Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Nouning the Verb

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Nouning the Verb

Article excerpt

To evaluate more extensionally, perhaps we should divide our referents into things which exist, which we have, and things which happen, which we do. (1) For those which exist, we should use nouns. "I drive a car." For those which we do, we should use verbs. "I drive a car," and "I race," but not "I run a race." For races happen, so we don't use a noun.

Using nouns for happenings promotes intensional, not extensional, thinking. It encourages us to believe in a "law of conservation of happenings," as if happenings were material objects; e.g. we breathe, eat, digest, reproduce, and we call the process "living," but we also call the process "Life." We say "Get a life," or "Life begins..." as if we were speaking of a box of crackers or a road, both false analogies. We even create a supplementary noun, "soul," to represent the durable part of the process, necessitated by the Law of Conservation of Matter, Energy and happenings.

We both noun verbs (transitive verb: to noun) and verb nouns, but mostly we noun verbs. …

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