LINGUIST List 10.97

Thu Jan 21 1999

Disc: Adjectives to Verbs

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>


  1. Sean Witty, Adjective to Verb
  2. Davisjos, Adjectives to verbs

Message 1: Adjective to Verb

Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 16:30:41 KST
From: Sean Witty <>
Subject: Adjective to Verb

Greetings all!

Not to trivialize the point or be overly critical, but I've just read
Mike Maxwell's posting (LINGUIST 10.84) regarding ADJ => V
transposition and concluded that there is nothing new here. 
Sorry, Mike :)

1. A poor example. Although the word "new" is normally used as an
adjective, in this case it is being used as the tag for a command
line. Any tag, because it bears the quality of nomenclature, is
normally regarded as an N and not an ADJ. Thus, "new", although being
an adjective, is the name of a program that creates new documents. In
the text supplied, therefore, the expression "Newed" (note also the
capitalization) appears as a PP formed from an N, not an ADJ.

2. Adjective can be Nouns and Nouns can be Verbs. Give that ADJ to N
transposition is quite common, i.e., "the young", "the old", "the
new", et al, that N to V transposition is also quite common, i.e., "to
demonize", "to industrialize", "to fantasize", et al, and the
existence of the transitive property of equality (if A=B and B=C, then
A=C), ADJ to V transposition seems to be something that we should have
been expected (in fact, "industrialize" is an ADJ to V transposition).
This is especially so given that all participles, either present or
past, may be used as ADJ.
 On a side note, one of my favorite episodes of "The Simpsons" is 
the one where the town honors its founder, and we learn that his motto 
involved the V "embiggens" (if anyone knows the motto, please send it to 

3. Nice try though. Mike has hit on an important point, however.
That is that sometimes we get too busy looking for the major
breakthroughs that we take the simple stuff for granted, and overlook
obvious answers to our questions in our zeal to uncover the truth
(hey, we've all done it at one time or another - I'll be the first to
admit it). In his message, Mike has served to remind us of this fact,
AND given us an opportunity to re-examine POS transpositions. Thanks!


Sean M. Witty, PBK
Linguist/Foreign Language Specialist
Kwangwoon University-KILE, Adjunct Professor of English

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Message 2: Adjectives to verbs

Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 11:22:34 EST
From: Davisjos <>
Subject: Adjectives to verbs

I should first disclose that I'm one who views parts of speech not as
linguistic, but as message, categories. Having said that, I suspect
that the list of "adjectives" that can be used as "verbs" might be
somewhat larger than imagined once one takes into account all those
English words that are used so routinely both ways that they are
recognized (in dictionaries, e.g.) as two parts of speech. Just off
the top of my head I think of: slow, short, yellow, brown, gray,
pretty, sour.

Joseph Davis
City College of New York
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