Verb Supersense Annotation Guidelines for STREUSLE 2.0

Using WordNet as a guide, we should develop a tagging scheme for verbs along the lines of the one for nouns. (Verb tag names are lowercased to distinguish them from noun tags.)

`a (auxiliary)
might/aux have/aux been/aux Ving
`j (adjectival)
the written/adj message, a sinking/adj feeling
body (grooming, dressing, bodily functions and care)
exercise = work out, cry (shed tears), wear (clothes), sweat, shiver, faint, burp, ache, tire, sleep, recuperate = convalesce, reproduce (biologically), die = cease to live [though WN puzzlingly has change], injure (physically)
change (size, temperature change, intensifying, etc.)
grow (increase in size, age, or value), remove (physically), modify, revert, adjust, pop = burst
  • includes verbs derived with -ify, -ize, -en, etc.: humidify, magnetize, strengthen
cognition (thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting)
decide, think, rate (assign rating), respect = have respect for, memorize, learn, see = understand
communication (verbal/linguistic or nonverbal gesturing: telling, asking, ordering)
speak, talk, write = communicate by writing, announce, type (on a keyboard), cry out, describe, argue, contest, petition, stammer, beg, mandate, veto, libel, preach, teach (education), fax, moo (animal noise)
  • WN lists music production (a person singing/playing an instrument) as creation
  • noises from inanimate objects (‘creak’, etc.) are perception
  • contrast with perception, cognition
competition (fighting, athletic activities)
compete, fight (with someone), play (sports), referee, duel [supersedes social?; superseded by communication for rhetorical senses of ‘attack’, ‘contend’, etc.; superseded by contact for moments of physical contact: ‘wrestle’, ‘box’, ‘punch’, ‘beat up’]
consumption (ingesting, using, exploiting)
eat, picnic, thirst for (drink), digest (food), smoke (cigarette), use, waste [supersedes change and body?]
  • we tasted the food (BUT: the food tastes yummy is perception)
contact (touching, hitting, tying, digging)
fasten, overlay, slice, rub, pinch, box, punch, shoulder, yank, bump, release, lug, airlift, use/operate (an instrument or machine) [supersedes stative and motion, e.g. move something by vehicle or by carrying it]
creation (sewing, baking, painting, performing)
create, bake (a cake), grow (agriculture), invent, write = produce a book, perform (give a performance)
emotion (feeling)
fear, anger, hope = wish, trust [difficult to separate from social and communication, e.g. ‘amuse’, ‘encourage’]
motion (walking, flying, swimming)
travel, leap (physically), fly, vibrate, rotate (physically) [some synsets, e.g. for ‘reach’, conflate literal and metaphorical senses under motion (metaphorical should be change)?]
perception (seeing, hearing, feeling)
see (visually), witness, feel (by touch), seem, thirst = feel thirsty, ache = feel physical pain, hallucinate, clang, twinkle (candle or bulb), creak (inanimate noise source)
possession (buying, selling, owning)
receive = acquire, lend, sell, purchase, rob, want/ask=charge (an amount for), have = own, possess (a piece of property)

social (social activities and events: law, politics, economy, education, family, religion, etc.)
meet (socially), celebrate, divorce, succeed (achieve success, or be successor to), respect = show respect towards, gerrymander, cheat (except in the competitive sense), spoil = mollycoddle
stative (being, having, spatial relations)
be, have = feature, stagnate, equal, necessitate, lack, span, contain (physically), underlie [superseded by contact? encircle/surround, cover = serve as cover for]
  • what separates these things is…
  • X compared to Y
  • active subject usually a theme??
weather (raining, snowing, thawing, thundering)
rain, thunder, twinkle (star), warm up (climate)


perception, communication, cognition

Precedence relations


Specific decisions







Several changes above, new section contrasting perception/communication/cognition, as well as:




When tagging in context, note that (unless it is an MWE) only the meaning of the verb should be characterized. So the verb ‘rising’ in ‘temperatures are rising’ should be tagged as a change verb, NOT as a weather verb.

Inherently negative verbs like ‘avoid’, ‘remove’, and ‘refuse’ receive a sense depending on the sort of activity that is not performed.