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Scientists sometimes 'smother' a verb by converting it into a noun because to some it sounds more scientific.

Yet the verb is often just as good and uses fewer words. Smothered verbs have endings such as ‘-ion, -ance, -ent’. Here are some smothered verbs and their verb equivalents:

come to a decision … decide
provide assistance … assist
make an assessment … assess

Combining a smothered verb with the passive voice

A smothered verb is usually as easy to understand as the verb alone. A sentence in the passive voice is no more difficult to read than one in the active voice. But if we combine the two, a sentence can become clumsy, longer and less readable:

A calculation of the optimum pH was made by the team. (Passive voice + smothered verb = 11 words.)

The team calculated the optimum pH. (Active voice + verb = 6 words.)

We calculated the optimum pH. (Active voice + personal pronoun + verb = 5 words.)

If we added subordinate (extra information) clauses to the first example (particularly more than two), the sentence would become even more difficult.