What is Verbing?

To verb a noun means to use an ordinary noun as a verb in a sentence. English is flexible about the grammatical function of individual words.

Another method we frequently create new words is by converting existing nouns or adjectives into verbs. For instance, whereas a network of business contacts was formerly a noun called "networking," it is now a verb called "networking" to create such relationships.

One current example comes from performing the necessary adult duties, such as paying bills, preparing a lovely home-cooked meal, and packing leftovers to bring to the workplace for lunch. This is "adulting," as the dang millennials who are now of legal age may put it. (In contrast, it would be considered "teenaging" to lean against walls and speak trash outside suburban movie theaters and restaurants.)

Verbing is nothing new, much like portmanteau: it has been a running joke for years that verbing "weirds language." Despite this, it's important to note an apparent increase in the number of businesses being verbed. Here are a few instances:

  • “I went online to Google something, but got distracted and accidentally wasted an hour Facebooking.”
  • “I don’t have those files handy; could you Slack me the links?”
  • “The water didn’t seem too deep, so the pioneers opted to skip the ferry and Ford the river.”

Being verbed is desirable for companies trying to develop their brand. It's almost as if they're saying, "This company is so common, it deserves its own category of business." Grammarly's obedient servants, on the other hand, would be satisfied with becoming a mere adverb, as in, “You’d do well to get that report edited Grammarly before handing it in.”