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Turning actions into nouns

The term 'nominalisation' refers to the process of turning verbs into nouns:

Example

We analysed (verb) the data. This revealed a number of trends.

The analysis (noun) of the data revealed a number of trends.

This process turns actions into concepts, which can then become the subject of further actions and relationships. Since academic writing is frequently concerned with relationships between concepts, it tends to be highly nominalised.

The advantages of this process are:

  • it reduces the number of clauses (making writing more concise)
  • it can remove personal subjects where they are not important
  • it allows a complex set of relationships between concepts to be expressed within a single sentence

Warning: Too much nominalisation makes text heavy and difficult to read. Sometimes you may need to reverse the process, and turn noun phrases into clauses. See Readable writing

Try rewriting the sentence below to make it more concise. Turn verbs into nouns when you can.

Capital markets, media and government are demanding more and more that corporations behave in a transparent way, which challenges organizations to think strategically about branding and communications activities. (28 words)

Check this version against your own!

Growing demand for corporate transparency from capital markets, media and government challenges organizations to think strategically about branding and communications activities. (21 words)

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