By Mary Morel
Verbs are often more powerful than noun phrases
Using noun phrases instead of verbs is known as nominalisation.
The downturn in the economy caused the company’s problems. (verb)
The downturn in the economy was the cause of the company’s problems. (nominalisation)
Watch out for nouns that end in -ion, -ment, -tion, -ence, -ancy, -ant. You can often change them into verbs.
take into consideration — consider
undertake an analysis of — analyse
Some nominalisations are useful, but others make our writing unnecessarily wordy. An example of a useful nominalisation is:
The discovery is a breakthrough.
Some nominalisations that don’t work well, but are easy to fix are:
1. When the nominalisation follows a verb with little specific meaning.
We undertook an investigation.
2. When the nominalisation follows There is or There are.
There was a committee agreement.
The committee agreed.
3. When the nominalisation is the subject of an ’empty’ verb.
Our discussion concerned a bonus.
We discussed a bonus.
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