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What is the consensus on the use of the word "analyzation" in formal writing (ie ...a problem arises in business analyzation...")? One the one hand, some dictionaries, such as Merriam-Webster and Collins, list it as an actual word, although they do not include uses or definitions. On the other hand, it sounds horrendous in use. Am I wrong to advise against its use?

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    Please look around (online) for use cases -- and let us know. – Kris Mar 21 '16 at 15:43
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    Huh, you're right, I just looked and a few dictionaries do include the form (though only a couple given it an independent definition, most just list it among "derived forms", with no further details, etymology, or examples of use). I agree with your position: it's horrible. – Dan Bron Mar 21 '16 at 15:44
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    What does 'It technically exists in the dictionary' mean? It's not Dan Bron's job to supply the missing information (links and caveats), and it either exists or doesn't exist in a given dictionary. 'Technical existence' sounds a strange beast. "One can't argue with the fact that it is listed in 'WDO' etc ..." makes sense. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 21 '16 at 16:21
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    Could somebody analyzate the difference between analysis and analyzation? – Peter Shor Mar 21 '16 at 19:29
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    It mysteriously appears during the finalization when one wants to add a bit of sensationalization to the factualization. – Phil Sweet Nov 4 '16 at 16:35
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I have never heard that form of the word, and I agree it sounds pretty weird. You may just want to use analysis instead.

According to Google ngrams, "analysis" is over 20,000 times more common than "analyzation", which has only been decreasing in popularity for a number of decades now.

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    While I agree with you, answers which just offer one man's opinion, and no data to back it up (e.g. nGrams or expert opinions or whatever) should be offered as comments, rather than answers proper. I didn't downvote you, btw. – Dan Bron Mar 21 '16 at 15:45
  • ... Nor I (one is enough here) but I've nicked @Dan Bron's comment. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 21 '16 at 15:56
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    Hey @EdwinAshworth, there's a question on ELL about what you mean by "nicked" in your comment. Would you help clear it up? ell.stackexchange.com/q/85199 – ColleenV Mar 22 '16 at 3:39
  • would one say "neural network analysis techniques" (meaning "Techniques for the Analyzation of Neural Networks")? To me, a title "Analyzation Techniques for Neural Networks" sounds much better than "Analysis Techniques for Neural Networks" (and "Techniques for the Analyzation of Neural Networks" is a pretty long title for a chapter) – Martin Thoma Nov 26 '16 at 12:14
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This seems to be a result of a forced attempt to write everything in technical reports using a prescribed style of academic writing. This often results in a nominalization of verbs.

We analyzed the data ... >> The analyzation of the data was conducted...

If you spend 10 minutes reading the returns from a Google Scholar search of the term, it almost seems fashionable. (Would that make it a fashionalization?)

This nominalization habit has been noticed by others -

  1. Passive voice encourages nominalizations

A major problem with passive is that it makes it easier to use abusive nominalizations. I'll assume you've been through the lesson that discusses nominalizations (lesson 1)...if not, go read that first!

I've read lots of papers with some variation of the phrase "the DNA was then subjected to qPCR analysis" or something like that. I rarely read the active counterpart, "we subjected the DNA to qPCR analysis". Somehow the first (which is even worse than the second) seems acceptable. The main problem with this sentence isn't that it's passive, it's that it has nominalized the action of the sentence into "qPCR analysis." As such, you can fix the problem by fixing the nominalization while retaining the passive: "the DNA was then analyzed using qPCR." Nevertheless, somehow awkward phrases like these seem more abundant in passive sentences.

J Kirkman summarizes this argument fantastically:

If we accept the premise that all scientific papers must be passive and impersonal, inevitably we find ourselves tempted to use these 'carrier verbs'. If we will not write: 'we sampled the ions from the plasma by' 'I removed the coating with alcohol' 'we did not inspect the burners regularly'

we can write in simple passive form: 'the ions from the plasma were sampled by' 'the coating was removed with alcohol' 'the burners were not inspected regularly'.

But it is tempting to take a further step and expand these statements to: 'ion sampling from the plasma was achieved by' 'removal of the coating was effected by the application of alcohol' 'regular inspections of the burners were not carried out'.

In taking this extra step we not only change the verb forms from active to passive, but also introduce colourless 'general purpose' verbs 'carrying' abstract nouns. We no longer sample, remove and inspect; we achieve, effect and carry out. -J Kirkman

This is a serious, serious problem in scientific writing.

https://cgi.duke.edu/web/sciwriting/index.php?action=passive_voice

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    Passive voice would be something like "the data was analyzed," with a participle. This isn't the passive voice, it's a nominalization. (Some people say that while criticism of the passive voice is misguided, nominalizations are in fact characteristic of turgid prose.) – herisson Nov 4 '16 at 17:18
  • The passive voice is almost always characterized by the use of a past participle. It may involve the verb "be," but that isn't necessary or sufficient. – herisson Nov 4 '16 at 17:21
  • Here's an article by Geoffry Pullum about how to recognize the passize voice: The passive in English – herisson Nov 4 '16 at 17:22
  • @suməlic The point I was trying to make was that the nominalization was part of a common pattern used when switching from active to passive. I'm open to suggestions on how to better do that. – Phil Sweet Nov 4 '16 at 17:32
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    I think "active" and "passive" are beside the point, or perhaps the wrong concepts for what you're trying to express here. I think what you mean is that the authors of technical reports try to use impersonal and academic language, and often use complex or indirect structures that aren't common in plain writing. Awkward use of the passive voice to avoid first-person pronouns is just one part of this. Nominalization is another; in terms of pure grammar, it's not particularly related to the passive voice. – herisson Nov 4 '16 at 17:42

protected by user140086 Nov 4 '16 at 17:06

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