Read the title of this post again.
Have you ever seen the word "verb" actually used as a verb?
A verb is a noun!
Well, this is not your high school English class, kids. Strap yourselves in and hang on, we're about to verb us some nouns and it's going to be a fun ride.
Last week Peggy talked about the danger of wordiness (and guys hiding in trees) when writers turn their verbs into nouns [She made a recommendation... versus She recommended...], but when you switch and go the other way, the results can make for some strong writing.
We actually do it all the time...as an example, Stephen Wilbers quotes Richard Nordquist's post at grammar.about.com: "In a single work day, we might head a task force, eye an opportunity, nose around for good ideas, mouth a greeting, elbow an opponent, strong-arm a colleague, shoulder the blame, stomach a loss, and finally hand in our resignation." (1)
These are all pretty commonplace examples, but it's when we get creative that the fun begins..."the roof...hinged open," "ducks winged through the island," "sailboats breezed along." (2)
I love this tip from Wilbers: "In each case the verb is made from a noun associated (or...loosely associated) with the object. These associated objects are a good place to look for nouns that might be verbed into action." (3)
So the walleye finned instead of swam, the tulips stemmed instead of grew...you get the idea. Look for them in your own writing. I bet you have some. And I also bet there are a lot of sentences that can be made stronger by using this fun technique.
(1) MTC, p. 80
(2) MTC, p. 80-81
(3) MTC, p. 83
And check out the new book in our line-up!!!
Congratulations, Tamara on your new nonfiction release:
Mothering Through the Whirlwind.