Ready to start your search for the perfect words?
Here are 33 instances where you can opt for descriptive language that reveals your point of view, rather than an obvious choice that doesn’t enhance your writing voice.
It’s not always appropriate to get super detailed, but don’t settle for generic phrases because you’re afraid of excluding people who don’t have the same taste.
The more intimately you get to know each word in your writing, the more confident you can be that your content will make an imprint in your reader’s mind.
You’re hooking your ideal reader on your writing, so they become a part of your audience.
For each descriptive language category below, review how the different examples of compelling words alter a reader’s experience with your text.
Pour over, sparkling espresso, or cold brew?
Earl grey with cream and sugar, yerba maté, or chamomile?
IPA, gin and tonic, or Jack Daniel’s?
San Pellegrino, flat, or Bubly?
Black ballpoint, red felt tip, or mechanical pencil?
Cypress, palm, or sycamore?
Cherry blossom, rose, or daisy?
A-frame cabin, condo, or mansion?
Maine Coon, Pomeranian, or American Pit Bull Terrier?
Desk, bean bag, or bar stool?
Kettlebell, yoga mat, or Peloton?
Mason jar, Champagne flute, or martini glass?
Plastic, paper, or ceramic?
Frosted Flakes, Cheerios, or MUSH Overnight Oats?
Plain Greek, low-fat blueberry, or vanilla soy?
Wagyu beef sliders, patty melt, or Beyond burger?
Warhol, Renaissance, or sacred geometry?
Tealight, taper, or pillar?
Suit, sweats, or shawl?
Drugstore, Sephora, or Yves Saint Laurent?
Antique, vintage, or artisan?
Chanel, Bath & Body Works, or patchouli?
Stainless steel, plastic, or frameless?
Cloth, N95, or bandana neck gaiter?
Casablanca, Psycho, or Fight Club?
Cobra Kai, I Love Lucy, or Battlestar Galactica?
The Beatles, Joy Division, or Public Enemy?
Desktop, laptop, or tablet?
Android, iPhone, or Nokia flip phone?
Ceiling, tower, or bladeless?
Digital, lined notebook, or copy paper?
Taupe walls and windowless cubicles, high ceilings and an open floor plan, or a makeshift workspace on a dining room table?
Alexa, Google, or Siri?
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Reader Comments (3)
Shristi Patni says
Great article, Stefanie! Words have a great impact on your reader and you’ve pointed that out in the best way possible.
Harry Walker says
Great tips. I don’t much get the opportunity to be descriptive with the content I write for the company I work for. It’s an online pharmacy, so we tend to have to be very clinical and to-the-point. Thankfully, though, the introductions are a great place to flex the creative muscles and set the scene nicely.
Neha Pillai says
Back in 2011, I wrote a blog about using unique and descriptive words to help your apartment communities stand out from the competition. In the post, I added a list of what I now refer to as “wow words” that I utilize almost daily when writing ad copy, creating content, dreaming up romance paragraphs, and coming up with a unique list of amenities and features to describe our apartment homes and communities. In addition to descriptive phrases, I’ve included a list of headings/taglines and transitional phrases to amp up your verbiage.
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