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Using abstract nouns

 

Techniques > Use of language > Parts of speech > Using nouns > Using abstract nouns

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Method

Use abstract nouns to talk about qualities, ideas, concepts such as help, fraternity and love. Use their non-tangible qualities to inspire and connect with the inner person.

Use abstract nouns  to turn verbs into things you can stabilize and keep separate. Thus the verb 'to satisfy' can become satisfaction. 'To think' can become thought.

Example

We are here to give help to the needy.

Are you ready to make the decision now?

Discussion

The intangible nature of abstract nouns means that people have to create their own meaning. Abstract nouns thus have to be internalized and reflected on. They thus are a route to deeper thought.

Although an abstract noun may be intangible, there is still a sense of tangibility about it, carried over from the notion of concrete nouns and our preference for three-dimensional perception. This effect turns ideas into 'solid' things, separating them from us. Thus the dynamic action of verbs can be transformed into the static separateness of nouns. When you are persuading people, moving between these two forms can have subtle effects. Notice the difference:

I was thinking.

I had a thought.

Talking about 'thinking' uses continuous verbs and hence allows others to join in. Talking about 'thought' uses nouns and creates both separation and completion. This may dissuade others from changing the thought. It may also place the thought away from yourself, allowing others to examine it without you losing face.

See also

Using concrete nouns

 

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