Nominalizations are nouns that are formed from verbs. As researchers, in scientific writing, we often use them because they sound formal, but turning a verb into a noun makes it lose power and makes the sentence weak. ❌ Indeed, nominalizations are often associated with passive voice constructs and hide the action. 😩

Whenever possible, we should use the performer of the action as subjects and their action as a verb. Rescuing the verbs that nominalizations hide reveals the action. ✔ The writing becomes more engaging, easier to understand, and more likely to capture the reader’s interest.  Moreover, from a practical point of view, when we must stay within a specific number of words, eliminating nominalizations really helps. 😃 

Example: Nominalized: Nominalization of words can lead to the interruption of the flow of a paragraph.
➥ Verbalized: Nominalizing words can interrupt the flow of a paragraph

Finally, sometimes nominalizations can be useful, but we should not use them too often. For example, “The treatment was started.” The word ‘treatment’ is a nominalization of the verb ‘treat’. However, in this example, the key verb is “started’.

This material is based on the following resources with some additions and modifications from Gavin Lucas and Valeria Di Giacomo.

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