Current theories of agrammatism do not provide a clear explanation for the co-occurrence of omission of grammatical markers and main verbs in this disorder. This study tested the hypothesis that the two symptom features have distinct underlying causes. Specifically, that the omission of main verbs in agrammatic speech is caused, at least in part, by a lexical (as opposed to a syntactic) deficit. Agrammatic and anomic aphasics and normal controls were given an object and action naming test. Agrammatic patients showed a marked impairment in naming actions in contrast to anomic aphasics and normal controls who named actions better than objects. The action naming impairment in agrammatic patients was interpreted as evidence for the lexical deficit hypothesis of verb omission in the speech of these patients and as a demonstration that agrammatism is a heterogeneous disorder that implicates damage to both lexical and syntactic mechanisms.