When a noun is used as a verb, linguistically, this process is termed as morphological conversion:

Fish (n): This is a fish.
Fish (v): I'm fishing in the river.

Why shouldn't we call it syntactic conversion? The word itself didn't change only the grammatical role has been affected?

And if an adjective, for example, is converted into a verb by adding a derivational suffix, then it should be called morphological conversion. Am I right?

1 Answer 1


I would not call it morphological conversion in English, since as you say there is no change in morphology. In many languages there would need to be a change in morphology. I wonder if you are using a reference which does not primarily or solely refer to English?

  • 1
    Linguistic sources call it conversion in field of morphology. However, Beth Levin calls it syntactic alternation. Aug 2, 2011 at 16:18

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