As we have seen in the previous three High English grammar quizzes, nominalisation is the process by which verbs or adjectives are converted into nouns. This is the first of two quizzes that looks at nominalisation using the 'ing' form of a word, or the gerund.
A word is nominalised by adding a suffix to the verb or the adjective. For instance, the verb ‘compel’ is nominalised to ‘compulsion’ by adding the suffix ‘-sion’ with modifications, or ‘participate’ is converted into ‘participation’ after nominalisation by adding ‘-ation’ with modifications. Similarly, an adjective such as ‘beautiful’ is converted into ‘beauty’ after nominalisation. Apart from the nominalisation of verbs and adjectives with suffixes we have already looked at in the previous quizzes, there is another way of nominalisation - using the ‘-ing’ form. This form is the gerund.
A gerund is a noun made from a verb by adding "-ing." For instance, ‘rowing’ is the gerund form of the verb ‘row.’ The ‘-ing’ form offers versatility that verbs cannot. The ‘-ing’ form can follow a possessive pronoun allowing the communication of the action to be more specific. It is possible to use the '-ing' form as the subject of the verb, the object of the verb, or the object of a preposition, as shown in these examples:
'Her dancing is very aesthetic.’
‘In India many resorts on the coast do not offer windsurfing or sailing.’
‘Many young men and women are going in for engineering.’
These sentences clearly show the versatile nature of the ‘-ing’ form.
Nominalisation has many positive effects in writing. It helps in compressing various elements of a clause into a single noun. It helps in technical writing, especially for government officials and the scientific community. It helps in structuring the writing and bringing coherence into it.
While adding suffixes other than ‘-ing’ limit the number of verbs or adjectives that can be nominalised, the ‘-ing’ form of nominalisation is uniform and can be applied to almost any verb. Take the quiz that follows and learn how to use nominalisation to make communication more precise, compact and informative, simply by using the gerund, or 'ing'.