Descriptive Writing - TeacherWeb by dffhrtcv3



Painting A
With Words
• An effective written description is one
that presents a clear picture to your

• A successful description uses vivid
vocabulary, including colorful adjectives
and figurative language.

• An interesting description attracts the
reader’s attention.
Imagery is the use of
words to create images,
or mental pictures.
Imagery helps you
picture how something:
     * looks
     * sounds
     * smells
     * tastes
     * feels
 Figurative Language
• Simile
  – Comparison using like or as
• Metaphor
  – Comparison using a linking verb
• Personification
  – Making objects that are not alive do human
    actions using ACTION verbs
Painting with Five Basic Brush
 More Descriptive Writing Techniques
               The Appositive

• An appositive is a noun phrase that adds a second
  image to a previous noun, expanding details in the
  reader’s imagination.
• Ø The waterfall, a tilted pitcher, poured the fresh,
  pure spray into the creek.
• Ø There were also dark and stagnant pools, the
  abodes of the tadpole, the bullfrog, and the water
  snake, where the trunks of pines and hemlocks lay
  half drowned, half rotting, looking like alligators
  sleeping in the mire. –Washington Irving
                       The Participle

• Participles, verbals ending in –ed and –ing, evoke action.
• Add participles to sentence beginnings:
    – Ø Hissing, slithering, and coiling, the diamond-scaled snakes attacked
      their prey.
• Add participial phrases to sentence beginnings:
    – Ø Hissing their forked red tongues and coiling their cold bodies, the
      diamond-scaled snakes attacked their prey.
• Add participles & participial phrases throughout a sentence:
    – Ø Shifting the weight of the line to his left shoulder and kneeling
      carefully, he washed his hand in the ocean and held it
      there, submerged, for more than a minute, watching the blood trail away
      and the steady movement of the water against his hand as the boat
      moved. –Ernest Hemingway
                  The Absolute

• Absolutes are two-word combinations—a noun
  and an –ing or –ed verb added onto a sentence.
   – Ø Claws digging, feet kicking, the cat climbed the tree.
• Absolute phrases are formed by adding other
  descriptive detail to the absolute.
   – Ø Feet trembling on the snow-covered rocks, the
     mountain climber edged along the cliff.
• Imagine the comma as a zoom lens focusing in on
  the images:
   – Ø I glanced at my clock, digits glowing florescent blue
     in the inky darkness of my room.
  Adjectives Shifted Out Of Order

• Adjectives placed out of order amplify the details of an
• Adjectives in order before the noun:
   – Ø The large, red-eyed, angry bull moose charged the intruder.
• Adjectives shifted out of order for effect:
   – Ø The large bull moose, red-eyed and angry, charged the intruder.
• Consider the effect of the adjectives in this sentence by Sir
  Arthur Conan Doyle in The Hound of the Baskervilles:
   – Ø And then, suddenly, in the very dead of the night, there came a
     sound to my ears, clear, resonant, and unmistakable.
                    Action Verbs

• Energize your writing by eliminating and
  replacing being (linking) verbs.
   – Being verbs
      • Replace being verbs with more vivid action verbs.
      • Being verb: The gravel road was on the left side of the barn.
      • Action verb: The gravel road curled around the left side of the
      • Try this:
      • The sailor was in the bottom of the boat as it was tossed by the
        jagged gray waves.
      • This creates personification many times!
Read this descriptive introduction from an informational text:

“Dark shapes glide through the night sky on
silent wings, their sinister shadows outlined
against the light of a full moon. Swooping down
to the earth, they hover near houses and deserted
buildings, breaking the peace of the night with
their disturbing presence. Carriers of disease,
drinkers of blood, companions of witches and
demons, bats – the very word brings a shiver of
fear to most people.”
                  ~ Sylvia A. Johnson, Bats
        Description of the Wind
“Anybody could see how cold it got. The wind already
had glass edges to it, stiffening muscles and practically
cutting through the stitches of our clothes. When it
blew, the chill stabbed our teeth like icicles, and our
voices jiggled every time we talked.”
                   From Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida
                        by Victor Martinez
  Things to Remember About
     Descriptive Writing
• Be specific, not vague.
• Elaborate (add more details and expand
your ideas).
• Use vivid vocabulary (strong nouns,
verbs, and adjectives).
• Include details that relate to your five
Baby alpaca and mother

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