Nominalization: What is it?


Nominalizations
Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 25-30 minutes


Ask students to read the first handout, and jot down their responses to it. Then ask them to try to diagnose the passages; what's wrong with them?

Students are likely to say that the sentences are too long, or that the verbs are passive. Point them to the second handout, in which sentences are shorter and verbs are active, but the prose is still dreadful.

Then, introduce the term nominalization: a noun with a verb hiding in it. Ask students to pick out the nominalizations; identify the hidden verbs, and start thinking about how you might rewrite the sentences to use those key actions as verbs. Move on to a nominalization translation exercise.
Scroll down for the two handouts.
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Read the following passages.
 
a. Integrating all the existing islands of automation requires a structured approach with consideration of not just the physical problems associated with linking different computer-based technologies, but also the relative importance of these technologies to overall business strategy and the impact of their integration on the business environment. Bridging "islands" together for an effective integrated system and meeting the objective of maximum benefits at minimum cost require achievement of three benchmarks on the part of any integration program: identification of high-leverage technical processes, functions, and activities; maximum effectiveness in the use of other systems' assets already in place or in development; full exploitation of opportunities for performance improvement through integration of islands of automation system elements.
 
b. Too precise a specification of information processing requirements incurs the risk of overestimation resulting in unused capacity or inefficient use of costly resources or of underestimation leading to ineffectiveness or other inefficiencies. Too little precision in specifying needed information processing capacity gives no guidance with respect to the means for the procurement of the needed resources. There may be an optimal degree of precision in providing the decision-maker with the flexibility to adapt to needs.
 
c. To obligate a corporation upon a contract to another party, it must be proven that the contract was its act, whether by corporate action, that of an authorized agent, or by adoption or ratification, and such ratification will be implied by the acquiescence or the acceptance of the benefits of such contract, it being essential to implied ratification that the acceptance be with knowledge of all pertinent facts.
 
Jot down a few words to describe how you feel after reading these passages:
 
 
What do you think is wrong with them?
 
 
 
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Many people say that the passages are hard to read because they have long sentences and passive verbs. Now they have shorter sentences, and all the verbs are active – but they're not much easier to read.
 
d. Integrating all the existing islands of automation requires a structured approach. The approach must include consideration of not just the physical problems associated with linking different computer-based technologies, but also the relative importance of these technologies to overall business strategy and the impact of their integration on the business environment. Bridging "islands" together for an effective integrated system and meeting the objective of maximum benefits at minimum cost requires achievement of three benchmarks on the part of any integration program. There must be identification of high-leverage technical processes, functions, and activities; maximum effectiveness in the use of other systems' assets already in place or in development; and full exploitation of opportunities for performance improvement through integration of islands of automation system elements.
 
e. Too precise a specification of information processing requirements incurs the risk of overestimation or underestimation. Overestimation results in unused capacity or inefficient use of costly resources; underestimation leads to ineffectiveness or other inefficiencies. Too little precision in specifying needed information processing capacity gives no guidance with respect to the means for the procurement of the needed resources. There may be an optimal degree of precision in providing the decision-maker with the flexibility to adapt to needs.
 
f. To obligate a corporation upon a contract to another party, the party must prove that the contract was its act, whether by corporate action, that of an authorized agent, or by adoption or ratification. A court will infer such ratification from the acquiescence or the acceptance of the benefits of such contract. It is essential to implied ratification that the acceptance be with knowledge of all pertinent facts.