The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
The Writer's Handbook
Clear, Concise Sentences

Put the action in the verb

Put all the action of a sentence into the verb. Don't bury the action in a noun or blur it across the entire sentence.

Good: The committee has to approach it differently.

Bad: The establishment of a different approach on the part of the committee has become a necessity.

(Williams, 1985, p. 11)

Beware of nominalizations

Watch out especially for nominalizations (verbs that have been made into nouns by the addition of -tion).

Nominalization: An evaluation of the procedures needs to be done.

How to fix it: We need to evaluate the procedures.

Nominalization: The procedures need to be evaluated.

How to fix it: We need to evaluate the procedures..

Nominalization: The stability and quality of our financial performance will be developed through the profitable execution of our existing business, as well as the acquisition or development of new businesses.

How to fix it: We will improve our financial performance not only by executing our existing business more profitably but by acquiring or developing new businesses.