Thursday, February 7

Get noun

The verbing of nouns is nothing new. This poem, which, according to this post, was originally published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, provides myriad examples of the English language's morphology.

Did I lose you? Morphology happens every day, like when you make up a word by using parts of existing words. This is just a drop in the ocean compared to what English has been through over the hundreds of years of its linguistic development.

Today it seems we're verbing nouns at what some linguists find to be an alarming rate. Words like "PDFing," "texting," and "staffing" come from a PDF document, a text message, and a staff for a business/event. But these are now things we can also do.


Without further ado, I present to you the Verbing of America, an unsigned poem.


  1. Here's a morphology of late that drives me insane: The use of "respect" and "disrespect" as a action verb. As in, "When he said I was a slow runner, he disrespected me."

    As far as I know, dear Grammarissa, respect and disrespect are nouns. What say you?

  2. An excellent question!!

    When Aretha Franklin was looking for R-E-S-P-E-C-T, it was the noun. (As in, "I want some respect!") But she wanted people to respect her. "To respect," an infinitive form of the verb "respect," which must have an object.

    Example: I respect you. (Subject - verb - object) is a simple use. There are lots of more complicated uses that involve indirect objects and prepositional phrases, but this example shows the most common use and the same thing applies for "disrespect," but Aretha might have had a tougher time coming up with a chorus for that song.


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