I'm looking at a few English sentences, and I've realized that many verbs can be used as nouns in their infinitive form. For example.

I am going on a run

and in the present tense

I am running.

There are many more verbs that this can be done to.

Are you going to take the jump?

Why did you do three pitches? You know he would have hit one of them. (baseball)

Can you please do your exercise elsewhere? It is too loud right here.

So 'pitches' in the example is not in the true infinitive, but is in the plural infinitive, so this may not be a true example. 'jump' and 'exercise' are however.

Normally, I would say that these are gerunds, however, after looking online for a while,. it seems that gerunds always use the present tense, and never the infinitive.

What is the name for these verbs that can be nouns when in the infinitive form?

  • 1
    "Plural infinitive", that's an interesting idea! I think that you're confusing the concepts of "infinitive" forms, "non-finite" forms, and "deverbal" nouns (among other issues). May 6, 2023 at 1:01
  • @MarcInManhattan I think that comes from my second language, where the infinitive form of a verb may change depending on whether you're referring to a group or a single. Probably not a thing in english.
    – tuskiomi
    May 8, 2023 at 14:31

1 Answer 1


As The Syntax, Semantics and Derivation of Bare Nominalisations in English states, these are known as bare nominalizations or zero-derived deverbal nouns.

Of course, there is always the question of whether the verb came first (meaning the noun is derived from the verb) or whether the noun came first (meaning the verb is derived from the noun). The above book argues that we should use the same terminology either way (p. 24), since in very many cases there is insufficient historical data to definitively establish whether the noun or the verb came into existence first.

  • 2
    Sure. You can verb a noun or noun a verb. Like noticing that the noun duck is named after the verb duck, which is what ducks do. Likewise, I recall Jim McCawley asserting that hammer was a verb, because you can hammer with anything, whereas nail was a noun, because you can't nail anything (literally, not figuratively) with anything but a nail of some sort. May 5, 2023 at 22:52

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