Related reading: What Makes Academic Writing Complex
A month has just passed. It has been a joy meeting with many of you in person, and interacting with a lot of you online. I hope you’re having a great journey so far.
Week 4 was basically the heart of academic writing, or writing like a professional in general. I’m not talking about just jargon and terms you have learnt in your subjects. Not just about the advanced-looking latinate verbs. It’s about “reducing” full sentences into complex noun groups through the process of nominalisation.
Yes, it’s a process involving a series of steps, aside from changing verbs, adjectives or even conjunctions into nouns. As we demonstrated a number of examples in the class, for example, an adverb modifying a verb turns into an adjective for describing the nominalised word.
Nominalisation gives a few effects to your writing. First, you’re saying the same thing in fewer words, meaning your writing is more concise. Second, your writing now focuses on “things”: the terms in your fields are typically nouns because researchers need “names” to label phenomena and concepts (note these two words are nouns, too). This makes your writing look more technical. Third, by focusing on “things”, your essay has less space for your self-expanding subjective views… I’m joking, but I do mean your commentaries will be more on things but not people or your feelings.
So, in English: nominalisation helps you write concisely, make room for discussing phenomena and concepts, and comment on things not people. Yes, it’s what adult writing is about. Welcome to the adult world.
Soon you’ll find that the things you learn with us can be applied to your business reports, meeting minutes, or grant proposals when you start working (yeah, when you decide not to become nerds like me).
Back to our context, nominalisation is one of our paraphrasing strategies for writing summaries. Next week we’ll explore a couple of more paraphrasing strategies, still centering around nominalisation.
See how we can make use of these skills for editing our drafts, but for now, have some good rest in this long weekend.
I know you guys are overwhelmed by projects and stuff. Hang in there, and take care. See you Monday!