Say no to nominalisations

Jo Marshall | May 16, 2021 | Copywriting |  Higher education |  Writing Tips | 

Quick way to make your copy more readable:

Get rid of any nominalisations.


I’m talking about those pesky made-up nouns created from verbs or adjectives, like:

the implementation of
the development of
the strengthening of

I spent hours stripping them out of a report I was editing for a client a little while back. And removing EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM made the copy easier to read.


Why use them at all?

Nominalisations are favoured in bureaucratic and academic writing, because they supposedly add gravitas or some degree of objectivity into what you’re saying.

But when they find their way into business-to-business writing, like a report you actually want people to read?

They can suck the life out of a piece of copy.

Not to mention make it harder to read.

This year saw the development of a suite of career development pathways

This year we developed some career development pathways

Whilst good progress has been made in the implementation of our CRS

We’ve made good progress in implementing our new client record system

Getting rid of nominalisations makes it clear who’s doing what in the sentence.

Changing nouns back into verbs is also a quick way to make your copy more readable.