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1. Also verbal phrase. In traditional grammar, a term for the main VERB and any auxiliary or combination of auxiliaries that precedes it: can spell; may have cried; should be paid; might have been transferred.

2. In generative grammar, a term roughly equivalent to the traditional predicate. It includes the traditional verb PHRASE with (at least) any complements of the verb, such as the non-bracketed parts of the following sentences: (They) have understood his intention; (Susan) was very patient. See NOUN.