In English you have words like "badge" which are typically a noun, but they can also be verbs, "They need to badge in" to use their keycard to get in. Shortly, "Badge in please". You can have other ones that are verbs but also nouns, like "lock". "Here is the lock" as a noun, and "Please lock the car door" is a verb.

Google translate says 锁 is "lock, n.", and 锁 as "lock, v.", so the same word/character for both like in English, 锁. It says 徽 is "badge, n.", but doesn't provide a verb for badge. Another word with different noun/verb forms is "mark", as in 痕 for "mark, n.", and 标 for "mark, v.", so 痕 vs. 标.

I am wondering from a programming perspective how variable names can be written down. If I create a "badge" object in programming, then I would call it 徽. But if I have a function "badge" that does the badging in, I would think I could also call it 徽. Or if not, my question is how you would do this. I don't speak Chinese yet fyi, so be gentle. If it is okay to use nouns as verbs, especially if there is no verb form for a noun (or vice versa, if there is no noun form for a verb).

Likewise, if I have an object called "mark", I could also have a function called "mark" that creates a marking. In Chinese I am wondering if I could use just one form of the concept, such as the noun form, for both, or the verb form for both. So "mark object" would be 痕, while "do mark" would also be 痕. Or perhaps the other way around, "mark object" would be 标, while "do mark" would also be 标. The question here is if this would make sense. If you can use a verb as a noun or a noun as a verb in Chinese essentially. If it would make sense. Or no, I must do "mark object" as 痕, while "do mark" is 标.

If you can, well great, the question then is if I must use the noun form for both, or the verb form for both, or if it doesn't matter.

If you can't, then I'm wondering why not. Wondering perhaps how it comes across. If it comes across as "weird" or "jarring", or does it still come across as understandable/interpretable, or if it is really confusing.

2 Answers 2


If you can use Chinese nouns as verbs, or vice versa

Many Chinese nouns can also be verbs; and many Chinese verbs can also be nouns-- but not all of them, just like in English

Please go into more detail how you can use nouns as verbs, what the rules are generally

Typically, a word was either coined for a noun or verb first, and then its meaning extended to other word type for convenience's sake.

For example, It is possible that when people invented drill, they called it '鑽' (n); later when they needed a word to describe the action of 'to drill' , it is very convenience to add the meaning to the existing noun and make '鑽' both noun and verb.

Or it is the other way around, people called the action of 'to burrow' as '鑽'(v); when 'drill' was invented, they just use the verb '鑽' to name it, because a drill 'burrow' into things.

So, when a noun is closely associated with an unique action (verb), it would be used as a verb eventually; similarly when a verb is closely associated with an object (noun), it would be used as a noun eventually

  • The nouns that cannot be use as a verbs are mostly something that do not associate with a specific action, for example: 劍(sword). We cannot use 'sword someone' to describe 'to stab someone' because there are too many other objects you can use to stab someone

  • The verbs that cannot be use as a nouns are mostly intransitive, or something that do not associate with any particular object. For example 插(stab), You can stab with too many objects to make 插(v) a noun for any of them

It is always "插(stab)你一劍(sword)" , never "劍(stab?)你一插(sword?)"

The best way to make sure you can or cannot use a Chinese noun as a verb or vice versa is to check a dictionary-- Just like in English


Longwinded question! Simple answer: of course, all the time, just as in English!


Do people use Chinese characters for the names of variables or functions? I suppose it's legit when using UTF-8, bit hard in ascii. I suspect Chinese characters are not used much in computer programs. Look at the source code of a Chinese webpage.


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