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Generating language:

Many nouns and some adjectives and adverbs can be used as regular verbs.


table chair paper
  dog rat wolf
doctor nurse father
holiday breakfast
hand finger elbow
water earth slime
sandwich cup
rocket bridge tunnel

         Use your imagination ( or a dictionary ) to find the meanings           

Sometimes it is difficult to know which came first- the noun or the verb- but the answer is not important.

It's a must!
Can I have a go?
Would you like a listen?
 How about a jog?
Is he a wannabe or a has-been?
The haves and the have-nots
Do's and dont's
The be-all and end-all
That's a definite maybe
A supernatural being
What are your likes and dislikes?
I need to get my bearings


    The 3rd and 4th forms (participles) of many verbs (regular and irregular) can be used as adjectives with a passive or active sense.
Sometimes it is difficult to know if a word is an adjective or a participle but again, that's not important.

            e.g. interest > interested/ interesting -

                   It interests me, I am interested by/ in it, It is interesting

                   boil > boiled/ boiling -
The water is boiled/ boiling
                 What do you give a baby: boiled water or boiling water?

                   break > broken/ breaking -
                   A broken window
The window was broken by a ball
It was broken yesterday, so I repaired it
                   I love the sound of breaking glass


3rd form verbs are "past" participles and many can be used as adjectives. The name "past" participle is misleading because the 3rd form can refer to any time.
           Remember that the 3rd form is active after "have/has/had", and passive after "be" ( am,is, are, was, were, h__ been)
           A few can then be used a noun.

 e.g. Participle > Adjective (> Noun)

The participle/adjective keeps its aspect in that it has a sense of the finished, complete (= perfect) and is very close in meaning to passive structures. 

E.g. eat > eaten/ eating -
                   Compare- I saw her eating figs/ I saw her eaten by a tiger!

Participle- If driven carefully, a motorbike can be great fun, ( = if it is driven carefully)

                   I found the key hidden under the mat ( = the key that was hidden)

                   I had my car repaired ( = I didn't do it myself)

                   Built in 1859, Big Ben is a national symbol

                   A business headed by a teenager ( = the teenager is the head of the business)


Adjective-  A misunderstood person (= nobody understands)

                   A broken window (= somebody broke it)

                   An unborn baby (= not yet)

                   An unspoken promise ( we don't need to say it...)

                   She's very well-qualified, although she's badly-paid

Bored, tired, fed up, tormented, exasperated?

Noun- A 3% fall in the number of unemployed ( people with no work)

                   The dispossessed ( an economic group)

                    The accused ( person or people in a court of law)

                    The deceased (dead person or people)

These words are uncountable, so they can't be in plural form (with an -s) although they might have a plural meaning.




4th form verbs are called "present" participles and many can be used as adjectives with an active feeling. Many nouns end with an "-ing" and some of these come from the 4th form of a verb (and some are called "gerunds")
The "-ing" suffix is common and it may not be useful to worry about the complex grammar...
... but consider:-

Participle > Adjective > Noun


The participle can contrast with the 1st form:-
e.g. I saw him cross the road (= the complete action, from one side to the other)
      I saw him crossing the road (= a limited part of the action)
I watched him crossing the street (= emphasises the two actions)

      I heard her shout
      I heard her shouting ( emphasises the ongoing activity)

Some more contrasting examples-

I heard him shout (=once)                
                 I heard his shouts (= more than one shout)
                 I heard him shouting (= emphasises the activity)
                 I heard his shouting (= not hers)
I heard his shout (= not hers)

I saw her cross the road (= from one side to the other)
I saw her crossing the road (= only part of the action)

Adjective- There are not many -ing adjectives, compared with those used as nouns. In speech the noun is stressed, relative to the adjective.
Some examples:

A growing economy
A smoking gun
A heart-rending story

Noun: Can be the subject or object of the verb, or in compound with another noun (when the -ing word is stressed). Like other nouns, they may be countable or uncountable.

A walking stick
A driving licence
Smoking is bad for your health
I don't like shouting
I'm looking forward to meeting you
Good morning

Updated 20/10/03

... click here for more information about the differences between the active / passive forms ... click here for more about the 3rd form ... click here to see more about the base form