Revising for Conciseness > Verbal Style
In the previous section on clarity, we pointed out that eliminating strings of prepositional phrases often involves turning nouns into verbs or verbal forms. Some of the examples we presented involved changing the completion of to complete, the reassignment of to reassigning, and the rewarding of to rewarding. In each case, we created a more verbal style by eliminating unnecessary nominalizations. A nominalization is the noun form of a word that also has a verb form. For example, completion and reassignment are nouns corresponding to the verbs complete and reassign. The following diagram illustrates the pattern for verbal style.
Overuse of nominalizations is widespread in technical writing, affecting both clarity and conciseness. But note that the noun forms of verbs are also very useful for communicating abstract concepts. While you cannot eliminate nominalizations, you should limit their use.