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Is there a way to use earthquake as a verb, i.e.:

It started earthquaking...

What's the proper way to express earthquake as a verb?

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2  
drop the 'earth' and bam! it's a verb. –  Oldcat Jun 5 at 17:54

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Aside from tremble, you could also use quake, and say:

The earth started to quake...

quake: to shake or tremble, as from shock or instability: The earth quaked

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The earth can "quake" for reasons other than an earthquake. –  Kris Jun 8 at 10:54
    
@Kris For what other reasons? –  Araucaria Jun 8 at 11:36
1  
@Araucaria For instance, a big explosion could cause the earth to quake/tremble/shake. (I personally think one will want to carefully consider the choice of words if describing a non-earthquake quaking of the earth, though.) –  Håkan Lindqvist Jun 8 at 12:33

You suggest you say:

everything started to tremble, shake, move, ( because of the earthquake) or,

the earthquake (seism or temblor) stared and shook everything.

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Earthquake is a noun, not a verb. It has not been 'verbed' in general English writing.

No, you cannot say "It started earthquaking … "

One way to say it could be:

"There started an earthquake."

If you know the intensity, you could say:

The earth started to tremble
The earth started to shake violently

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Regarding the idea of 'verbing' the noun "earthquake", wouldn't doing so be almost entirely redundant considering that "earthquake" is derived from a 'nouned' verb? I like @Elian's answer as it just breaks "earthquake" up in its components, changing very little, but does it come across as unnatural in any way? –  Håkan Lindqvist Jun 7 at 17:10
    
@Kris Your first example seems very ungrammatical to me or at least incredibly awkward. I stuck it in a search engine as "there started an earthquake" and only one hit came up - and that one was your example here on ELU. –  Araucaria Jun 8 at 11:40
    
@Araucaria google.com/… –  Kris Jun 8 at 11:42
    
@HåkanLindqvist See my comment at Elian's answer. –  Kris Jun 8 at 11:43
    
@Kris Point taken -ish. I think the reason it comes across as awkward here is that this construction requires a long NP to warrant postposing the subject. Compare. At lunch there started a fight. Later I asked.. with After lunch there started a fight which would irrevocably change the nature of their relationship forever –  Araucaria Jun 8 at 12:27

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