Helen Sword, "Zombie Nouns", The New York Times 7/23/2012:
Take an adjective (implacable) or a verb (calibrate) or even another noun (crony) and add a suffix like ity, tion or ism. You’ve created a new noun: implacability, calibration, cronyism. Sounds impressive, right?
Nouns formed from other parts of speech are called nominalizations. Academics love them; so do lawyers, bureaucrats and business writers. I call them “zombie nouns” because they cannibalize active verbs, suck the lifeblood from adjectives and substitute abstract entities for human beings.
Indeed, strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto an approved part-of-speech mixture. Having learned from Strunk & White to "write with nouns and verbs, not adjectives and adverbs", the apprentice writer is now confronted with a new dogma damning many nouns, along with a reminder that only "active verbs" are free of sinful taint.
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