Grammar

Nominalisation English Grammar

by VIDYANAND

/

What is Nominalisation?

The word ‘nominal’ is the adjective form relating to the word ‘noun’. Therefore, the term nominalisation refers to changing a verb, adjective or adverb into a noun.

In English, nouns can be formed by adding prefixes or suffixes to words belonging to other parts of speech. Through this process, qualities, actions and events are turned into things, ideas or people.

WordNominalisation
is walkingthe walk
finalfinality
melodiouslymelody

When the verb, adjective or adverb is nominalised, the sentence to which the words belong to sounds more formal and abstract. 

(a) After the septic tank leaked into the drinking water reservoir, an epidemic broke out.
(b) After the leakage of the septic tank into the drinking water reservoir, there was an outbreak of an epidemic.

Compared to Sentence (a), Sentence (b) sounds more formal. 

More examples:

(a) The scientists demonstrated how to extract DNA from the pulp of the tooth.
(b) The scientists conducted a demonstration about the extraction of DNA from the pulp of the tooth.
(a) They discussed whether the claims were authentic or not.
(b) They had a discussion on the authenticity of the claims.

Common Suffixes of Nouns         

SuffixNoun Form
-ion  demonstration, continuation, fixation
-ityduplicity, possibility, complexity
-nessfirmness, happiness, blindness
-mentenjoyment, replacement, arrangement
-ance, -enceabsence, importance, appearance 
-shipfriendship, kinship, partnership
-hoodneighbourhood, motherhood, childhood
-errunner, speaker, leader

Changing Verbs to Nouns

To change verbs into nouns, suffixes such as ‘-ion’, ‘-sion’, ‘-er’, ‘-ing’, ‘-th’ or ‘-ment’ can be used.

VerbSuffixNoun
determine-iondetermination
ascent-sionascension
swim-erswimmer
knit-ingknitting (gerund)
grow-thgrowth
abandon-mentabandonment

The verb can be converted into a noun by adding an article.

VerbNoun
readingthe reading
walkingthe walk
tastethe taste
killthe kill

Steps:

Underline the verbs in the sentence. 

Crime was increasing and this was worrying the police.

Write down the noun forms of the verbs.

Increasing: The increase

Worrying: Worry

Replace the verbs with the noun forms. Use them in the sentence either as subjects or as objects.

The increase in crime caused worry among the police.  

Changing Adjectives to Nouns

Adjectives can be changed into nouns by adding suffixes such as ‘-ness’, ‘-ity’, ‘-ency’, ‘-ancy’ ‘ance’, ‘-ism’ and ‘-th’.

AdjectiveSuffixNoun
happy-nesshappiness
able-ityability
efficient-encyefficiency
deviant-ancydeviancy
defiant-ancedefiance
favourite-ismfavouritism
warm-thwarmth

Adjectives can also be turned into nouns by dropping suffixes.

AdjectiveSuffixNoun
traumatic-ictrauma
magical-almagic
dangerous-ousdanger
questionable-ablequestion
zealous-ouszeal
painful-fulpain
guilty-yguilt

Steps:

Underline the adjectives in the sentence. 

The fact that you are reliable makes me happy.

Write down the noun forms of the adjectives.

  • reliable: reliability
  • happy: happiness

Replace the adjectives with the noun forms. Use them in the sentence either as subjects or as objects.

Your reliability brings me happiness.

Changing Adverbs to Nouns

Changing adverbs to nouns is a three-step process.

First, the suffix ‘-ly’ is dropped from the adverb (beautifully).

The result would be an adjective (beautiful).

Follow the rules for converting adjectives into nouns by adding or removing suffixes.

AdverbAdjectiveNoun
speciallyspecialspecialty
truthfullytruthfultruth
viciouslyviciousviciousness
confusinglyconfusingconfusion
completelycompletecompletion

Steps:

Underline the adverbs in the sentence. 

  • The enemies retreated fearfully.

Write the noun forms of the adjectives.

fearfully: fear

Replace the adverbs with the noun forms. Use them in the sentence with prepositional phrases. (preposition + noun phrase)

The enemies retreated in fear.

Examples

She has been erring a lot lately. 
She has been committing a lot of errors lately.
 
Michelle is an intelligent girl.
Michelle is blessed with intelligence.
 
The immigrants thronged towards the city rapidly.
The immigrants thronged towards the city with rapidness. 
 
Ravi’s business expanded in India.
Ravi’s business underwent expansion in India.
 
King Mahendra’s stoic demeanour during trying times made his subjects courageous.
King Mahendra’s stoicism during trying times instilled courage in his subjects.
 
The messenger spoke of the soldier’s death sorrowfully. 
The messenger spoke of the soldier’s death with sorrow.
 
He spoke of the problems plaguing his country to the people gathered.
He delivered a speech about the problems plaguing his country to the people gathered.
 
George was absent during the meeting and that was noticed by everyone.
George’s absence during the meeting was noticed by everyone.
 
He jumped joyfully.
He jumped for joy.