I am currently doing an assignment. I am having difficulty understanding this phenomenon.

If the verb "taking" is in a passage would it be considered a conversion process, as "taking" can also be a noun? Similarly, is the verb "occupied" considered a verb to adjective conversion?

I know that the "ing" and "ed" are considered derivational – while conversion is zero derviational – if added to a word in order to form a noun/an adjective, yet are both the "ing" and "ed" considered a derivational addition, or just a conversion from a word with an inflectional prefix?

  • A similar question was asked recently, but I'm not sure of the answer: Is “-ed” an inflectional or derivational morpheme in “the stressed syllables”?
    – herisson
    May 5, 2018 at 15:39
  • 2
    People can't even agree on what part of speech some of these words are, which would seem a prerequisite for determining whether A --> A' constitutes a change in POS. May 5, 2018 at 16:41
  • 2
    As a rule, don't bother asking here about specific linguistic terms used in a specific class. They are often ad hoc and not based on any standards; often they reintroduce nonsense. "Conversion" just means using one word in several different POS roles, which is the norm in English, where almost any word can be used as noun, verb, or adjective without sticking on an ending. Giving it a fancy name doesn't explain anything. It just adds the nonsensical idea that there is, nonetheless, some official but inaudible POS tag on every word that must be removed by a process with a special name. May 5, 2018 at 17:20
  • What is the assignment exactly? Where is the prefix?
    – Lambie
    Aug 24, 2018 at 23:10

1 Answer 1


Here is one way to look at it:

'Take' and 'occupy' are verbs.

'Taking' and 'occupied' are participles (derived from the verbs); 'taking' and 'occupying' are Gpart, and 'taken' and 'occupied' are Ppart. Participles are used like adjectives (they can even take the '-ly' suffix to form adverbs). Gpart refers to the active participle and Ppart refers to the passive participle. Note: the Ppart can also be used for the perfect aspect, but that isn't important here.

Adjectives are qualities, but qualities are also things, and things are nouns. The Gpart can be used as a noun (called a gerund) by a 'zero derivation' (i.e., no additional change of affix). This is similar to using the infinitive marker 'to' with the root verb. We don't do this with the Ppart, instead requiring a phrase like "being occupied" or "to be occupied".

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