This thought is related to the last thought about adding made-up words to the Oxford English Dictionary. I’ve talked about this before but this thought pops up every now and then (sometimes when I’m on the toilet).

The thought is: any noun (or adjective) can be verbed (that is, assuming verb can be a verb, which I think it can).

Calvin and Hobbes had an opinion on the subject

Calvin and Hobbes had an opinion on the subject

But, can any noun really be verbed? I’d like to think it can.  Not everyone likes nouns being verbed willy nilly without due care and consideration. Benjamin Franklin described the act as ‘awkward and abominable’.  However, the English language is constantly evolving and there has always been a certain degree of verbing going but it seems to be more prevalent recently, especially in the so called post-post-modern digital age. Here are some examples:

  • parent (the way I parent my children is regarded as low-maintenance)
  • trend
  • inbox (don’t forget to inbox me later)
  • message
  • card (i.e. footballers might be carded)
  • facebook
  • dialogue
  • action
  • tweet
  • sext (to text explicit images)
  • conference (lets conference about that issue)
  • table (to table a discussion)
  • chair (see above)
  • google
Let me google that for you

Let me google that for you

But as I say, verbing isn’t a recent thing. William Shakespeare verbed lots of nouns in his plays and in fact many of our accepted, but interesting, verbs came from him.  In Richard III the Duke of York says, “Grace me no grace, and uncle me no uncles.” I’m not sure that to uncle caught on though.

This got me thinking, is it possible to do the opposite, to noun or adjective verbs?

According to the World Wide Web, it is. I found some great examples:

  • That’s the take-away from today’s lesson.
  • We now need to consider the build.
  • Can you tell me the solve for your main issue?

They sound a bit odd to me now but perhaps in time they will become the speak of us all.