Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Sentence problems 2--nominalizations

"Nominalization" is the grammarian's way of saying that you took a perfectly good verb, turned it into a noun, and then you had to add helping verbs to get the same meaning across. Nominalizations appear regularly in legal writing and contribute to that stuffy, bureaucratic odor that floats around much legal writing.

Nominalizations are italicized here:

Before attendance at a pre-trial conference, a lawyer should seek confirmation of authority to enter into a settlement agreement.

Before attending a pre-trial conference, lawyers should confirm their authority to settle.

The defendant made a referral to Emily Graves, a financial planner, so that she could provide my client with advice in making investments.

The defendant referred my client to Emily Graves, a financial planner, so that Ms. Graves could advise my client about investing.

--Excerpted from Better Legal Writing

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