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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Criminal Sentence 62: Another Naughty Nominalization

From a magazine I just proofread:

"The archaeologist made a thorough documentation of the ruins and artifacts."

This sentence is grammatically correct but not well written. I object to the phrase "made a thorough documentation of." Why not just say "thoroughly documented"? That saves three words and is much more to the point. "Documentation" is a nominalization, which I rail against in my book and in one of my WD columns.

Please learn what nominalizations are and then please try to avoid them!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. Did you ever stop to consider that nominalization, as a linguistic process, has a purpose?

It is disappointing to find such a successful individual making so many assertions without basing them in any kind of informed (applied) linguistic approach.

I'd suggest looking into nominalization as it is addressed in various linguistic theories - my preferred one is system functional linguistics ... if that doesn't suite you, maybe try corpus linguistics.

Practice is only part of what makes a professional a success and worth listening to ... (OMG - look there, I ended a sentence with a preposition!)

A concerned and veteran technical writer, professor, corporate trainer, second/foreign language teacher ... not mention multilingual glocal (yes glocal) citizen