To improve legal writing, dump the nominalizations

At, Wayne Schiess discusses the abuse heaped upon the English language when lawyers use nouns that wanted to be verbs.  What are "nouns that wanted to be verbs?"  Wayne explains:

Nouns that wanted to be verbs go by many names: nominalizations, hidden verbs, buried verbs. I've even heard them called smothered verbs. What you call them is not important. What is important is that you learn to recognize when you've got nouns that could be verbs and train yourself to return them to their preferred state.

(Wayne Schiess, When verbs become nouns (May 9, 2008)  Wayne then provides examples of nominalizations in common legal use:

For example, this sentence contains two nouns that wanted to be verbs:

  • My expectation was that counsel would make an objection.

If we return these nouns to their verb forms, the sentence improves:

  • I expected counsel to object.

(Ibid.)  The best part of the article is the list of common nominalizations.  Take a look at the list and check off all the ones that you think you've used in your own writing.  It's painful to see how predictable we are as writers.