I realize the wording is a little difficult to parse; essentially, I'm asking how to fill in the following blanks:

The ___ of "mistake" is "make".

The ___ of "action" is "perform".

The ___ of "party" is "throw".

The ___ of "campaign" is ___.

Compound words are, of course, perfectly acceptable. A similar question suggested "performative verb", but the Wikipedia description seems to be referencing something else.

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    I am not aware of any term appropriate for such a general a set of examples. They are simply verbs, with the other word in each example being a noun serving as a direct object. Also note that to throw a party may be considered an idiomatic expression, because the context forces a specific understanding of certain words. – epl Apr 7 at 7:40
  • Also performant verb appears to be unrelated, as referring to a statement that carries legal or procedural force. One cannot claim to hold a particular job the day after saying "I quit", because the act of quitting occurs simply because of saying so. – epl Apr 7 at 7:45
  • I see. Regardless, do you know what would be the verb corresponding to "campaign"? If helpful, the context is "(...) injection campaigns, such as the ones ___ to treat sleeping sickness". Could "coordinated" fill in this blank? – Lucca Apr 7 at 8:06
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    In the context you have provided, I would not say that any single word is appropriate. The particular phrase "injection campaign" has no specific meaning. One might write, "conducting a campaign against sleeping sickness by providing injections" to describe the ongoing activity, or "launch a campaign against sleeping sickness that will provide injections" to describe the beginning. – epl Apr 7 at 8:29
  • Well, there's always "verbing a noun". – Hot Licks Apr 15 at 21:30

While I am unaware of any specific word for this, I would call the blank in each example sentence (or the first blank in the last example sentence) a verbal antecedent.

This is a mix of the two normal senses of the word antecedent (along with the definition of verbal in its sense of grammar rather than speech):


1 grammar : a substantive word, phrase, or clause whose denotation is referred to by a pronoun (such as John in "Mary saw John and called to him")

broadly : a word or phrase replaced by a substitute

2 a : a preceding event, condition, or cause
// events that were antecedents of the war

2 b antecedents plural : the significant events, conditions, and traits of one's earlier life

Neither sense directly matches, but the combination of the two does.

In other words, the examples could be rephrased::

The verbal antecedent of "mistake" is "make."
She [made] something. She [made] a mistake.

The verbal antecedent of "action" is "perform."
He [performed] something. He [performed] an action.

The verbal antecedent of "campaign" is "planned."
They [planned] something. They [planned] a campaign.

In the first example, for instance, make is the verb that antecedes the noun mistake.

And in the last example, other verbs could also be used, such as conducted or launched, as suggested in a comment under the question, or executed.

Which verbs commonly go with which nouns could be called collocations.

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