Student studying at desk
Nominalisation is an integral feature of academic writing. It is a function that not only helps you to create variety in your writing, but also prevents you from repeating the same verb/word over and over again. Nominalisation is a useful skill to have in academic writing because it conveys an objective, impersonal tone. It can also make the text more concise by packing a great deal of information into a few words. As a consequence of using nominalisation, your writing will be more abstract and more formal.
Nominalisation is a noun phrase generated from another word class, usually a verb. (Other word classes include adjectives and nouns) In other words, the process of nominalisation turns verbs (actions or events) into nouns (things, concepts or people).
To raise your awareness of nominalised sentences in academic English.
To guide you through the process of creating nominalised sentences.
Before you begin to create nominalised sentences of your own, it is important that you are able to a) identify the nominalised part of a sentence and b) see the value of using nominalisation
Read the sentences below and identify which one contains a nominalised expression.
1) Student numbers are increasing rapidly from year to year and the University is becoming concerned that they may need to build more accommodation in order to house everyone.
2) The rapid increase in student numbers is causing concern at the University. More accommodation may have to be built in order to house everyone.
Sentence 2 contains a nominalised expression.
When trying to create nominalised sentences it is important that you are able to form the correct noun from a verb. The following exercise tries to encourage you to correctly identify nouns which have been formed from a verb.
Click on the link below and follow the instructions.
Verb-Noun Match exercise (35KB)
This is a timed exercise and you will only have 5 minutes to complete the task.
Click on the link below.
Using the words (nouns and verbs) you have just learnt in the match exercise, fill in the gaps with the correct noun to make a nominalised sentence.
Nominalisation Gapfill (38KB)
Using the sentences from activity 3, change the nominalisations back into verbs.
The nominalised sentence
The failure of local economies to sustain and stimulate economic growth resulted in foreign intervention.
Local economic strategies failed to stimulate and sustain economic growth, which resulted in foreign intervention.
The government the student intake to ascertain a realistic picture of which countries the international students have come from.
The report that business has been extremely profitable since the end of the quarter, particularly since the important sale and that expansion seems inevitable.
Transport for London will £350 million next year on refurbishment of several tube stations
The UK Border Agency entry to the UK for non EU or EEA citizens.
Individuals in this urban migration because they want to generate income through non-traditional means.
Look at the sentences below. Change the word in bold type into a noun, thus creating a nominalised expression. If there are two sentences in the verbalised form, join them together to create one sentence. Write your answer in the text box provided before checking with the feedback for a suggested answer.
The police provided the press with details of the case, which implicated Giovanni Lo Cascio of the Corleonesi clan to such an extent, that he was forced into hiding.
Blended learning divides students. Some accept the newer style of teaching, while others reject it.
Intercultural theory is very relevant to the business world. It's relevance is illustrated in chapter 3 of this book.
Scientists deduced that the vaccine was also having a positive effect on reducing the spread of HIV, which caused sales to rise.
Fossil fuels are used to power industry. Heavy usage is difficult to sustain because they cannot be replaced.
© Jessica Cooper / E-EAP Project, LLU, QMUL / firstname.lastname@example.org / 2010/ Photograph used under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License courtesy of DAEllis