Verbum Search through Tip of the Day #34a

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Oct 4 2020 2:23 PM

Tip 34a: Factbook Biblical Person: Lemma: Bible Word Study: Clause Participants --Grammatical

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This section replaced the Grammatical Relationships in Logos 6. However, the difference in how the grammatical portion works makes it desirable that both sections be retained.

From Verbum Help:

Clause Participants Section

The Clause Participants guide section summarizes search data for clauses (including referents) and groups them by the Biblical Knowledgebase entity. When all required resources are owned, this section has two views: Grammatical Roles (subject, object, etc.) and Semantic Roles (agent, patient, etc.).

This section appears in the Bible Word Study.

Learn More

•          Semantic Roles and Case Frames documentation — dataset documentation[1]

From the forums:

You should not expect there to be a set relationship between subject and agent. For example:

  • Mary hit Tom with a ball.
  • Tom was hit by a ball thrown by Mary.
  • A ball, thrown by Mary, hit Tom.

The subjects are Mary, Tom, ball respectively ... but in all cases it was Mary who was the agent and poor Tom who got the bruise. Yes, there are discernible constraints within a given language as to possible grammatical roles for a semantic role. Unfortunately, I can't find a straightforward article on mapping semantic roles to grammatical functions.

Grammatical Relationships

Clause Participants

By related word



With subject


With subject

With addressee


With object

With object


In relation to . . .

With adverb


With indirect object

With negator



With preposition



With indirect object




Subject of


In relation to . . .

Used adjectivally

Direct object


Direct object of






Used adjectivally


In relation to . . .

Modified by adjective


With subject

Prepositional phrase



Note: the chart above is likely incomplete. It was built by choosing representative words in Hebrew and Greek.

Definitions for grammatical roles

From Heiser, Michael S., and Vincent M. Setterholm. 2013; 2013. Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology. Lexham Press and Andersen, Francis I., and A. Dean Forbes. 2006. A Systematic Glossary to the Andersen-Forbes Analysis of the Hebrew Bible. Logos Bible Software.

  • Addressee
  • Adjective: “adjective A word that modifies or describes a noun, noun substitute (e.g., pronoun, participle as a substantive), or another adjective.[2]
  • Adverb: “adverb A word that modifies or describes a verb, adjective or another adverb.[3]
  • Articular
  • In relation to . . .
  • Indirect object: “indirect object — The secondary undergoer of the action of the predicator, typically a recipient of an object.[4]
  • Negator
  • Object
  • Predicator
  • Preposition: “preposition A word that helps express the relationship between two or more words in a phrase or sentence. A preposition typically has an object (the noun that follows the preposition) and a referent (the word or phrase the preposition and its object modify) heads or governs a phrase (hence, “prepositional phrase”). For example, in the sentence “The man smashed the car into the pole,” the preposition “into” has an object (the pole), creating the prepositional phrase “into the pole.”[5]
  • Subject

Yes, looking for definitions in FL documentation for definitions is that sparse

For a noun, the only grammatical role appears to be “in relation to . . .” while verbs show a variety of relationships. It was not until I thought in terms of dependency grammar that the usefulness of such a generic role became clear to me. One essentially has the arc and the direction but have freedom in assigning the relationship based upon the dependency grammar theory of your choice. For an extremely short introduction to dependency grammar, see this extract from Software > Stanford Parser > Neural Network Dependency Parser:


A dependency parser analyzes the grammatical structure of a sentence, establishing relationships between "head" words and words which modify those heads. The figure below shows a dependency parse of a short sentence. The arrow from the word moving to the word faster indicates that faster modifies moving, and the label advmod assigned to the arrow describes the exact nature of the dependency.

From Dependency parsing & associated algorithms in NLP by Mehul Gupta provides a straight forward introduction using the following relationships (tags for arcs):

For the text case אַבְרָם:

The section header contains:

  • An expand/contract arrowhead
  • A section title
  • The selected text for displaying matches
  • A help preview option
  • A setting for the selected text
  • An X for deleting the section from the Guide

Additional heading materials:

  • Top line – choice of section content as grammatical roles or semantic roles
  • Relationship heading – name of relationship; here a generic “in relation to . . .”
  • Item relationship is with:
    • An expand/contract arrowhead
    • An entity type icon
    • Name of entity
    • Number of relationships of lemma to this entity
    • Detail lines
      • Reference
      • Text specified by reference with selected clause highlighted

The standard mouse-over and click behavior apply to the Bible text.

One needs to be cautious in interpreting this data. For example, in the case of “the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai” the actual relationship is Abram to wife which is linked to Sarai grammatically. However, Verbum tagging standardizes “wife” to “Sarah” so that a search for <Person Sarah> will pick up “wife” as a reference to the person Sarah but not as a reference to the name Sarah.


[1] Verbum Help (Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2018).

[2] Michael S. Heiser and Vincent M. Setterholm, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology (Lexham Press, 2013; 2013).

[3] Michael S. Heiser and Vincent M. Setterholm, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology (Lexham Press, 2013; 2013).

[4] Francis I. Andersen and A. Dean Forbes, A Systematic Glossary to the Andersen-Forbes Analysis of the Hebrew Bible (Logos Bible Software, 2006).

[5] Michael S. Heiser and Vincent M. Setterholm, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology (Lexham Press, 2013; 2013).

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