Conversion of noun to verb


New Member
Hi everybody,

I have a question regarding the word-formation of 3 english words.
Here they are with examples

"Bono showcased a new song last night"

"The conference was also screened on tv screens at The Brewery"

Bono Joked :" this is an horrible song"

Does these three words created by Conversion process?
And If not, which other word-formation process Do I have to take in consideration?
  • L. T. Gray

    American English
    Hi Steven78! First, to make sure, when you say "conversion", are you talking about this process (from Wikipedia): "the creation of a word from an existing word without any change in form [...] Often a word of one lexical category (part of speech) is converted to a word of another lexical category"?

    If so, I'd say that the verbs showcase and screen were indeed both formed by conversion from the nouns showcase and screen. I don't know about the verb joke, though; it seems as "natural" to me as the noun joke, which leads me to guess that the verb may have been around as long as the noun.

    I'm not the final word on this subject though; I'm just going from my background in linguistics and intuition as a native speaker. Hope this helps!

    My Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary says that the earliest recorded use of the verb showcase appeared in 1952, whereas the noun dates from 1839. For joke, both the noun and the verb date from 1670. This seems to confirm my guesses for those two words.
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    New Member
    Hi L.T. Gray,

    Yes, I'm talking about that process!

    I'm making an essay of an article for my english exam and for EFL people is not so easy to get what there is "behind" these words :)

    Anyway..thanks for your help!


    Senior Member
    USA English
    The use of nouns to form verbs appears to be rampant in American English, not to the joy of many purists.

    An example is "incentivize," which the urban dictionary defines as:

    'A corporate-jargon non-word meaning "motivate," coined in 1968. Some 10 years later, it was shortened to the equally annoying verb "incent." Unfortunately, both are recognized by both Merriam-Webster and the OED. The only respectable form of the word is the noun "incentive." '

    "Conversion process" is not a familiar term to me, but I've been out of school a long, long time. I'm guessing that it's a process that begins with bastardization and ends with acceptance, at least among the more liberal self-styled "authorities."

    The three words you mentioned, however, seem to be well-established and I wouldn't worry about how they got there.
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