We’ve talked about weak and strong verbs, but did you know the same holds true for nouns? I never really thought about it, until I took an online class that talked about strong and weak nouns. My first thought on weak nouns; the instructor has to be referring to pronouns. Well, he wasn’t and that is a subject for another day.
Strong nouns can help your reader picture what/who the writer is talking about immediately. The author doesn’t have to describe the person, place, or thing. We get it. The more specific the noun, the clearer the picture.
If I wrote a city, dog, or car in a sentence, you would picture your version of the city, dog, or car in your mind. While these nouns aren’t bad, they could be made stronger. An upgrade would be; New York City, German Shepherd, or Ford Mustang. While you may want to make that mustang candy apple red, it doesn’t need much more detail to get a clear picture of the author’s intent.
Names are also strong nouns. Cinderella, Clark Kent, and Harry Potter, all conjure up strong images in your mind.
Weak nouns require additional information to create a clear image in your mind. The weaker the noun, the more information you will need to provide.
Most weak or dead nouns end in ‘tion’. Examples would be publication, devotion, recitation, adaptation.
These nouns tend to way your sentences down and as stated above, require more detail to produce a clear image. The best way to address these weak nouns, is to change them back into verbs, and rework the sentence.
The couple’s separation occurred at the end of the year.
The couple separated at the end of the year.
Just something else to think about while you’re writing that best selling novel 🙂