Writers, the ‘zombie noun’ apocalypse is upon us

In a blog post for The New York Times, university professor Helen Sword says these words are sucking the life from our prose. And the problem is widespread.

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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.”

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