Writers, stop turning verbs into nouns!

Doing so weakens your writing. Plus, it’s really irritating.

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It’s worse than we feared.

We at Ragan.com warned you about “vampire words” that suck the life out of your copy.

Now it turns out that other forms of undead abound in writing. We’re talking about nominalizations: verbs or adjectives that have been transmogrified into nouns, to ugly effect.

In a frightening echo of our own warning, writer Helen Sword states that these words “cannibalize active verbs, suck the lifeblood from adjectives, and substitute abstract entities for human beings.”

Sword stated this last summer in The New York Times and a terrifying video, and this spring the Newspaper of Record twice revisited the topic, lamenting “Those Irritating Verbs-as-Nouns.”

In the latter piece, author Henry Hitchings cites these examples:

and, quoting from a British hit,

(Then again, I’d rather not.)

Sword shows how to conduct a de-zombification—er, to clean up—a sentence:

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