Turning Nouns into Verbs -- What do you think?

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This is really a question about English. I'm hearing more and more of the following sort of thing:

--He texted her.
--Just favorite the webpage.
--Like to craft? (that one was in a magazine)

In high school, I was taught not to use "author" as a verb. Now it is accepted to the point where it is included in the dictionary as such.

Do you think, in the future, it will be acceptable to turn any noun we want to into a verb? Does the English language lose anything in the process?

Just looking for opinions, since there are so many language- and language-history- knowledgable people on the forum.

4259 views
updated ENE 30, 2009
posted by Natasha

4 Answers

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Natasha said:

Thanks for the thoughts, James and Lazarus. I was kind of wondering whether any other language did a similar thing.
Japanese has a standard mechanism (that is to say, when they do it, they normally do it using a set pattern) but the frequency with which they do (have done) it doesn't begin to match that of English.

The only reasonable grounds for objecting that I can see, is when there already exists an established verb with the same meaning. In most cases, however, making a noun into a verb, often results in greater economy of expression.

updated ENE 30, 2009
posted by samdie
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Thanks for the thoughts, James and Lazarus. I was kind of wondering whether any other language did a similar thing.

updated ENE 30, 2009
posted by Natasha
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I think that the ability to turn nouns into verbs is one of the strengths of the English language. Correct or not, people do it, and I can't see why it should be disouraged. It is a pity that not everything is so easy and consistent in the English.

updated ENE 30, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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English has long offered the ability to use any noun as a verb. If I were telling you about someone who got hit with something thrown by another person, you would understand just about any noun I used as a verb. "She screamed at him, and there was a stapler on the desk, and he really got staplered." (Naturally, the verb "to staple" was itself created in this very way.) We can also use any noun as an adjective.

This flexibility is probably one of the best features of English, and of the few languages I have studied, none comes anywhere close to matching it. Of course, this also allows native speakers to abuse the privilege, so to speak. I have no doubt that the words you mention will be in the dictionary as verbs in a short time, and you and I may even come to accept and use them.

Like everything else in our lives, the pace of change in our language seems to be accelerating.

updated ENE 30, 2009
posted by 00bacfba