Children use syntax to guide verb learning. We asked whether the syntactic structure in which a novel verb occurs is meaningful to children even without a concurrent scene from which to infer the verb's semantic content. In two experiments, 2-year-olds observed dialogues in which interlocutors used a new verb in transitive ("lane bticked the baby!") or intransitive ("lane blicked!") sentences. The children later heard the verb in holation ("Find blicking!") while watching a one-participant event and a two-participant event presented side by side. Children who had heard transitive dialogues looked reliably longer at the two-participant event than did those who had heard intransitive diahgues. This effect persisted even when children were tested on a different day 9 but disappeared when no novel verb accompanied the test events (Experiment 2). Thus, 2-year-olds gather useful combinatorial information about a novel verb simply from hearing it in sentences, and later retrieve that information to guide interpretation of the verb.