Thursday, January 19, 2017

Adjectives--A Writing Exercise

It's a gloomy day here in Kansas, drizzly and light fog. I like to spend time writing on days like this. It's harder to keep glued to the chair when the sun is shining and beckoning me to come out and play outdoors.

Here's a writing exercise for you to try today. We all know that an adjective is a word that describes a noun. Fine. Many writers tend to overuse the handy adjective by using three, or even (gasp) four of them in front of one little noun. It tends to overpower the noun and can even lose it somewhere. Keep it to one or two at the most.

Adjectives enhance the sentence. They tell us a bit more about that person, place or thing--the noun. We want our readers to know more than the word building so we use adjectives to help paint the image for the reader. What do you want your readers to see? Here are a few examples:

A.  The decrepit building stood out among the rest of the renovated area.
B.  The sun-lit building shimmered late in the afternoon.
C.  The faded, dingy building was the last to be razed.
D.  The new office building attracted visitors by the thousands.

Each of these sentences tell you more about the building. Each sentence brings a building of a different kind to mind. Read each sentence without the adjective(s). It's still a perfectly good sentence but the image in your mind is not as clear.

Exercise:  Find two adjectives to go with each noun listed below. Then, create a full sentence. Read it with and without the adjectives. Which do you like best?

  • Example:  boat--battered  tug   The battered tug boat moved slowly toward the harbor for the final time.
  • babies
  • bear
  • house
  • grandfather
  • windmill
  • tank
  • envelope
  • tree
  • roses

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