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EU Clear English Tips for Translators – Prefer a gerund to an abstract noun

EU Clear English Tips for Translators

  • Change > to
  • the preservation of public health > preserving public health
  • by the introduction of a speed limit > by introducing a speed limit
  • the cost of the provision of a service > the cost of providing a service
  • through the acquisition of new skills > by acquiring new skills

Note that the gerund makes a noun phrase from an entire clause, not just a verb.

  • the taking of a decision > taking a decision
  • the building of an area of justice > building an area of justice

Thus, a simple gerund can often replace a pair of abstract nouns.

  • the submission of an application for a job > applying for a job
  • the development of a design for a project > designing a project

Source: DGT, European Commission

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