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The Power Of Verbs

If you don’t already know about the power of verbs, it’s good that you’re reading this – because verbs are very powerful.

There is something about writing that makes us express ourselves more formally than we would do when speaking. For example, you might chat with a colleague in the staff canteen about how you are going to realise your department’s goals. But when you sit down to write a report about it, for some reason you find yourself writing about ‘the realisation of our goals’.

This habit is very common. What happens is that instead of using a verb, for example, ‘to realise’, you use the related noun, ‘realisation’. To use the correct term for this bad habit, these are called nominalisations, meaning using the noun form of verbs.

Let’s look at some more examples.

Noun phrase

the avoidance of
the improvement of
the provision of
take into consideration
undertake an analysis of



Noun phrases appear all over our writing. They lengthen your sentences and they make your writing less lively, less human and more official sounding. Let’s look at some sentences now:

Noun phrase
We ensured the motivation of staff with the introduction of Learn at Lunch sessions.

Verb phrase
We motivated staff by introducing Learn at Lunch sessions’.

Noun phrase
Newton Hospital made a decision to expand its paediatric services.

Verb phrase
Newton Hospital decided to expand its paediatric services.

Noun phrase
The judge said we must take into consideration the age of the offender.

Verb phrase
The judge said we must consider the offender’s age.

When you are writing, it’s good to remember that too many noun phrases make writing very dull, and they obscure the real meaning of a sentence. Always remember the power of verbs.

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© Shirley Taylor.
Shirley is a high-energy, high-content speaker who is passionate about motivating individuals to make a real difference in our automated world. With inspiring stories and a fun style, she engages audiences quickly, and encourages them to embrace high-touch as well as high-tech so they can connect with heart.

Shirley has been a trusted member of the professional speaking and training community for many years, and has received several awards for her services in leadership. She served as Asia Professional Speakers Singapore President 2011-12 and as Global Speakers Federation President 2017-18. She has spoken in almost 20 countries all over the world.

Author of 12 books published by international publishers, Shirley has established herself as a leading authority in workplace communication, business writing, and email. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition has sold over half a million copies worldwide and been translated into 17 languages.

If you would like Shirley to speak at your next event, visit

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