An ELT Glossary : Delexicalised verbs

Definition : A verb used with a noun phrase with the general meaning of "perform the action indicated by the noun".

Examples :  have, take, make and do in the following sentences :
  • She had lunch
  • We took a break
  • I made a mistake
  • He did the shopping

Obviously, many of these verbs can also be used with lexical meaning :

have = possess : She has a lovely house.
take = seize hold of : She took a book off the shelf
make = create :  She made a model of a rabbit

It is only the context which will tell you if a verb is or isn't "delexicalised"

Recommended reading

Selivan, L. Lexical Grammar, Cambridge 

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