Is that “-ness” Really Necessary?
The ending -ness can be added to any adjective and most past participles to create abstract nouns:
Some adjectives, however, already have corresponding nouns that do not end in
-ness. Many beautiful and expressive abstract nouns are falling into disuse because writers and speakers are too quick to use a -ness word.
The word “fatigue,” for example, is being pushed out by “tiredness.” I’ve seen or heard such unnecessary creations as “braveness,” “wiseness,” “poorness,” and “cowardness.”
Next time you need an abstract noun, consider the following correspondences before automatically creating one with -ness.
- efficient /efficiency
- strong /strength
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