Look out, writers. Zombie nouns are sucking the life from your prose.
In a post for The New York Times’ Opinionator blog
, University of Auckland teacher Helen Sword writes:
“Take an adjective (implacable) or a verb (calibrate) or even another noun (crony) and add a suffix like ity, tion or ism. You’ve created a new noun: implacability, calibration, cronyism. Sounds impressive, right?
“Nouns formed from other parts of speech are called nominalizations. Academics love them; so do lawyers, bureaucrats and business writers. I call them ‘zombie nouns’ because they cannibalize active verbs, suck the lifeblood from adjectives and substitute abstract entities for human beings.”
She added: “At their best, nominalizations help us express complex ideas: perception
. At their worst, they impede clear communication.”
Read the full story at The New York Times