Nominalization in Written English See back for Credits
What is Nominalization?Nominalization is giving the main information in a clause as a noun phrase rather than as a verb.
NominalizationIn spoken English we usually use a subject + verb to describe an event. I reacted badly. Then really quickly my foot began to go red and swell up.
NominalizationIn formal written language we use language that is less personal.We often use a noun form instead of a verb.Following a bee sting the normal reaction is redness, irritation and itching.In this situation there may be swelling in the area around the bite.
NominalizationSpoken language Then really quickly my foot began to go red and swell up.Formal written language Following a bee sting the normal reaction is redness, irritation and itching.In SPOKEN LANGUAGE events are expressed by verbs.In FORMAL WRITTEN LANGUAGE events are changed into nouns (redness, swelling).
NominalizationWe can also change some adjectives tonouns. Compare: The cathedral is tall and can be seen from all over the town. The cathedral’s height makes it visible all over town.
NominalizationThe common differences between spokenand written English are:Spoken Actions and events are expressed as verbs: swell upWritten Actions and events may be expressed as nouns or noun phrases. swelling
NominalizationSpoken Events happen to people or are carried out by people: He reacted badly, My foot began to go redWritten Events are discussed impersonally: The normal reaction is ...
NominalizationSpoken Personal pronouns are used as subjects: I, sheWritten Nouns are used as subjects: a person, the throat
NominalizationSpoken Verbs are often action or event verbs: reacted, trod, itchedWritten Verbs are often not action or event verbs: be, have
Reasons for NominalizationMaking texts impersonal and authoritative By turning actions into nouns we make the text sound less personal and more authoritative. We don’t use personal pronouns (e.g I, you, he) as much.
Reasons for NominalizationMaking texts impersonal and authoritative Compare: Following a bee sting the normal reaction is burning pain, redness, irritation and itching. In this reaction there may be swelling in the area around the wound. Then really quickly my foot began to go red and swell up. It just got bigger and bigger. It itched a bit too. I was really surprised by how much it hurt.
Nominalization Examples Sentence1: Crime was increasing rapidly and the police were becoming concerned. Nominalized sentence: The rapid increase in crime was causing concern among the police. Sentence 2:Germany invaded Poland in 1939. This was the immediate cause of the Second World War breaking out. Nominalized sentence:Germanys invasion of Poland in 1939 was the immediate cause of the outbreak of the Second World War. Can we nominalize this sentence further?
CreditsUni Learning Academic Writing athttp://unilearning.uow.edu.au/academic/3b.ht ml