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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (April 16, 2006)

Making Your Writing Specific!



Advanced Composition classes wrote a description of a place—either a favourite or a disliked one. Using specific words brought their descriptions to life.

Student Examples

The daytime is good, but, at night, there are no lights on the streets, a lot of mosquitoes, the whoop of baboons and the roar of the lions.

In this example we changed "animal noises" to include the sounds of baboons and lions. Note how much more interesting it is to know the specific, African, animals. [teacher comment]

That is the messiest room in my house. When I open the door, I could see their dirty underwear, filthy socks, and stinky shoes were thrown everywhere.

When a simple word will communicate your message, choose it. Do not seek fancy synonyms unless the word is not communicating your message. We changed "clothes" to "dirty underwear, filthy socks, and stinky shoes" and have used parallel structure in our list. [teacher comment]


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