Nominalising verbs

Nouns, especially abstract nouns, are easily derived from verbs with suffixes such as -tion, -sion and -ment. Some of these are created by writers developing an argument, theme or policy, to encapsulate their key ideas. Nouns formed this way are called nominalisations:

agglomerate  →  agglomeration     eradicate  →  eradication     remediate  →  remediation

apprehend  →  apprehension     expand  →  expansion     suspend  →  suspension

acknowledge  →  acknowledgment     embody  →  embodiment     enlarge  →  enlargement                

These polysyllabic nouns are not usually questioned because their derivation is clear. But as abstract nouns they lack verbal force and agency, and make the language very impersonal. Writing loaded with nominalisations is hard going for readers, and counterproductive in terms of communicating with the public.

See Verbing nouns

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