Verbifying (also known as verbing) is the act of de-nominalization, which means transforming a noun into another kind of word.

This process can be done by taking an existing noun and switching the context in which it is used. For example, we could say the table is set, but we could also say I want to table this meeting. Verbifying is often a more informal tool within language, but it is no less valuable because of this.

Verbifying also refers to taking an adjective or a noun and adding a suffix to create a new word. We can see this in horrify, terrify, and even verbify.

It is the opposite of nominalization, which means making nouns from other kinds of words.

Examples of nouns used as verbs

To further explain this idea, here is a list of nouns used as verbs within two different example sentences:

Noun Verb
An act of kindness. Try to act surprised!
The cheat didn’t pass the test. It’s not nice to cheat on a test.
The birthday balloon flew away. The bag ballooned with everything I was carrying.
I had the hope of better weather tomorrow. You have to hope things will get better.
The vote was still to be counted. Are you going to vote in the competition?

Verbifying with Suffixes

Verbifying with suffixes is another common approach within this subject. To verbify a noun or adjective, we take the root word and add a suffix like ‘-ate,’ ‘-ify,’ or ‘-ise’ to it.

For example, the word ‘liquid’ becomes ‘liquify,’ and ‘terror’ could become ‘terrify’ or ‘terrorize.’

This system is perhaps even more common than nouns used as verbs in their root form – so much so that you might not realize you do this in your everyday speech.

Why do we verbify words?

Verbifying without the use of nominalization (sometimes called ‘zero deviation’) can get a bad reputation for sounding potentially too informal, depending on the situation.

Nouns Used As Verbs List

When learning this topic, it is perhaps best to learn through examples. So here’s a ‘nouns used as verbs’ list that features words you might come across in everyday speech.

  • Act
  • Address
  • Aim
  • Answer
  • Arrest
  • Attack
  • Auction
  • Back
  • Balance
  • Balloon
  • Ban
  • Beam
  • Bend
  • Cake
  • Call
  • Can
  • Chant
  • Cheat
  • Dance
  • Drink
  • Drive
  • Dye
  • Echo
  • Experience
  • Eye
  • Face
  • Fear
  • Guess
  • Glue
  • Head
  • Hope
  • Increase
  • Ink
  • Jam
  • Kiss
  • Label
  • Love
  • Lock
  • Make
  • Match
  • Oil
  • Parcel
  • Peel
  • Phone
  • Pick
  • Quiz
  • Race
  • Run
  • Reign
  • Scare
  • Search
  • Smile
  • Smoke
  • Sound
  • Shape
  • Tear
  • Trace
  • Track
  • Use
  • Vote
  • Wake
  • Waltz
  • Wear
  • Whisper
  • Yawn
  • Yield

As will be evident from this ‘nouns used as verbs’ list, this appears everywhere within English.

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