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Grammatical metaphor: Nominalization

Introduction to compression

Conversing vs writing

Let’s compare some spoken versions of the previous snippet to the original.

In this example, highlight the nominal groups.

The natives weren’t communicating very well, and the Europeans took over all their land and placed settlements everywhere.

Again, ask yourself this question: does each nominal group refer to either things or people?

Now highlight the nominal groups in the original snippet.

Warning: this IS a trick question! Here’s a hint: sometimes nominal groups don’t have pointers.

Communications between the tribes of the New World were slow, and news of the Europeans’ barbarities rarely overtook the rapid spread of new conquests and settlements.

Now ask yourself that question again: does each nominal group refer to either things or people?

The answer?