Andrew Zhu

On Adjective-Verbs


Running in the rain is a liberating activity! In Central Park, especially, the rain provides three major benefits to a runner: 


1. Rainy weather decreases foot traffic, which is useful when navigating the narrow path around the Central Park reservoir


2. Rain offers a substantive convective cooling effect, especially noticeable during the late spring / early summer months as the temperature rises


3. Rain creates an opportunistic aural and visual environment for stimulation of creative thoughts.


Let me expand on the last point. I find that the pitter-patter of the rain forms a calming, almost meditative symphony of dis/similar noises as droplets fall upon the foliage, tree branches, pavement, and water. Add to this the blurring of vision during a heavy rainfall, as distant objects become defocused through sheets of droplets, and hence arises a perfect space for thought.


In some way, maybe this is why so many people find themselves thinking creatively while in the shower: a rainy-day thought is nature’s version of a shower thought.


Here I write up a thought that crossed my mind following a rainy morning run in the park with my friend Gosha.

On Adjective-Verbs

“That place has banging sushi.”


Gosha pointed towards a nondescript storefront across the street. I peered over, following his direction, and squinted my eyes in the rain to make out the text “Sashimi Express” on a dark green banner atop the store door front.


“How did it get banned, this store?” I inquired.




“You said this store was banned?”


He shook his head. “No, this place has banging sushi. I went there once, a while ago, and when I tried the fish, I thought to myself – this is delicious… then the next day I went to the grocery for more sushi and it was disgusting.”


“Oh, I see,” I mumbled. The rain was falling down heavily, and unless I paid close attention, I couldn’t make out all of the words Gosha was saying. We were on 78th street between First and Second Avenue, walking to a shop called Orwashers to buy artisanal bread and coffee. We had just completed a four mile run in Central Park around the main reservoir, and whatever welcome cooling the rain and wind provided while we ran now turn-coated to become a chilling menace during our walk to the bakery. 

“Hey Gosha,” I said. “Isn’t it funny how ‘banging’ is a verb and an adjective at the same time? It’s weird, isn’t it?”


He considered it for a moment. “Banging, popping, hopping…” 


“Yeah, they’re all like adjective-verbs. Ad-verbs, in a way!”



“I mean, they aren’t really adverbs, right, and to distinguish from regular adjectives, maybe these should be called adjectives [ˈadˌjektiv/],” I offered, stressing the middle syllable of the word as one would that of ‘objective.’



The two of us shared brief laugh, finding humor in the nonsensical as two tired and soaked friends are want to do. We continued walking to the bakery as chatter turned towards discussions of reaction times and decision-making in Counter-Strike. 


After arriving back at the apartment, I tossed the loaf of bread on the countertop, stripped off my wet clothes, and hopped into the shower. One positive of coming from the cold – a hot shower feels spectacular.


I’m not much of a grammar fanatic, other than basic missteps as misuse of their/there/they’re or a missing Oxford comma. Nevertheless, ruminating on this topic in the shower, I decided to follow-through with the thought.


I had always thought that the term “gerund” referred to the present participle form of a verb (i.e. swimming). But, investigating the term further, a gerund actually refers to “a form that is derived from a verb but that functions as a noun.” The Wikipedia page on gerund presents several examples of use, but to not bore you further with grammatical analysis, I will simply link you to that webpage.

As I probably should have expected, linguists have already teased apart the various functions of verbs, and a term like ‘banging’ is actually an example of an attributive verb, though these verbs are also termed “verbal adjectives” or “deverbal adjective.” One example of an attributive verb is “interesting” – an example which I do find interesting, as I had never previously thought of this word as the attributive verb form of interest!

Now, question for you, reader – what is your favorite attributive verb to use?



Sometimes, one has to put to the page the thoughts that arise in one’s mind. Whether at all insightful is of no real importance, as evidenced by this post. If you are someone who has not experienced the joys of running in the rain, I urge you to lace up your shoes and head out the door for a run the next time it rains!