Publicaciones de la categoría: Cognate object

Cognate object

Cognate object

cognate object (or cognate accusative) is a verb‘s object that is etymologically related to the verb. More specifically, the verb is one that is ordinarily intransitive (lacking any object), and the cognate object is simply the verb’s noun form.

For example, in the sentence 

He slept a troubled sleepsleep is the cognate object of the verb slept.

cognate object

Definition of cognate object



  • a direct object that has the same linguistic derivation as the verb which governs it, as in ‘sing a song’.
  • a direct object that makes explicit a semantic concept that is already present in the semantics of the verb which governs it, as in ‘eat some food’.


In English, the construction can occur with a number of intransitive verbs:

  • He slept a troubled sleep. (i.e., He slept, and his sleep was troubled.)
  • He laughed a bitter laugh. (i.e., He laughed bitterly.)
  • He died a painful death. (i.e., He died painfully.)
  • He dreamed a strange dream. (i.e., He dreamed, and his dream was strange.)
    • (Note: This seems to be the only example that has a more natural-sounding sentence that would be used in everyday conversation, i.e., “He had a strange dream.”)
  • He walked their walk and talked their talk. (i.e., He walked and talked as they did.)
  • He smiled a charming smile. (i.e., He smiled, and his smile was charming.)
  • He danced a cheerful dance. (i.e., He danced, and his dance was cheerful.)
In some of these cases, the cognate object allows for a simpler construction. In others, it may simply be chosen for idiomatic or rhetorical reasons. In general, the cognate object’s modifiers are in some sense modifying the verb:
 for example, 

He slept a troubled sleep tells how he slept. 
Semantically, many of these verbs denote modes of nonverbal expression (laugh, smile) and bodily actions or motions (dance, walk, sleep), specifically including what Levin calls “waltz verbs,” those that are zero-related (i.e., identical) to the names of dances. [4]

Cognate Objects as Categorical Expressions

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de T OGATA – Artículos relacionados
The main concern of this paper is to investigate cognate object constructions  verbs, normally intransitive verbs, take their cognate nouns in their object 

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