Nominalizations are nouns that are created from adjectives (words that describe nouns) or verbs (action words). For example, “happiness” is a nominalization of “happy,” “decision” is a nominalization of “decide,” and “argument” is a nominalization of “argue.”
A feature of academic vocabulary which deserves mention is the use of nominalization or noun phrases. Study the following examples:
|Example 1:||Acid rain||erodes||buildings, which is a major problem.|
|(Subject, noun)||(Action Verb)||(Object)|
|Example 2:||The erosion of buildings by acid rain||is||a major problem.|
|(Subject, noun phrase)||(Non-action Verb)||(Object)|
In Example 1, 'acid rain' is the subject and 'erodes' is the verb. In the Example 2, which many would consider to be more academic, the subject has been made more complex by changing the verb into a noun and creating a noun phrase 'the erosion of buildings by acid rain'. This type of nominalization is common in academic writing. When a verb is nominalized, it becomes a concept rather than an action. As a consequence, the tone of the writing will sound more abstract and also more formal. For this reason, it is important to study the word family of a word, rather than just one word form, especially if the word is not a noun.