Medical Writing Writing better Finding the action in your writing: Avoiding nominalisation
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Volume 26, Issue 1 - Writing better

Finding the action in your writing: Avoiding nominalisation

Abstract

Dense, hard-to-follow writing obfuscates complex subject matter, but writers can improve their ability to communicate complex topics with clear writing that is easily understood on a first read. Science and medical  writing often contain grammatical constructs, including nominalisations, which require the reader to perform “mental gymnastics” to discover the actors and the action of the sentence. Reading for   nominalisations and rescuing the verbs that they hide reveals the action. The writing becomes more engaging, easier to understand, and more likely to capture the reader’s interest. Here I discuss how to recognise and edit nominalisations, concluding the article with some short sentences for practice.

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Writing Better
President’s Message
EMWA News
Advancing the Medical Writing profession: The Joint Position Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers
AMWA-EMWA-ISMPP Joint Position Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers
EMWA’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
Finding the action in your writing: Avoiding nominalisation
Removing the dead wood
Writing economically in medicine and science: Tips for tackling wordiness
How to shorten a text by up to 30% and improve clarity without losing information
Troublesome words
Can you recognise the four main ways that English sentences can be structured?
Three strategies to help you write clearly for a lay audience
Structuring paragraphs
A checklist to improve your writing
Results of the 2016 EMWA member survey
News from the EMA
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Teaching Medical Writing
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Lingua Franca and Beyond
The Webscout
Good Writing Practice
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Profile: An Interview with Michael Markie - an open science and open data advocate
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