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Why Cant Nouns be Verbed? or is it Verbified?

Published: 12th January 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th January 2015 12:35 AM   |  A+A-

My son has the habit of mutating certain nouns into verbs.  Confused, I try to take refuge in standard online dictionaries to check whether the nouns are really used as verbs by native speakers of English. When I succeed in finding good sentences in which the nouns are used as verbs, I give him a pat on the back. And when I fail to find the nouns used as verbs in sentences, I ask him why he used the words as verbs. He just laughs and says, “Why can’t the nouns be verbed?” More confused, I ask him, “Which is correct? Verbified or verbed?

dr-albert-p'-rayan.jpgMore and more nouns and other parts of speech in the English language are verbed (verbified) these days. Does this act of verbification prove that some language users are creative? Or does it show that English evolves and grows? When nouns are verbified with zero derivation or without adding any suffix to them, why can’t the noun ‘verb’ have the same spelling (zero derivation) when it is used in the sense of ‘verb’? My research shows that both ‘verb’ and ‘verbify’ are commonly used as in the following examples:

•  Some nouns have been verbed but most nouns are not meant to be verbed.

•  Can you give me a list of verbified nouns?

I came across this beautiful example sentence of how different body parts (nouns) are used as verbs — In a single work day, we might head a task force, eye an opportunity, nose around for good ideas, mouth a greeting, elbow an opponent, strong-arm a colleague, shoulder the blame, stomach a loss, and finally hand in our resignation. (Source: www.grammar.about.com/od/grammarfaq/f/verbingfaq.htm)

Many proper nouns are used as verbs. The examples are google, facebook, skype, youtube, and whatsapp.

•  You can google my name and access my columns.

•  I spend about an hour every day facebooking my friends.

•  I have been asked to skype to talk to the university admission manager.

• Last night I youtubed Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

•  I whatsapped the pictures taken at MGM Beach Resort on the New Year eve.

Here are more examples of verbified nouns:

1.  The newly-formed rock musicians wowed the audience.

2.  Just a few minutes ago, I emailed you. Please check and let me know what you think.

3.  Most parents don’t know how to parent their children.

4.  Only the DNA test will prove whether he has fathered the child.

5.  We will up the capacity of the auditorium by 10 per cent.

6.  He is busy blogging.

7.  I tweet 10-15 tweets every day.

8.  I don’t know your address. Please text it to me by this evening.

9.  He keeps all his favourite web pages bookmarked.

10.  Poor performance in English examinations has been trending upwards these days.

11.  It is not good to brand the students as slow learners.

12.  Has the Director okayed the budget?

will be continued... rayanal@yahoo.co.uk



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