Pick a key memory from your day. It could be your favorite moment, or just something simple like making a cup of tea in the office. Write it down in the middle of your page. Begin by asking yourself questions that involve each of your senses. What was your friend wearing? What texture was the material? What did your coffee smell like? Could you smell anything else in the cafe, like breakfast cooking?
Jot down everything you remember. How do these details make you feel? Does a particular sound remind you of something or somewhere else? Challenge yourself to get as detailed as possible, and keep a dictionary on hand to add in any new words you might be looking for. In the text box, type out a list of everything you can hear, smell, see, touch and taste in the room around you.
Wordle will automatically create a colorful cloud of descriptive English words that you can print out and use to inspire your writing. These verbs describe actions, such as running, jumping and shouting. Dynamic verbs are crucial to descriptive writing. Now take this example:. Folk stories and fairytales are a great place to find useful English dynamic verbs. These stories are often told in short, simple phrases because they had to be memorable enough to pass on by word of mouth.
Plus, stories that come from oral tradition are usually fast-paced and action-based , which makes them great for this exercise. Pick a well-known folk story from your own language. Write down a basic outline of the story in English.
Now go through and highlight all of the dynamic verbs. How can you vary them to change the pace and mood of the story? The witch laughs and dances around her cauldron while the children cry. The witch cackles and cavorts around her cauldron while the children whimper. Look through some of your older writing. These are opportunities to choose more powerful adjectives so you can describe a lot with fewer words.
However, you should use them in moderation and avoid them in descriptive essays. A word race exercise only takes 15 minutes or so. Choose an adjective that you find yourself overusing and write it in the middle of a piece of paper. Set a timer for five minutes and see how many synonyms you can write around the page. When the time is up, take a different color and use this to add in any other alternatives that you find in the thesaurus.
Imagine you have to sell someone a perfectly normal pen. What sort of powerful descriptive adjectives can you use to make it seem new and extraordinary? This one is trickier than you think, even for native English speakers! If you aim to have some fun with your writing, turning out English essays will soon be far less of a chore than you anticipated. If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials , as you can see here:.
If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it. Figurative language consists of devices like metaphor and simile that use words in non-literal ways to create a memorable effect. Here we have used a simile to compare the park to a face and the trees to facial hair. Another key aspect of descriptive writing is the use of sensory details.
This means referring not only to what something looks like, but also to smell, sound, touch, and taste. Even when your subject is more abstract, you might find a way to incorporate the senses more metaphorically, as in this descriptive essay about fear. Writing descriptively involves choosing your words carefully. The use of effective adjectives is important, but so is your choice of adverbs, verbs, and even nouns.
Try looking over your sentences to find places where a different word would convey your impression more precisely or vividly. Using a thesaurus can help you find alternative word choices. Overuse of a thesaurus can result in ridiculous sentences like this one:. On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house.
The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.
My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters….
Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting. The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept. Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.
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