I encountered a phrase like this: we can Monte Carlo approximate it, and it is not uncomprehensible but I wonder if we can always use a noun as an adverb? Also refer to this sentence: The reason for log transforming your data is not to deal with skewness or to get closer to a normal distribution.

I learned from this answer that it might be a compound verb, but in my opinion, it works as an adverb since it is used to modify the preceding verb approximate, and I cannot find that form in this list: Compound Verb.

If it acts as an adverb can I follow that formula and utilize that as the following? And what the grammar rule is it?

Please Facebook message me
I Google searched the keyword

The comments noticed me that all the above four examples can be transformed into a noun form, then I thought there should be something grammatical underlying these phrases.

  • 1
    Please Facebook message me doesn't sound too bad to me. But unless you've actually seen this usage from the people you're interacting with, I'd advise against arbitrarily deciding to use this rather "creative" syntax rather than Please message me on / through / via Facebook. And personally I'd say that the (your?) coinages to Google search and to Kindle read should definitely be avoided, but that's really a matter of opinion. – FumbleFingers Mar 6 at 15:16
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    I notice something interesting about your examples: all of them have noun forms except for the Kindle one. We can talk about a Monte Carlo approximation and a Facebook message and a Google search, but "Kindle read" doesn't have a noun form. I think the others kind of work and the Kindle one doesn't because English lets you modify nouns that way, but not verbs. – stangdon Mar 6 at 15:27
  • I am reading the book on Kindle. – Lambie Mar 6 at 15:46
  • @stangdon Thanks for the information. I have updated the question. Maybe you will say they are compound verbs? – Lerner Zhang Mar 6 at 15:47
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    @LernerZhang No, I don't think those count as compound verbs. I think a compound verb has two verbs, or a verb and a preposition, but you're using a noun as a modifier for a verb, and I don't think English "licenses" that. – stangdon Mar 6 at 16:00

These are compound verbs. Using a noun (or even an adjective) to modify a verb is sometimes acceptable in English. The noun can either describe the manner in which the action is performed, or the object of the action.

Some examples include:
to fly-fish
to pot(-)roast
to tent-camp
to hitch(-)hike
to break(-)dance
to binge-drink
to Facebook-message
to window-shop
to bird(-)watch
to test-drive
to short(-)change
to second(-)guess
to stargaze
to people-watch
to Christmas-shop
to babysit
to soundproof

These words are often formed as neologisms, originating in common speech. I believe that these words are formed because there does not exist an adverb to describe the exact manner of the action. Also keep in mind that these are just a subset of compound verbs, as other forms exist. I got most of my examples from here: [https://examples.yourdictionary.com/compound-verb-examples.html]

I like to use hyphens to indicate that these words form a single verb, but sometimes they are depicted with a space rather than a hyphen. Sometimes, if they are around long enough, they become a single word, like stargaze. Sometimes all three methods are used inconsistently.

The hyphen method is particularly unwieldy in your example of "to Monte Carlo approximate", as Monte Carlo is already a compound proper noun and it would be arguably incorrect to add a hyphen between Monte and Carlo, but "Monte Carlo-approximate" looks very wrong. However, in the case of "to log-transform", I would use a hyphen.

I advise to use a hyphen with these words whenever possible to avoid confusion, as a hyphen is the default English construction of these words. I would not advise inventing new compound verbs that you have never heard in use before, especially in formal writing. If there is an adverb to describe the manner of the action, use it rather than a noun.


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