In the Structure of Magic I, Bandler and Grinder pointed out how miscommunication can occur because of the difference between what somebody says and what they actually mean.
(In the following paragraph, the words in bold are nominalisations and those in italics are unspecified verbs.)
But people don't even know what they themselves mean, never mind what anybody else means. When people come to some understanding of something, they assign a certain feeling they call understanding to the concepts that let them know they understand it. There are other feelings that let them know how the concepts are connected. Those feelings become a shortcut, a replacement for the original thought process. When people talk, their minds create linguistic output using nominalisations for the concepts and unspecified verbs for those connecting feelings.
Nominalisations are nouns yet they don't refer to objects in the real world.
Unspecified verbs are verbs where the process behind the verb and the subject/object
haven't been specified. Nominalisations are similar, except that the fact
we are even talking about dynamic processes has been hidden.
Despite this ambiguity, we tend to assume we understand somebody's use of common nominalisations and specified verbs. This often leads to impressive miscommunication!
Compare the following nominalisations with their denominalised adverbs. How
does your mind represent the difference in their meaning?
Almost universally, people imagine the nominalised version to be much stiller, whereas the verb involves a lot more movement.
Because of this, anything that people refer to using nominalisations normally remains unchanged in their minds (and bodies - all medical diagnoses are nominalisations). People just don't question them very often.
And because of the vagueness of their understanding, they are also easily
influenced into redefining most aspects of them..
Yet nominalising (in fact the whole process of using ambiguous language) is an essential part of hypnosis, where 1) the hypnotee's conscious mind can be confused trying to work out the meaning of what is being said and 2) their unconscious mind fills in the ambiguity with it's own content.