

  • D divalent active use two complements

  • T trivalent active use three complements

  • Q quadrivalent use four complements

Obviously there are cases where the decision as to what one regards as one complement is not straightforward and depends on the framework employed: thus we classify the catch come in in Today you can watch the catch come in (...) at Hayle, St Ives, Newlyn and Mousehole ... or you drink your tea in I should happily watch you drink your tea as single complements of the type NP_to_INF, but one could also make out a case for analysing it as two complements.

Not having patterns sorted according to quantitative valency thus provides a list of patterns which is not quite so dependent on the underlying analytical categories (although there is still a difference between NP_to_INF and NP + to_INF).


SCU: subject complement unit, i.e. that unit of the clause that

  • functions as the subject of the clause
  • is realized by a valency complement of the verb

If you choose the simple subject view (which is the default), three types of subjects will show in the patterns:

  • it (impersonal it), which cannot be substituted by any other noun phrase
  • there (impersonal there), which cannot be substituted by a noun phrase
  • SCU, which means that the subject can be realized by an NP, but possibly also other types of phrase or clause such as a V-ing-clause, a to_INF, etc.

If you choose the detailed subject view, the full range of subjects identified in the Valency Dictionary of English will show in the patterns. Note that information on non-NP subjects in the VDE is mostly based on lexicographers' intuition.


VHC: verbal head complex, which consists of

  • the governing verb as head of the clause and
  • possibly pre-heads (auxiliaries)

VHCact verbal head complex (active verb morphology)
VHCpass verbal head complex (passive verb morphology)

Further Information

Please refer to the following documents for further information: