Abstract: Chinese Denominal verbs have undergone a diachronic shift from ad hoc usage and typological multiplicity in Classical Chinese to conventionalized usage and typological limitedness in Modern Chinese. While denominal verbs in Classical Chinese can be conveniently accommodated in a pragmatic account, those in Modern Chinese only yield to a syntactic account. The diachronic shift has resulted from syntactic intervention: only those denominal verbs that can possibly be derived in syntax have survived into Modern Chinese. In support of the conclusion is the fact that the prefix *s- and qù shēng bié yì (falling tone for sense distinction), responsible for verbalization of nouns in Classical Chinese, have ceased to function and given way to zero categories in Modern Chinese. The findings of this research support the view about the lexicon-syntax interface in general that neither a lexical nor a syntactic account can accommodate the facts of word formation alone.