Nounification – the art of writing dull text

Nothing makes a document duller than turning verbs (action words) into nouns (labels). So ‘inspect’ becomes ‘inspection’, ‘manage’ becomes ‘management’ and ‘use’ becomes ‘utilisation’ (my pet hate!).

Some people think words like these sound official and the sort of language that should be used in business documents. It’s just plain dull. If you replace action words with labels your writing will lose its vigour and power.

But worse than that it hides meaning. For example, you can write ‘perform an inspection’ without clearly stating what is being inspected. But when you write ‘inspect the …..’ you are forced to say what to inspect, and perhaps what you are looking for.

In general, using verbs forces greater rigour in thinking and greater precision in writing.

And always choose the simplest word you can find in preference to impressive,  pompous words.

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