Sidebar: Useful Nominalizations

Although nominalizations often make writing harder to understand, they aren’t always bad. In some cases, readers will prefer nominalizations.

Here are some nominalizations you should probably keep:

  • A nominalization that refers to a lengthy action in an earlier sentence:

    For example, see how the long underlined action in the first sentence becomes a short bolded nominalization in the second:

    Some have argued that women should be the primary caretakers of children. This argument rests on some assumptions about gender differences.<
  • A nominalization that replaces the phrase “The fact that”:

    For example, see how the long underlined phrase in this sentence:

    The fact that you lead people well makes you a good candidate for the job.<
    becomes the short bolded phrase in this one:
    Your leadership makes you a good candidate for the job.
  • A nominalization that replaces a long phrase as the object of a verb:

    For example, see how the long underlined phrase in this sentence:

    I received what she inquired about.<

    Becomes the short bolded phrase in this one:

    I received her inquiry.<
  • A nominalization that your readers are familiar with:

    For example:

    Women voters will determine the outcome of this election.<
    Nominalizations can make appropriate subjects in certain cases.<