How to switch between nouns and verbs comfortably.
By Jacqueline Schaalje
Noun Vs. Verb
In English there are lots of things you can say with either a noun, or a verb that means the same.
I’m going to give you a bunch of examples that are used a lot in business English.
Present (verb) – presentation (noun)
1A The sales team was giving a presentation to the executives.
(The executives are the upper management of the company, or the big bosses.)
B The sales team was presenting their plan to the executives.
In A, I’ve used the noun presentation.
And in B, I’ve used the verb present.
Which is better: Noun or Verb?
It’s really impossible to say which is better. Both A and B are grammatically correct sentences, and both presentation and present are common words that everyone understands. However, in English we prefer short and clear sentences if they mean the same as the longer one. The longer one will sound more formal and stiffer. Short and clear is good. As English sentences will be shorter when you use a strong verb, this is preferred.
Which verbs can go with presentation?
See 1A, you can give a presentation.
You can also: hold a presentation or show a presentation.
Meet (verb) – meeting (noun)
2A Let’s meet at 3 pm.
B Let’s have a meeting at 3 pm.
You can also hold a meeting.
Discuss (verb) – discussion (noun)
3 A We need to discuss the new designs.
B We need to have a discussion about the new designs.
You can also hold a discussion.
Plan (verb) – plan (noun)
4A We must plan our project well.
B We must make a good plan for our project.
You can also create a plan.
Design (verb) – design (noun)
5A Bo is busy designing the new brochure.
B Bo is busy making the design for the new brochure.
You can also create a design or work on a design.
Approve (verb) – approval (noun)
6A My manager approves my schedule.
B My manager gave her approval to my schedule.
It’s always give your approval, but you can also rewrite B like this: My manager gave my schedule her approval. (Please note the word order has changed.)
Explain (verb) – explanation (noun)
7A Can you explain how these electronic circuits are made?
B Can you give me an explanation how these electronic circuits are made?
You can give an explanation and the other person can ask for an explanation.
Decide (verb) – decision (noun)
8A Tomorrow we’ll decide when to start selling the product.
B Tomorrow we’ll make a decision when to start selling the product.
It’s always make a decision.
Meaning of the Words Used
In case you’re wondering what some of the words above mean, here is a short explanation:
Discussion is talk.
Plan means to think what you’re going to do and how to do it.
Approve is give your okay to a plan.
Decide is give an answer to a problem or question.
Rewrite the sentences. Use the noun or verb given in brackets ().
I’ll make a decision tomorrow.
I’ll decide tomorrow.
1 When are you going to make a plan for your trip? (plan)
2 I’m waiting until she decides. (decision)
3 Boeing is creating a design for a new plane. (design)
4 The aim of this meeting is to hold a discussion about our software. (discuss)
5 I’d like to hold a meeting with the whole team. (meet)
6 Can you give an explanation for your strange behaviour yesterday? (explain)
7 Did the executives give the budget their approval? (approve)
When you finish, you can also try this quiz (harder).