In the previous post on nominalizations, I talked about how nominalizations are formed and briefly touched on a general approach to remedying them. In this post, I’ll explain ways to identify and correct specific nominalizations, as well as point out some legitimate uses of nominalization.
Nominalization is a fancy word that means taking a part of speech such as a verb, adjective, or adverb and turning it into a noun—primarily at the head of a sentence. Doing this can lead to some weak sentence structure.
Watch out for nominalizations that follow a verb:
- The auditors conducted an investigation into the embezzlement
- Better: The auditors investigated the embezzlement
Nominalization following there is:
- There was an erosion of customer confidence following the auditor’s discovery.
- Better: The discovery eroded customers’ confidence.
Nominalization as the subject of an empty verb:
- The partners’ discussion concerned enhanced regulations.
- Better: The partners discussed enhanced regulations.
- There was a first review of the progression of the audit.
- Better: First, the partners reviewed the progression of the audit.
- Or: First, the partners reviewed how the audit progressed.
- Their insistence on strict adherence to regulatory guidelines created the dilemma.
- Better: They insisted on adhering strictly to the regulatory guidelines, and it created the dilemma.
I hope this helps you spot those pesky nouns that work better if changed into verbs.