We sometimes create verbs from adjectives to describe associated action

for example simplify from simple...

Can we also coin new verbs from nouns like:

If destruction is from verb destroy,

can construction be from constroy?

  • You can use English anyway you want. But your usage may or may not be taken up by other speakers.
    – user6951
    Dec 19, 2014 at 23:12
  • 1
    Yesterday's Guardian crossword was themed on such "back-formations", and related word-pairs where the original bare root is so rare as to be unrecognised as a standard word. Such as [de]molish, [un]couth, [dis]sheveled, [dis]gruntled, [un]kempt, [im]pecunious, [dis]straught. Must be a meme going round. But it's a "game" for fluent native speakers - I wouldn't advise learners to experiment too much, since they'll just get a lot hopelessly wrong. Dec 20, 2014 at 1:45

2 Answers 2


enter image description hereThere's historical precedence for nouns becoming verbs. The word access used to only be a noun. For example:

The police gained access to the building.

Now, due to computers, it's commonly accepted to also be a verb:

It won't let me access the database.

See http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=access -- it attributes the first use of the word "access" as a verb to about 1962.

But of course, no individual person has control over how language evolves.

As for your example of construction, there is a verb already related to construction -- "construct".

  • 2
    +1 for Calvin & Hobbes. I recall that strip now you posted it here. Also, I believe Shakespeare was fond of verbing nouns and nouning verbs.
    – user6951
    Dec 19, 2014 at 23:32
  • My all-time favorite Calvin & Hobbes strip. Deliciously self-referential. Dec 20, 2014 at 3:05

Construction is associated with construct meant as a verb. See: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/construct Construct is much less common than build though. Building is also arguably more common than construction.

Note that build has a germanic origin, while construction has a latin origin.

Note that also destruct exists, but in modern English it's used only when referring to things such as self-destruct mechanisms.

Both destroy and destruct have a primary latin origin, but destroy comes from old French déstruire (nowadays the s has disappeared) which originally comes from latin, while destruct comes from actual latin (compare with Italian distruggere).

Note that destruction and construction in French are written in exactly the same way. The pronunciation changed a bit, as always, but English does not update the spellings to reflect it.

Also to build in modern French is construire (here the s didn't disappear, funny). So if destroy comes from déstruire, you could say that constroy is a legit word too. Except it isn't, because English did not absorb the French word (but the Latin one) and the word was not subjected to the same linguistic process that changed the word déstruire either, so the word does not exist.

As you can see, English is completeley arbitrary. All languages are subject to arbitrary changes, but English is especially flexible and arguably this is an advantage, even though it makes it difficult to spell for native speakers.

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