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EU Translation Guide: Cut out excess nouns – verb forms are livelier

EU Translation GuideOne simple way to write more dearly is to change …

  • this (BAD)… => … to this (GOOD):
     
  • by the destruction of => by destroying
  • for the maximisation of => for maximising
  • of the introduction of => of introducing

By making this change, we are simply turning a noun back into a verb. Verbs are more direct and less abstract than nouns. Many nouns ending in ‘-ion’ are simply verbs in disguise. They often occur in phrases like those below, where verbs would be clearer:

  • carry out an evaluation of => evaluate
  • hold an investigation of => investigate
  • give consideration to => consider

There are other nouns that don’t end in ‘-ion’ but which are also verbs in disguise:

  • conduct a review of => review
  • perform an assessment of => assess
  • effect a renewal of => renew

So we can make a document clearer by turning some nouns back into verbs:

  • BAD: The practice of growing perennials instead of annual crops can bring about an improvement of soil quality by effecting an increase in soil cover.
  • GOOD: Growing perennials instead of annual crops can improve soil quality by increasing soil cover.

Source: European Commission

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