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In English there are plenty of examples of noun-verbs. What are the rules for making more complex compound noun structures into transitive verbs? In particular I would like explanations involving the phrase spontaneous human combustion.

Would the following work?

He spontaneously human-combusted.

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Human is not necessary here as you've already established it with he. So, you could say "he combusted spontaneously," or "he spontaneously combusted."

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I am trying to understand the rules of how nouns are made into verbs and chose this as an example of a phenomena with a particular name phrase. I appreciate the reconstruction ; any chance you could add in how to make the phrase a verb and the rules governing the transition? If not an explanation of why it can't work the way I'm asking is great too. –  mfg Apr 2 '11 at 21:22
    
@mfg: Do you have any other examples? I'm having trouble coming up with other phrases like spontaneous human combustion that might be verbed. Otherwise, I think the rule would usually be to turn the noun of the phrase into a verb and the modifying adjective into an adverb as in my answer. If there were more than one adjective I can see where it might get confusing. Is this your question? Again, more examples might help. –  Callithumpian Apr 2 '11 at 22:41
    
I am surprised but i couldn't come up with any others either; so your answer works for me –  mfg Apr 3 '11 at 16:03
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I would use autoimmolation.

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That's a noun. The verb would be to autoimmolate. –  Yitzchak Apr 3 '11 at 2:46
    
Hmm, I like that word. –  Mahnax Jan 4 '12 at 8:58
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