Become a Writer Today

400 Descriptive Words List to Make Your Writing Shine

Do you want to make your writing more engaging? Check out this descriptive words list with 400 words you can use today.

As you strive to be a more engaging writer, using  descriptive words  can help. It’s easy to overuse these words, but sprinkling them in here and there is a great way to colorize your writing.

Descriptive words are adjectives , which describe nouns and pronouns, or adverbs, which describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Identifying and using these will help you write stronger pieces and descriptive essays .

This descriptive word list is a good place to start. It also pairs nicely with our list of mood words .

Descriptive Words List: 400 Words to Make Your Writing More Colorful

Example sentences using adjectives, common endings for adjectives, list of adverbs in english, example sentences using adverbs, a final word on descriptive words list, what are some good descriptive words, what words describe movement.

Descriptive words list

Descriptive words take writing from boring to engaging. Consider this sentence:

  • She swam across the water.

While this tells you what is happening, it has little to help you imagine the scene. If you add some adjectives and adverbs and transform the statement to this:

  • She swam speedily across the choppy water.

Now you have a better picture of what happened. In order to transform your writing in this way, you need a number of descriptive words at the ready, and this list of descriptive words will help.

List of Descriptive Adjectives in English

Ruins of abandoned factory architecture

Adjectives are the most common type of descriptive words, so first we will look at these. These words describe features like shape, texture, color, and size. They help differentiate between items in a group by calling out distinguishing features.

In  English  grammar, you can use the following to describe nouns and pronouns:

  • Adventurous
  • Accomplished
  • Comfortable
  • Embellished
  • Enthusiastic
  • Everlasting
  • Fashionable
  • Intelligent
  • Quarrelsome
  • Querulous 
  • Questionable
  • Thoughtless
  • Uninterested

This list is not exhaustive, and there are many synonyms and other words that could be added. In addition, all colors are considered adjectives and describing words . Nationalities, like American or English, can also fit this list.

As you work on creating descriptive writing, get used to using these and similar words. You might also find our list of pronouns useful.

To better understand how adjectives look in sentences, consider these examples:

  • The fuzzy red fox jumped over the tall fence. (red, tall)
  • We like to visit the beautiful forest (beautiful)
  • The garden shed feels damp this morning. (garden, damp)
  • The trip to Disney World was magical. (Magical)
  • The beautiful bird sat on the rough branch and sang. (beautiful, rough)
  • The woman is short, but her husband is tall. (short, tall)
  • I prefer cold climates. (cold)
  • The luxurious hotel included soft robes for each guest. (luxurious, soft, each)

Because listing all adjectives in the English language is impossible, knowing their endings is helpful, especially for ESL language learners. Some of the common endings for adjectives include:

If you see a word ending in one of these, and you know it isn’t a noun, chances are high it is an adjective.

The English language also uses adverbs to describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. These descriptive words show intensity, number, and extent. They often end in -ly.

  • Accidentally
  • Aggressively
  • Apathetically
  • Assertively
  • Astronomically
  • Beautifully
  • Begrudgingly
  • Blearily 
  • Deceivingly
  • Deliberately
  • Differently
  • Dramatically
  • Emotionally
  • Exceptionally
  • Frightfully
  • Frenetically
  • Frivolously
  • Hysterically
  • Inquisitively
  • Intelligently
  • Impressively
  • Ludicrously
  • Methodically
  • Mysteriously
  • Neglectfully
  • Obnoxiously
  • Occasionally
  • Pointlessly
  • Significantly
  • Splendidly 
  • Substantially
  • Technically
  • Unexpectedly
  • Victoriously
  • Vitally 
  • Vivaciously
  • Voluntarily

Again, this is not an exhaustive list. As you learn to identify adverbs or use them in your writing, look for words that describe verbs and other descriptive words that end in -ly.

Editing tip: Sometimes adverbs can also serve as filler words that you can remove or use to slow down or speed up a piece.

To better understand how adverbs show up in sentences as descriptive words, consider these examples:

  • The electric car drove so quietly we didn’t hear it coming. (so, quietly)
  • My dog barked angrily at the intruder. (angrily)
  • The girls sang beautifully. (beautifully)
  • He swam across the pool quickly. (quickly)
  • The box is surprisingly heavy for its size. (surprisingly) 
  • The toddler walked very carefully across the slippery floor. (very, carefully)
  • Language learning is incredibly easy for some students, and incredibly hard for others (incredibly)

As you learn how to become a better writer , descriptive language is a big part of the picture. Adjectives and adverbs are the parts of speech that allow you to describe other things vividly. While you can overuse them, they can add color and interest to your writing when used well.

Keep this list of descriptive words handy. When you have a need, pull it out and find one that fits your writing. Whether you’re writing a sentence, a short story, or an entire novel, you’ll find it easier to get descriptive when you have these words on hand.

Check Like this? Check out our list of sensory words .

FAQs on Descriptive Words List

Descriptive words are words that make something easier to identify by describing its characteristics. Some good words that fit this include: Bright Adventurous Jovial Charming Peaceful

Some descriptive words describe the movement of an object. These include: Swiftly Fluidly Gracefully Smoothly Disjointedly

impressive phrases for creative writing

Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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A Backpacker's Tale

500 Descriptive Words To Improve Your Writing

impressive phrases for creative writing

These  descriptive words  will help improve your writing. All these  describing words  are from my own personal notes. I’m an avid, and active, reader, and over the last couple of years I’ve jotted down the descriptive words that I pop out to me.

This list of descriptive words for writing was born from a desire to become enhance my vocabulary and become a better storyteller, and writer. Three things I care a lot about – just a  fun fact about me .

I’ve learned over time – and with many failures – that working with describing words on a page is akin to a potter at the molding wheel. And as writers, we use them to slowly shape our stories whether it’s writing about  driving around the world  or inspiring people to create their own list of  bucket list ideas .

The list is separated by  parts of speech ; You’ll find a list of adjectives, descriptive phrases, action verbs, and more.

At the end are some phrases I like, that I have read here or there over the years. Make sure to check out our  list of descriptive adjectives  as well.

I hope you use this  list of descriptive words , and phrases and garner inspiration to enhance your tales.

500 Describing Words to Improve Your Writing

“This is one of the best resources I’ve come across in a long time…”

Get our Descriptive Word Cheat Sheet for FREE . You’ll get immediate access to our PDF cheat sheet of Descriptive Words. A resource you won’t find elsewhere. Perfect for papers, writing and resumes!

impressive phrases for creative writing

1 – although.

“he was making headway, albeit rather slowly.”

1 – very typical of a certain kind of person or thing.

“the archetypal country doctor”

1 – without purpose or direction.

“Don’t live an aimless life.”

1 – To face or endure danger or pain; showing courage.

The brave healthcare workers are putting their life on the line.

1 – perplexed and confused; very puzzled.

“I had a bewildered look on my face”

1 – giving out or reflecting a lot of light; shining.

The sun was bright in his eyes.

2 – vivid and bold color.

The grass in Ireland is bright green.

1 – Bright or Radiant.

The brilliant light was blinding.

1 – Clever or Smart

He was a brilliant student. He always chose to use the right word.

1 – unlimited, infinite, or immense.

The boundless energy of the kid wore me out.

1 – socially unconventional in a way regarded as characteristic of creative

Running this  travel blog  has led me to live a boho life.

2 – woman’s fashion aesthetic is characterized by flowing print fabrics, layers of clothing, and costume jewelry such as long strings of beads, dangling earrings, and multiple bangles.

she went for the boho look in a floor-length green dress teamed with a fringed  jacket  and chandelier earrings.

1 – hurt by repeated blows or punishment.

he finished the day battered and bruised.

2 – damaged by age or used repeatedly.

I finished the day battered and bruised.

1 – a taste sensation that is peculiarly sharp or acrid.

The bitter fruit tasted terrible.

1 – lacking due thought or consideration

Zack Morris showed a blithe disregard for the rules.

2 – Happy or Lighthearted Character

Want to watch a blithe romantic comedy?

1 – having a blue tinge; somewhat blue.

The bluish tint of the water was stylish.

1 – Lost in deep sadness of thought.

The kid was brooding that his parents wouldn’t buy the toy.

1 – having the characteristic of a baby.

He acted babyish when he lost the game.

1 – not fake; or counterfeit

This is a bona fide masterpiece.

1 – lose or hanging.

My eyes are baggy after a red-eye flight.

1 – loved very dearly.

The teacher was beloved by his students.

1 – a low murmuring or humming sound.

The buzzing bee flew across the park.

1 – strong, or strongly built.

The burly bear was intimidating.

1 – having a lot of bounce.

The trampoline was extra bouncy.

2 – confident or having a jaunty rhythm.

The man was bouncy and full of life.

1 – very apt to stay afloat.

The pool floaty was extremely buoyant.

2 – cheerful.

The buoyant salesman was very charming.

1 – lacking plants or life.

The bleak desert was barren.

2 – Cold and Miserable Outlook.

After his divorce, he had a bleak outlook on life.

1 – expressing or marked by earnest entreaty or pleading.

The beseeching peasant feared for his life.

1 – having the taste of butter.

The buttery bread warmed the soul.

1 – having feelings or actions control or remaining calm.

Even though he was afraid he remained composed.

1 – caverns in either size, shape, or atmosphere.

The cavernous mansion stood empty.

2 – Giving the impression of dark and vast.

The cavernous eyes.

1 – a series of columns set at specific intervals, and supporting a roof.

The ancient marble colonnades are just one reason to explore the  best islands in Greece .

1 – free from worry or anxiety.

he was a carefree soul.

1 – having a rough texture; large grains.

The treated wood was coarse.

1 – anxious to protect or avoid potential danger or mishaps.

he was careful not to get into trouble.

1 – making or liable to make a harsh, high-pitched sound when being moved or when pressure or weight is applied.

“I climbed the creaky stairs”

1 – dirt free, unmarked, or have been washed.

the room was clean.

1 – having a wavy outline

The crenelated coast when  backpacking Thailand  is breathtaking. ..

1 – covered by clouds.

It was too cloudy to go hiking.

1 – present from birth.

“a congenital defect of the heart.”

1 – a striking array of colors.

The colorful painting lit up the room.

1 – rude language.

They didn’t allow the colorful speech to get past the sensors.

1 – Happy / Sprightly

He was chipper after getting  married in Sweden .

1 – rude shortness

The curt manager’s comments angered the waiter.

1 – confused

The chef was confounded by the dinner tickets.

1 – continuing occurrence

I suffer from chronic indigestion.

2 – present and encountered.

Chronic meddling always causes problems.

1 – relating to the community / Collective ownership.

The communal garden gives us great vegetables every year.

1 – huge in size, power, or stupendous.

The colossal rocks blocked the dusty path.

1 – pleasing

Chicago food  has some of the most delectable meals I’ve ever had.

1 – delicate

The dainty glass broke from the fall.

2 – tasty

The dainty sandwich was filling.

1 – untidy in appearance

Boys often have a disheveled room.

1 – devoted to a cause or purpose

Star Wars has dedicated fans.

2 – given a purpose

He has a dedicated server to protect his data.

1 – awarded or received marks of honor.

He was decorated with a medal for winning the race.

2 – furnished with something ornamental

A hallmark of the parade are the decorated floats.

1 – chosen but not yet installed

the ambassador designates the future assignments.

He has a designated server to protect his data.

1 – bright, brilliant, or showy, colorful, and impressive.

The dazzling fireworks were the highlight of the festival.

1 – eating food quickly.

The Lion is a devouring beast.

2 – destructively consuming/absorbing

Don’t let devouring loneliness defeat you.

1 – below / far from the surface

His joy was buried deep below the surface of an ocean of swirling emotions.


1- Having a great deal of money; being wealthy.

The deep-pocketed businessman donated a large sum of money to the charity. 


1- Having a disposition that is not pleasant or agreeable; disagreeable behavior or remarks.

“I’m sorry I was so disagreeable earlier. I had a really bad day.” 


1 – fallen into decay or deteriorated

The dilapidated home needed an intense amount of love and care.

1 – serving for ornamental decoration.

The decorative replica was made to be displayed. And invoked a strong emotion.

1 – moving from the common direction.

Do follow the popular path. Instead, go into the unknown, and discover your divergent path.


1 – Showing concern and sympathy for others, especially those in distress.

When I saw the homeless man on the side of the road, I felt compassion for him and wished I could help him. 


1 – A movie that is enjoyable and amusing.

The new comedy starring Melissa McCarthy was very entertaining. 

1 – hard to pin down, identify, or isolate.

They knew the elusive thief lurked nearby.

1 – enthusiastic joy

They were exuberant about their upcoming trip to some of the  most beautiful places in the world .

1 – vertical position

Few erect columns were peppered throughout the temple ruins.

1 – having the ability to expand.

The expansive landscape is seemingly never-ending.

1 – deriving style, ideas, and taste from a wide range of sources.

The eclectic mix of opinions caused an argument.


1 – cause a strong feeling of annoyance

The planes exasperating delay made everyone late.

1 – fully detailed or well planned.

The elaborate design of Bangkok’s royal palace is breathtaking.

1 – uttered, or emphasizing on.

The emphatic refusal helped them close the deal.

1 – productive / desired effects.

The efficient writer finished before the deadline.

2 – being involved or an immediate agent.

The efficient action helped make a change.


1 – go deeper

He had an ever-deepening love for sports.

1 – thorough / all possibilities

The exhaustive to-do list was intimidating.

1 – seemingly without end

The endless forest instilled a mood of tranquility.


1 – exceeding normal limits or excessively elaborate

The extravagant building is grand.

2 – extremely high in price

The extravagant purchase maxed out his credit card purchase.

1 – elegance

The elegant clothes belonged to the king.

1 – relating to or named after

The eponymous landscape outside Dingle is one of the  best places to visit in Ireland .

1 – relating to a celebration,  festival , or feast.

The festive dinner got a little out of hand.

1 – tinged with red in the face, from shame, heat, or physical exertion.

Caught in a lie, his face became flushed with embarrassment.

1 – very hot or passionate desire.

I have a fervent desire to explore the world.


1 – moving quickly

The fast-moving current washed away our supplies.


1 – based on fantasy

Game of Thrones takes place in a fantastical world, filled with dragons, and magic.

1 – unrestrained violence or brutality

The ferocious lion hunted his prey.

1 – having to do with the burial.

They found treasure in the Pharaoh’s funerary chamber.

1 – focused on something.

The dog was fixated on the squirrel.

1 – loving having fun.

The fun-loving locals love putting on their annual festival.

1 – covered with grass

The grassy knolls are stunning.

1 – a large number of

He had charm galore.

1 – repulsion, or inspiring horror.

The movie was too gruesome for me.

1 – possessing glory

When  backpacking New Zealand  you see glorious landscapes. 


1 – Very good-looking, or beautiful. Can be used to describe people, things, or places. For example, “She is a glorious sight in that dress.” 

1 – painful or distressing

It was a harrowing adventure filled with an unexpected twists, turns, and sacrifices.

1 – an unrestrained expression

I was greeted with a hearty welcome.

2 – wholesome or substantial

I enjoyed the hearty meal.

1 – relating to an herb

Those herbaceous florae were savory.

1 – alone

He was isolated during the exam.


1 – not tolerable or unbearable

The intolerable noise kept me up all night.

1 – picturesque or pleasing

The idyllic Irish landscapes are some of the best in Europe.

1 – great in size or degree

Our immense Universe is without limits.

1 – extreme degree

The intense amount of work was overbearing.

1 – irk or tedious

Sometimes we all have to do Irksome tasks.

1 – prone to act, acting momentarily

To lose weight sometimes we have to deny our impulses for bad food.

1 – tempting

The inviting meal made my mouth water.

1 – existing in, or belonging to

The innate behavior of a child was to cause trouble.

1 – memorable or cannot be washed away or erased.

The indelible landscape means there are hundreds of  places to visit in the United States .


1 – the feeling of extreme anger.

The infuriating delay at the airport made him miss his flight.

1 – spotless / extremely clean

Singapore is an immaculately clean country.

2 – having no flaw

The glass in Venice is immaculate.

1 – having many complex parts

Mona Lisa is an intricate painting. Making it the most famous in the world.

1 – belonging to the inside,

I great battles happen inside the interior of our minds.

1 – sprightly

he took a jaunty stroll through the park.

1 – having a disorienting effect

The jarring truth is that dreams without goals, remain dreams.

1 – ready, or in favor of

I am keen to go to the bar.

2 – sensitive perception

He had a keen nose.

1 – having lungs

The lunged fish swan in the pond.

1 – transparent or clear; Glasslike

The limpid waters in Thailand or famed around the world.

1 – expending or bestowing excess

The lavish palace of Versailles is one of the most popular  day trips from Paris .

1 – outlandish, or eccentric

Some ludicrous movies aren’t bad.

1 – filled with desire or lust

She was filled with lascivious thoughts.

1 – lack of interest, or energy

His listless attitude held him back in life.

1 – sad or lonely

Ah, the lonesome road, has many trails, but many rewards.

1 – highly significant, outstanding

The monumental task can be accomplished by taking little steps every day.

1 – expressing sadness

A melancholy nature will keep you stuck.


1 – deserving reward or praise.

A meritorious life of service.

1 – intrusive or getting involved in

The meddlesome raccoon knocked over the trash can.

1 – Huge, exceedingly large

Many of the mammoth  caves in the United States  are worth visiting.

1 – existing today

Many modern-day advances give our lives ease.

1 – inferior in size or degree

The minor problems in life or nothing to sweat over –  life is too short .

1 – covered by mist.

The heavy air of the misty morning endowed the park with an eerie coolness.

1 – covered by mystery

The monk has a mysterious nature.


1 – not where it should be

The restaurant felt out of place.

1 – elaborate or excessively decorated

The ornate .ruins draw in visitors.


1 – standing out

His outstanding skills put him in line for a promotion.

2 – unpaid

Outstanding bills can be stressful.

1 – lack of sharpness

His obtuse answer made no sense.

1 – lacking remembrance, or memory

Don’t be oblivious to the opportunities that life presents you.

1 – wealth, abundance

The opulent hotel is worth the price tag.

1 – characteristic of a person

His hot temper was peculiar.

2 – different from the normal

The book had a particular plot twist in the book.

1 – not spoiled, or corrupted

The pristine beaches had soft sand.

2 – earliest state

The pristine state of the forest

1 – a sense of peace

The peaceful forest instilled a peace of tranquility.

1 – argumentative quarrelsome

He has a pugnacious nature.

1 – mental and emotional state of fear

Don’t panic. Breathe and slow down.

1 – able to be passed

The currents were passable during the low tide.

1 – turning, a pivot

Taking my first trip to Ireland was a pivotal moment in my life.

1 – critical

It was a pivotal piece of the puzzle.

1 – polishing, smooth, glossy

Polish your writing before publishing the piece.

1 – by or in itself

That’s not the facts per se, but valuable to know.

1 – notably luxurious or rich

His plush life made him soft.

1 – elevated or arrogant

The pompous rhetoric is hurtful.

2- exhibiting an air of self-importance.

The pompous politician lost sight of his vision.

1 – extreme or severe

After rigorous training, he was ready to test himself.


1 – When something is so funny that it causes one’s sides to split, it is side-splitting.

My mom’s joke was sidesplittingly funny.

1 – like thunder

The thunderous roar of the waves beating along the coast.


These are some of the best words. They are great when wanting to show a clear meaning of a sentence or improve a short story.

1- regard something as being caused by.

I attribute my grammar skill to how many questions I ask.

1 – provide clear evidence; declare that something exist.

I attest that life is good

1 – make minor changes.

I had to amend your application before sending it in.

1 – regard (an object, quality, or person) with respect or warm approval.

I admire your commitment to learning the English Language.

1 – praise enthusiastically

I acclaimed actor won the best actor for his deep performance.

1 – achieve or complete successfully.

I accomplish my goals.

1 – increase in sound

They amplify the sound at the concert.

2 – make copies of something

The notes amplify that new evidence. ..

1 – change, or make changes too

They altered the rules of the game.

1 – (of a problem, opportunity, or situation) emerge; become apparent.

“a string of new difficulties have arisen “

2 – get or stand up.

“he arose at 5:30 to work out.”

1 – to clear out or save (Usually water from a boat)

They bailed him out of trouble.

1 – talk enthusiastically for a long time

Just one of the many  fun facts about me . Sometimes I like to babble about travel.

1 – to set upon

We were beset with locals trying to make a sale.

2 – to set with ornaments

The roses are beset with thrones.

1 – fail to give a true notion or impression of (something); disguise or contradict.

I newspaper story belied the facts.

2 – fail to fulfill or justify (a claim or expectation); betray.

The notebooks belie Darwin’s later recollection.

1 – hit repeatedly with blows.

He battered the broken car.

1 – become perplexed.

I was bewildered by the lack of work the team had done.

1 – bend the head or upper part of the body as a sign of respect, greeting, or shame.

It is common to bow in Asia.

2 – play (a stringed instrument or music) using a bow.

The techniques by which the pieces were bowed.

1 – think deeply about something that makes the person unhappy.

He brooded over his bad day.

1 – encourage or help

I need to boost my spirits.

2 – push from below

She needs to boost to master the English Language.

1 – cast a spell or enchant.

I was bewitched by the lush landscape.

1 – low murmuring or humming sound.

Flies buzz when they fly.

1 – lock with a bar that slides into a socket.

He bolted the door for protection.

2 – ran away quickly.

He bolted down the street.

1 – strike hard.

He bashed the wall in anger.

2 – criticize.

He bashed the smoking industry.

1 – break or burst

They bust the water balloon.

2 – lose something

He went bust at the poker table…

1 – squeeze together

Compress the laptop’s file to save space.

1 – to bring to an end.

The summit concluded with world peace.

2 – to reach a logical end or decision.

The magazine concludes that Rome is one of the  most beautiful cities in the world .

He concluded his college application with a question.

1 – unmarked, free dirt

He cleaned the room every other week.

1 – fall or hang in copious or luxuriant quantities.

“the cool water cascading down the waterfall.”

1 – decrease in size, number, or range.

“glass contracts as it cools.”

2 – become shorter and tighter to affect the movement of part of the body.

“The heart is a muscle that contracts about seventy times a minute”

1 – wind into rings

The sailor coiled the rope.

1 – to cover something

Massive trees canopied the small island.

1 – to form short bends or ripples / Wrinkle

Don’t crinkle my shirt.

2 – a think crackling sound

The crinkling bag woke up the dog.

1 – chuckle or laugh

He chortled with amusement.

2 – sing or chant

She chortled in her happiness.

1 – broken into small parts.

The  Greek Islands  are filled with crumbling ruins.

1 – beg or sponge

He cadges for a free cup of coffee.

1 – sharp, quick, repeated noises

The crackling fire.

1 – to dig and bring to light.

Don’t dredge up those painful memories.

1 – travel somewhere in a hurry

I dashed through the forest.

2 – strike, or destroy

The ship was dashed upon the rocks.

She dashed his spirits.

1 – cause (someone) to feel consternation and distress.

A deep  feeling  of dismay overtook the room.

1 – greatly astonish or amaze

I’m often dumbfounded after watching the task force meetings.

1 – eat / destroy / adsorb quickly

I want to devour the big meal.

2 – read eagerly

Amy always devours a good book.

1 – make (someone’s) clothes or hair messy.

Boris Johnson disheveled his hair before being on camera.

1 – to lessen the courage of

A lesser man would be daunted by this challenge.

1 – to set apart for a purpose. to distinguish as a class

We designate this room as the class lab.

2 – to point out a location

A marker designating where the trial starts.

1 – to feel aversion to (Offend)

His distaste for the joke was apparent.

1 – to dig

Suspicion led him to delve into his wife’s bag.

1 – to search for information

He delved into the past to find the problem.

1 – to get carried along (by water, air, etc)

The windy drift pushed the hot air balloon to the west.

1 – a pile of something in heaps

Snow drifts covered the landscape.

1 – to stray or move from a principle, standard, or topic.

Don’t deviate from your goals. Stayed focused even when life is tough.

1 – to cause annoyance or irritation

I hope you’re not exasperated by this list of descriptive words.

1 – Set up / to fix/put together in an upright position

The father and son erected the tree house.

1 – to become known,

Jane emerged from her travels a most well-rounded person.

1 – To make it ornamental or make it more attractive.

Frank embellished his life story to impress his date.

1 – to furnish / to provide with

I’m endowed with a  good sense of humor .

1 – allure or tempt

He was enticed by the smell of the chocolate.

1 – eliminate by wearing away surface

The rocks are effaced by wear and tear.

1 – rot slowly

Don’t let your anger fester about your tough English test.

1 – steal secretly

He filches the cookie from the jar.

1 – give a false appearance

The company feigned how bad his leg hurt.

1 – containing frescoes

The frescoed walls of the chapel inspired my love of art.

1 – to pass quickly or shift

The chortling birds flitted around the forest.

1 – to flow in an irregular current

The stream gurgling stream swept over the rocks.

2 – ta gurgling sound

The gurgling stream blocked the path.

1 – to gather,

Tim garnered his courage before presenting his  essay  to his teachers.

1 – move quickly

He hastened his journey home.

1 – lift or raise by tackle

Hoist the flag.

1 – lift or raise or pull

He heaved the trunk onto the oak table.

1 – a harmful or disquieting occurrence

The past mistakes haunted him.

2 – to visit often to seek the company of

I spend a lot of time haunting the bookstore.

1 – cross one with another.

The intertwined vines were impassable.

1 – place a body in a tomb or grave

The king was interred with all the honor due him.

1 – weave.

It’s dangerous to interweave lies and the truth.

1 – to make, irritated, or weary

He was irked trying to learn all the  English grammar  rules.

1 – endow or influence

He imbued the spirit of the old times.


1 – spaced in intervals

The interspersed paintings covered the east wing.

1 – sharp uneven surface

The jagged mountains dotted the horizon.

1 – come into contact or pushing

The jostling crowd flooded to the door.

2 – vying for a position.

The workers began to jostle for the new job.

1 – expend or bestow

His lavish habits cost him a lot of money.

1 – slow parting

The effects lingered long after it was over.

1 – take a large shape or an impending occurrence

The  teacher  loomed over the  student  to make sure he wasn’t cheating.

1 – an area to stop

Lay-by the dock the ship tied up.

1 – utter barely audible sounds in a low voice.

He muttered to himself about his workload.

1 – hypnotizing

The mesmerizing beauty of the  best islands in Croatia  is not easily forgotten.

1 – settle snugly

A small town nestled among the mountains.

1 – grab or catch

He nabbed the best spot in the class for the  English lesson .

1 – a slow trickle, to seep out of something

The oozing gunk stained the floor.

1 – exiled

He was ostracized after his betrayal was made public.

1 – to peer through / to look furtively.

Don’t peek around the corner.

1 – to go deep into, or thrust into something.

I plunged into the task of self-development.

1 – landscape with a level surface, and little change

He wandered the plateau looking for his lost wallet.

1 – search for information.

His friend probed him with questions about the girl.

1 – sprinkled throughout

The olive trees peppered the Greek countryside.

1 – work laboriously

The book plodded along slowly.

1 – soaked in

The city was steeped in charm.

1 – a loud sharp noise

He shirked when he thought he saw a ghost.

1 – to spread without restraint

The sprawling landscape of the desert is one of the best  things to do in Tucson .

1 – fill with things or with satiety

He was stuffed after Thanksgiving dinner.

1 – feeling to do something (usually wrong)

He was tempted to eat the candy.


1 – Suddenly or Unexpectedly.

The car stopped abruptly.

2 – In a rude manner.

His mom abruptly cut him off.

3 – Steep

The hill ascends abruptly.


1- Without enthusiasm or interest.

She played with the dog apathetically, barely looking at it. 


1 – extra factor or circumstance.

brokers finance themselves additionally by short-term borrowing.

2 – used to introduce a new fact or argument.

Additionally, the regulations require a clean environment.


1 – one after the other or next

Alternately, don’t give up when things get hard.


begrudgingly (adverb) – unwillingly; reluctantly 

I begrudgingly gave him my number.


1- done or planned with care and intention

The mother deliberately left the child in the car while she went into the store. 


1. in a dramatic manner

The actress dramatically read the lines from the script. 


1 – being effective or in effect

John effectively finished his to-do list before stopping for the day.

1 – evident or provide evidence

He was evidently born in Ohio.

1 – expert in something

He expertly navigated his way through the maze of alleyways.


1 – strikingly unusual or different; remarkable

This painting is extraordinary! 


1 – what precedes

Furthermore, people should travel more.

1 – a gloomy or somber

He grimly walked to see his boos.

1 – a sinister character

The dark figure had a grimly stance that shadows seemed to cling to.


1- Inquisitively is defined as in a curious or questioning manner. 

Looking inquisitively at someone means looking at them in a way that suggests you want to know more about them. For example, you may be staring intently at their face as if you are trying to read their thoughts. 


1 – In an intelligent way

The mother cat was intelligently trying to get her kitten out from under the car. 

1 – to a great degree

The immensely talented writer self-published his book.


1 – intentional manner or awareness

He intentionally arrived at the airport early.

1 – intense

He intensely focused on the problem at hand.


1 – from impulse

He impulsively got up early every morning.

He invitingly offered me a free drink.


1 – extreme anger

Moving to my wife in Sweden is an infuriatingly slow process.

1 – born or existing in.

He innately loved filling his head with quotes about adventure.

1 – lasting or unforgettable cannot be removed.

The indelibly hued landscape when  backpacking Italy  changed my life.


1 – complex with many parts

The intricately designed plot has levels of detail.

1 – eager or intense

They are keenly attuned to your bad behavior.

1 – clear; glassiness

The limpidly rushing water of the cascading waterfall.


1 – meriting laughter or exaggeration

He ludicrously lost his wallet.

Synonym for Richly or Grandly

1 – marked by excess

The lavishly decorated crown marked him as king.


1 – In a precise and orderly way.

The scientist methodically recorded the data. 


1 – large, or to an extreme degree

He monumentally failed in his task.

1 – without doubt

The claims were patently false.

1 – peace or tranquility

he peacefully listened to the sounds of birds singing outside his window.

1 – strict

He rigorously worked at his craft every day.


1 – romantic

He was romantically involved with her.


1 – the process of absorbing.

The absorption of the spilled water.

2 – The whole occupation of the mind.

The absorption of my work overtakes every other desire.

1 – strong desire to do or to achieve something which takes hard work.

People trying to improve their skills with this list of descriptive words for  writing  have a lot of ambition.

2 – determination to achieve success.

life offers many opportunities for those with ambition.

1 – a large quantity of something.

I have an abundance of ambition.

2 – The condition of having a copious quantity of something; bountifulness.

The vineyard has an abundance of grapes.

1 – a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime.

“He’s a wine aficionado.”

1 – a dark volcanic rock that displays a columnar structure and is made of fine-grained.

The fertile soil was made of decomposed basalt.

1 – something of monstrous size

That’s a behemoth-sized lion.

1 – a person who is socially unconventional in a way regarded as characteristic of creative artists; a bohemian.

The town bohos opened an art gallery.

1 – an increase

A boost in the economy.

1 – a room or pantry used for storing wine or hard liquor.

Can you grab the wine out of the buttery?

1 – a beer that has a strong hop taste; or liquor with the sharp taste of plant extracts.

What bitters do you have on tap?

1 – a combination of qualities of color, such as shape, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.

“I was struck by her beauty .”

Synonym  for Rock or Stone

1 – a large rock, mostly worn smooth by years of erosion.

The boulder blocked the path.

1 – move quickly.

He buzzed through these descriptive words.

1 – Irish name for a beehive hut.

The ruins of a clochán sat on the other side of the field.

1 – a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law.

“both parties must sign employment contracts “

1 – a mass of something that falls or hangs in copious or luxuriant quantities.

“A cascade of pink bougainvillea.”

2 – a large number or amount of something occurring or arriving in rapid succession.

“a cascade of antiwar literature”

1 – an ornamental decoration at the ridge of a roof or top of a wall or screen.

High on the roof was a cresting decoration.

1 – Someone who chips

The chipper was hard at working cutting down the tree.

1 – one delegated by a superior to execute a duty or an office

The commissary was tasked with finding a cure.

1 – a series of loops

The coil of pumps was confusing.

2 – everyday troubles

Sometimes we all need to shrug off the coils of the workday.

1 – any of an order (Coniferales) of mostly evergreen trees and shrubs having usually needle-shaped or scalelike leaves like pine, cones, and arillate fruit.

The group of conifer trees took over the forest.

1 – to create

Christians believe in the creation story.

1 – an agreement or promise / attached to someone or something

I have a commitment to my wife.

1 – a cover carried above by a person of rank / or a cloth suspended

The canopy covered the diners on the patio.

1 – a heap of stones in a heap. Usually a landmark or memorial. Typically on a hilltop or skyline.

The stony cairn marked the way back.


1- Colorful Having many different colors. The sunset was so colorful.

Loyalty is one of his best characteristics

1 – something to eat considered rare and luxurious

What is your favorite delicacy in Italy?

2 – the quality or state of being dainty of someone or something

Spiderwebs have a delicacy.

1 – to flow along

To drift through life is sad.

2 – an underlying meaning or design.

The spy understood the drift of his orders.

1 – dislike food or drink

Many have a distaste for mushrooms.

1 – representation in images or  describing words  depicting something or someone.

The depiction of the movie wasn’t congruent with the book.

1 – a deep place or state of being

The depths of our abilities remain unknown until we push for greatness.

1 – an arrangement, or state of being engaged

Social engagement took most of my day.

1 – a massive structure

The social edifice holds together certain rules.

plural noun

1 – city districts / or surroundings in your space or vicinity

The crystal environs of the waterfalls.

1 – a public showcase

The art exhibition was a success.

1 – a high position of superiority, Commanding or in a profession.

His eminence in the film made him a legend.

1 – refined taste, dignified gracefulness

The novel had an air of elegance and wit.


1 – a state of exasperated or exasperating someone/feeling irritation

He was exasperated after working all day.

1 – the act of representing a medium

I don’t understand the expression that artists are trying to achieve.


1 – point of attention.

The focal point of this blog post is  describing words  that help others master descriptive  writing .

1 – an embarrassing mistake or error.

Interpreting someone is considered a social faux pas.

1 – the front of the building

The store’s facade was highly decorated.

1 – a false, or fake appearance

His friends saw through his thinly veiled facade.

A love this descriptive word.

1 – a boisterous and loud burst of laughter.

The joke caused a guffaw in the room.

1 – enthusiastic and filled with joy.

1 – a gloomy or somber outlook

He had a grim disposition on life.

The grim tale left me afraid.

1 – the quality or current state

The grandeur of ancient Rome inspired our world.

1 – grand

Many of the  best places to visit in Europe  are grand in design, scope, and scale.

1 – strong wind

The gust of wind caused the bike to tip over.

1 – an outburst of feeling

He had a gust of energy that came with the good news.

1 – either side of an arch.

The dog loves to have his back haunches scratched.

1 – a great number

A host of ants took over the picnic.

1 – something to indicate

He gave the indication that he was going to travel this summer.

1 – a stage or exception

In this instance, we all need to be quiet.

2 – example

For instance, pasta tastes better in Italy.

1 – inside limits or inner constitution

Travelers loved the lavish interior of the modern-day art gallery.

1 – limestone land or limestone plateau

The karst lands were filled with sinkholes and caverns.

1 – a plant organism made up of alge

Working the lichen spotted lake held a natural charm rarely found.

1 – machine for interlacing

Working the loom is hard and painful.

1 – soil made of silt, sand, and clay.

The loam ground was hard to walk.


1 – a self-service laundry

The launderette was packed with others.

1 – causing wonder and astonishment

Abu Simbel, in Egypt, is a marvel to behold.

1 – a great number of

This myriad  list  of descriptive words is very helpful – like our list of descriptive words for personality -.

1 – middle of the day

The midday meal made him want a nap.

1 – a single massive stone in a column or obelisk

Monoliths pepper the old landscape.

1 – a single massive stone in a column or obelisk from prehistoric origin.

The Menhir’s of Stonehenge tower over all who stand before it.


1 – one who lives in a metropolis

The metropolitan knew the city backward and forwards.

1 – wealth and Abundance

The opulence of the Blue Mosque makes it one of the  best things to do in Turkey .

1 – of an unusual size

The outsize bed wouldn’t fit.

1 – a dirty slovenly place

Clean up this pigpen of a room.

1 – the quality of excitement or attractive

He was charming and had a large amount of pizzazz.

1 – an earnest entreaty

They plead for another helping of mashed potatoes.

1 – a bar something is hung on

The bird sat on the perch.

1 – a medical instrument for exploring

The doctor used a probe to discover what was wrong.

1 – a person despised or rejected

The thief was treated as a pariah.

1 – chasing after

Our pursuits define our lives.

1 – contradictory phases or conclusions.

Life is full of many a paradox.

1 – state of fear

Don’t panic about your writing . Just learn more descriptive words that will improve your writing.

1 – a close inspection; under a microscope

His paper was under a lot of scrutiny.

1 – riot or commotion

Tumult uprisings are a big part of history.

2 – loud noise

a tumult of noise kept me from sleeping.

1 – tiles

The tiling walls were stunning.



1 – surrounded by; in the middle of

He walked amid the rolling hills and lush landscape.

2 – in an atmosphere or against a background of.

Mid accusations of cheating the student were suspended.


Here are a lot of describing words that I’ve picked up from various books, and blog posts. I fell in love with this word list. And are great for adding detail.

Pro tip:  The  describing words  are all around you. Listen to how people use descriptive language in your favorite movies, tv shows, and podcast. Try to find describing words in the things you read. The  lesson  you are looking for and the right words are all around you! You just have to look for the lesson to find the best describing word.


1 – one of the vast treeless tracts in Europe and Asia.

The arid steppe of Mongolia is famous around the world.


1- Waves crashing on the coast.

The Atlantic swells crashed against the crenelated coast.


1 – sad terrain, a  phrase to describe  mountain ranges.

The brooding summits, covered in clouds, look like a storm is coming.


1 – not aware of or using the latest ideas or techniques; out of date.

When it came to tech, he was behind the times.


1 – a good description to describe a still lake. Or a phrase lake on a nice day.

The crystalline lake boasted the perfect space to camp.


1 – a castle falling apart.

Ireland’s peppered with crumbling castles.


1 – descriptive of a scenic mountain range.

The cresting mountains of New Zealand are unforgettable.


1 – getting deeper

The ever-deepening snow made the terrain impassable.


The historical significance of Rome echoes even until today.


The infinite hills of New Zealand lure thousands of visitors a year. This is one of my favorite descriptive phrases.


1 – cold waves

The icy rollers of the Atlantic Ocean beat along the coast.


The indelibly wild forest of Peru.


1 – landscape similar to that on the moon

The Lunar-scaped beaches on Milos, put it high on many travelers’  lists of Greek Islands  to visit.


The long-forgotten castle has centuries of neglect.

A great  descriptive word  for the forest!

1 – covered by moss

The moss-clad rocks sat along the stream.


The hundreds of workers wasted their lives in modern high-rise skyscrapers.

Descriptive Words for Food

1 – having a pleasing smell

1 – having a brittle texture and a dry, brittle sound when broken


1 – having a brittle texture and a crisp, crackling sound when broken

1 – having a strong, satisfying flavor

1 – having a pleasing, sugary flavor

1 -having a sour, acidic taste


1 – having a salty, savory flavor

1 – not having a strong or distinctive flavor

 1 – having a hot, pungent flavor

1 – having a lot of flavors 

1 – something that tastes extremely good 

1- providing the body with essential nutrients 

1 – making someone want to eat something 


1 – extremely delicious and appetizing 

1 – a sweet liquid produced by flowers and used as a drink or in cooking 

1 – producing an excessive flow of saliva 

1 – of or relating to the sense of taste 

1 – arousing or tempting the appetite 

1 – having an extremely pleasing taste 

1 – delightfully beautiful or elegant 

1 – extremely luxurious and expensive 


1 – brilliantly sparkling 

1 – strikingly unusual or different 

1 – restoring or invigorating 

1 – promoting good health

1 – energetically alive and vigorous 

1 – pleasantly firm and fresh 

1 -full of juice 

1 – having a strong, distinctive taste 


1- so delicious as to make the mouth water 

1 – easily broken or chewed and having a delicate, pleasing texture 

Descriptive Words for Trees

Words to describe trees is one of the most requested updates for this post. So I have updated the list with a bunch of tree descriptive words. I hope you enjoy it! 

  • massive 
  • towering 
  • gigantic 
  • enormous 

Descriptive Words in Spanish

  • ágil – agile
  • bello – beautiful
  • brillante – brilliant
  • cálido – warm
  • claro – clear
  • colorido – colorful
  • cortés – courteous
  • curioso – curious
  • dulce – sweet
  • enérgico – energetic
  • fresco – fresh
  • gentil – gentle
  • inteligente – intelligent
  • joven – young
  • ligero – light
  • lindo – pretty
  • maduro – mature
  • maravilloso – marvelous
  • nervioso – nervous
  • optimista – optimistic
  • pacífico – peaceful
  • perezoso – lazy
  • romántico – romantic
  • sensible – sensible
  • serio – serious
  • simpático – likable
  • triste – sad
  • vibrante – vibrant 


Here are some words to describe the positive qualities of people’s personalities. And using words like this to showcase a  personality  can connect those feeling with your readers.

affectionate – readily feeling or showing fondness or tenderness.

Agile – able to move quickly and easily.

Altruistic – showing a disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others; unselfish.

amiable – having or displaying a friendly and pleasant manner.

bright – giving out or reflecting much light; shining. – A very common descriptive phrase.

Bonza – excellent; first-rate.

charming – very pleasant or attractive.

Conscientious – wishing to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly

imaginative – having or showing creativity or inventiveness.

List of Common Adjectives

These are great for common adjectives that can be used for anything from a descriptive phrase, descriptive writing, or a cover letter. 











What are attributive adjectives?

These are words to can be placed inside a sentence that can modify a person or a thing. These  different adjective  are only used before nouns.

Example Sentence:  The tender steak made my mouth water.



Face-to-face vicious

adjective for thick vines

  • coiling, twisting, writhing
  • constricting
  • claustrophobic 


What are multiple adjectives?

Sometimes called paired adjectives. This is using more than one word to describe a noun.

Almost an adjective can be multiple adjectives if it can be paired together with other describing words to describe a noun. The key is to put them in the right order.

But here are some common ones.

Example Sentence:  The thick, dense college application seemed daunting.

Smart, energetic

Small, round

Short, Fast

Pretty Little


Similar to paired adjectives,  Coordinate adjectives

are two – or maybe even more – adjectives that describe the same noun. They are separated by a common.


Positive words are a great way to make your readers feel something about a character, place, or object. Positive words of descriptive are powerful.

Example: He was brave enough to use a new word to showcase his skill in front of the class.







descriptive words starting with m


impressively beautiful, elaborate or striking

Example: The view from the top of the mountain was simply magnificent.

given to unpredictable changes in mood or feelings

Example: He was in a moody state after his fight with his girlfriend.


feeling or expressing a deep sadness or gloominess

Example: The melancholic music helped me release my emotions.


Playful or causing trouble in a playful way Example: The mischievous child kept on playing pranks on his siblings.

difficult or impossible to understand or explain

Example: The disappearance of the man is still a mysterious case to this day.

having or showing impressive beauty or dignity

Example: The Taj Mahal is a majestic work of art.

having a smooth, rich, or full flavor or personality

Example: The mellow sound of the saxophone helped me relax.

relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past

Example: The modern technology we have today has made life easier.


generous or forgiving, especially towards a rival or less powerful person

Example: Despite losing the game, he still remained magnanimous and congratulated the winning team.

unassuming or moderate in size, quantity, or importance

Example: She is a modest person who never seeks attention.

Descriptive Words Starting With N

feeling or showing anxiety or worry.

Example: I’m nervous about my upcoming job interview.

having or showing high moral principles or ideals.

Example: He was a noble man who always put others before himself.

making a lot of sound, often in an unpleasant or disruptive way.

Example: The party next door was very noisy and kept us up all night.

existing or occurring as part of nature; not artificial or man-made.

Example: The park was a beautiful natural oasis in the middle of the city.

clean, orderly, and well-organized.

Example: His desk was always so neat and tidy.

pleasingly stylish or clever; neat or attractive.

Example: The nifty new gadget made my life easier.

quick and light in movement or action.

Example: The nimble cat easily caught the mouse.

feeling a sentimental longing for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Example: Looking at old family photos made her feel nostalgic for her childhood.

providing nourishment or food that is essential for health and growth.

Example: The salad was full of nutritious vegetables and healthy fats.

worthy of attention or notice; remarkable.

Example: His notable achievements in the field of science made him a household name.

descriptive words of a leader and Leadership Skills

Here are some great descriptive words that are great for describing effective leaders, passionate leaders, and other leadership qualities.  


Having a compelling charm or appeal that inspires devotion in others.

Example: His charismatic personality made him a great public speaker. And a successful leaders. 

having or showing a powerful imagination and the ability to think about or plan the future with wisdom or foresight.

Example: Steve Jobs was a visionary who revolutionized the technology industry. And held many leadership roles throughout his life. 

Feeling or showing self-assurance; having faith in oneself and one’s abilities.

Example: A confident leader can inspire confidence in others. Which makes him a true leader. 

Settling an issue; producing a definite result.

Example: A decisive leader is able to make tough decisions when necessary.

Having the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

Example: An empathetic leader is able to connect with and inspire their team. Which makes them effective leaders. 

Relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.

Example: A strategic leader is able to plan and execute successful business strategies.


providing inspiration or motivation to others; uplifting and motivating.

Example: An inspirational leader can inspire their team to achieve great things. And allows him to be a true leader. 


deserving of trust or confidence; reliable.

Example: A trustworthy leader is one who can be relied upon to keep their promises.

able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.

Example: A resilient leader is able to bounce back from setbacks and continue to lead effectively.

having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance.

Example: A humble leader is able to put the needs of others ahead of their own and lead with integrity. And a true leader is humble, and it’s a sign of effective leadership. 


What are the different kinds of adjectives.

There are several kinds of adjectives, including descriptive adjectives, limiting adjectives, proper adjectives, demonstrative adjectives, interrogative adjectives, and distributive adjectives.

Descriptive adjectives describe the qualities of a noun or pronoun, such as “blue,” “soft,” or “happy.”

Limiting adjectives limit the noun or pronoun by indicating a specific quantity or amount, such as “two,” “many,” or “few.”

Proper adjectives are formed from proper nouns and describe a particular noun or pronoun, such as “American,” “Italian,” or “Shakespearean.”

Demonstrative adjectives point out or indicate which noun or pronoun is being referred to, such as “this,” “that,” “these,” or “those.”

Interrogative adjectives are used to ask questions and include “which,” “what,” and “whose.”

Distributive adjectives refer to individual members of a group, such as “each,” “every,” “either,” or “neither.”

What are Negative Adjectives?

Negative adjectives are adjectives that describe something negatively, or with a negative connotation. And indicating that it lacks or has the opposite of a positive quality. They can be used talk about a personality trait, character trait, and change your writing style. 

Examples of negative adjectives include “bad,” “ugly,” “harmful,” “horrible,” “unpleasant,” “unfortunate,” “unfriendly,” “unhappy,” “displeasing,” “unfair,” and “unsatisfactory.”

These adjectives can be used to express criticism, disapproval, or disappointment towards someone or something. Negative adjectives can also be used to contrast one thing with another, such as in phrases like “less beautiful,” “not as smart,” or “less effective.”

positive personality adjectives

  • Affable – friendly, easy-going and pleasant to talk to
  • Ambitious – determined to succeed and reach goals
  • Assertive – confident and self-assured; able to stand up for oneself and one’s beliefs
  • Authentic – genuine and true to oneself; not fake or artificial
  • Benevolent – kind, caring and generous, with a desire to do good for others
  • Brave – courageous, not afraid to face challenges or danger
  • Charismatic – possessing a compelling charm or appeal that inspires devotion in others
  • Compassionate – empathetic, caring and understanding towards others who are suffering
  • Confident – having faith in oneself and one’s abilities; self-assured
  • Creative – imaginative, original and innovative
  • Diplomatic – able to handle delicate or difficult situations with tact and sensitivity
  • Empathetic – having the ability to understand and share the feelings of others
  • Enthusiastic – passionate, energetic and eager to do things
  • Gracious – courteous, kind and polite
  • Honest – truthful and sincere; not deceptive or deceitful
  • Humorous – having a sense of humor and able to make others laugh
  • Independent – self-sufficient and able to take care of oneself
  • Intuitive – able to understand or know something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning
  • Optimistic – hopeful and positive, expecting good outcomes and opportunities
  • Passionate – having strong emotions and intense feelings towards something or someone.


A word formed from a verb that ends in ing.

Sentence: He couldn’t stop laughing.

What is a Pronoun?

Pronouns are words that replace a noun.

A word formed from a verb that ends in  ing.

Sentence: He couldn’t stop  laughing.

What is a Collective Noun?

A collective noun is a word that refers to a group of things or animals as a single unit. Some common collective nouns are flock, herd, pack, and swarm. 

What is a Prepositional Phrase?

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or a pronoun. The preposition shows the relationship between the noun or pronoun and the verb. 

 What are Some Popular Synonyms?

Some popular synonyms are beautiful, pretty, handsome, and stunning. 

What are Transition Words

Transition words are used to connect ideas, show relationships between ideas, and indicate the logic of thought or argument. They are used to signal the start and end of paragraphs, introduce new paragraphs, and connect related thoughts within a paragraph. 

There we go! Over 500 descriptive words that will help you improve your writing! This list is always being updated as I find new  describing words  I like through reading and writing. Becoming a good writer and increasing your  skill , and learning  a new word  is an endless quest. These are great words that can improve your follow-up comments or inline feedback on your writing.

And I hope that you found the list of adjectives, nouns, descriptive phrases, and verbs useful. And helps you get a little better and expand your  vocabulary.

Check back for new  descriptive words  monthly!

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10 Beautiful Words You Can Use in Narrative / Descriptive Writing | Secondary School

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Have you ever asked yourself: what makes a word beautiful? Is it because of what it means or the way it sounds? According to British linguist David Crystal in his article titled, “Phonaesthetically Speaking”, we tend to love words that have three or more syllables and include letters that we enjoy enunciating like “ m ” and “ l ”. Simply put, beautiful words are lovely to read and sound pleasant to our ears.

For Secondary English students, such charming words with positive connotations can be used to bedazzle your reader. Let’s explore ten beautiful words which not only sound great but will also be useful in painting vivid pictures for your examiners (especially for narrative and descriptive writing). With the examples provided below, try coming up with your own sentences to use these words! (:

Narrative / Descriptive Writing

1. Compelling (adj.)

Meaning: (something e.g. a reason, argument) that makes you pay attention to it because it is interesting and exciting

Synonym: enthralling, captivating, gripping

Sentence examples:

I found it hard to look away from his compelling eyes that seemed to ask me to inch closer. It was such a compelling story that I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting.

Narrative / Descriptive Writing

2. Effervescent (adj.)

Meaning: (of people and their behaviour) excited, enthusiastic and full of energy

Synonym: vivacious, animated, bubbly

She has a warm effervescent personality that made her easy to get along with. The effervescent host spoke with infectious energy and was able to bring a smile to not only the contestants on the show, but also the audience at home.

Narrative / Descriptive Writing

3. Euphonious (adj.)

Meaning: (of a sound, especially speech) pleasing to the ear

Synonym: pleasant-sounding, sweet-sounding, honeyed

The euphonious chimes of the bell lulled the baby to sleep. Her euphonious tone made her sound like an angel and I was immediately all ears to what she was explaining.

Narrative / Descriptive Writing

4. Evocative (adj.)

Meaning: bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind

Synonym: reminiscent, suggestive

The writer uses descriptive vocabulary to paint evocative images, moving his readers to tears. The evocative music that she often heard as a child in her grandparents’ house made her miss them dearly.

Narrative / Descriptive Writing

5. Halcyon (adj.)

Meaning: denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful

Synonym: happy, carefree, blissful

My grandmother would often recall the halcyon days of the past when her grocery store business boomed and she was healthy and free to do what she liked. The halcyon summer holidays where we could play outdoors freely in groups without our masks are long gone.

Narrative / Descriptive

6. Lissom (adj.)

Meaning: (of a person or their body) thin, supple, and graceful

Synonym: lithe, elegant, svelte

The lissom dancer mesmerised the audience as she swayed to the music. Perry grew up with horses and always admired how graceful they looked trotting around the stables with their lissom bodies.

Narrative / Descriptive Writing

7. Resplendent (adj.)

Meaning: very bright, attractive and impressive in appearance

Synonym: splendid, magnificent, brilliant

Dressed in resplendent costumes, the children created a beautiful rainbow of colours on the stage. During the Singapore Night Festival in 2019, a resplendent underwater scene full of marine animals was projected onto the building of the National Museum of Singapore.

Narrative / Descriptive Writing

8. Redolent (adj.)

Meaning: having a strong pleasant smell

Synonym: aromatic, perfumed

Although my mother had left for work, the entire house was redolent with the fragrance of her perfume. The kitchen was redolent with the aroma of freshly baked bread, making my mouth water.

Serendiptous | Vocab

9. Serendipitous (adj.)

Meaning: occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way

Synonym: coincidental, lucky

The serendipitous encounter with my primary school classmate after not seeing him for two years led to an enjoyable chat about our shared experience. The scientists made a serendipitous discovery which could lead them to the cure for cancer.

Sublime | Vocab

10. Sublime (adj.)

Meaning: of great excellence or beauty

Synonym: outstanding, grand, majestic, stellar

The Great Barrier Reef is known for its sublime natural seascape full of unique marine life and vibrantly coloured corals. Having devoured the delectable food, we complimented the chef for the sublime meal.

Were you able to come up with your own examples to use the beautiful words in your narrative writing as you were reading this post? Feel free to look them up in a dictionary to familiarise yourself with more contexts where you can use these charming words appropriately.

I hope you would use these beautiful words in your narrative writing. Go forth and apply the new knowledge you have acquired to impress your readers. See you in future posts!

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Ms. Hui Jun

As a teacher, Ms Hui Jun is driven to create a safe conducive space for learning in her classroom. To achieve this, she makes an effort to build rapport with her students so that they are unafraid to ask questions when in doubt. With an aim for her students to grow from every lesson, she encourages them to reflect on their learning and find ways to connect them to real life application. With this, she hopes to stretch the young minds of all her pupils and to equip them with the language skills necessary in our world today.

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100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay

By: Author Sophia

Posted on Last updated: October 25, 2023

Sharing is caring!

How to Write a Great Essay in English! This lesson provides 100+ useful words, transition words and expressions used in writing an essay. Let’s take a look!

The secret to a successful essay doesn’t just lie in the clever things you talk about and the way you structure your points.

Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay

Overview of an essay.

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay

Useful Phrases for Proficiency Essays

Developing the argument

  • The first aspect to point out is that…
  • Let us start by considering the facts.
  • The novel portrays, deals with, revolves around…
  • Central to the novel is…
  • The character of xxx embodies/ epitomizes…

The other side of the argument

  • It would also be interesting to see…
  • One should, nevertheless, consider the problem from another angle.
  • Equally relevant to the issue are the questions of…
  • The arguments we have presented… suggest that…/ prove that…/ would indicate that…
  • From these arguments one must…/ could…/ might… conclude that…
  • All of this points to the conclusion that…
  • To conclude…

Ordering elements

  • Firstly,…/ Secondly,…/ Finally,… (note the comma after all these introductory words.)
  • As a final point…
  • On the one hand, …. on the other hand…
  • If on the one hand it can be said that… the same is not true for…
  • The first argument suggests that… whilst the second suggests that…
  • There are at least xxx points to highlight.

Adding elements

  • Furthermore, one should not forget that…
  • In addition to…
  • Moreover…
  • It is important to add that…

Accepting other points of view

  • Nevertheless, one should accept that…
  • However, we also agree that…

Personal opinion

  • We/I personally believe that…
  • Our/My own point of view is that…
  • It is my contention that…
  • I am convinced that…
  • My own opinion is…

Others’ opinions

  • According to some critics… Critics:
  • believe that
  • suggest that
  • are convinced that
  • point out that
  • emphasize that
  • contend that
  • go as far as to say that
  • argue for this

Introducing examples

  • For example…
  • For instance…
  • To illustrate this point…

Introducing facts

  • It is… true that…/ clear that…/ noticeable that…
  • One should note here that…

Saying what you think is true

  • This leads us to believe that…
  • It is very possible that…
  • In view of these facts, it is quite likely that…
  • Doubtless,…
  • One cannot deny that…
  • It is (very) clear from these observations that…
  • All the same, it is possible that…
  • It is difficult to believe that…

Accepting other points to a certain degree

  • One can agree up to a certain point with…
  • Certainly,… However,…
  • It cannot be denied that…

Emphasizing particular points

  • The last example highlights the fact that…
  • Not only… but also…
  • We would even go so far as to say that…

Moderating, agreeing, disagreeing

  • By and large…
  • Perhaps we should also point out the fact that…
  • It would be unfair not to mention the fact that…
  • One must admit that…
  • We cannot ignore the fact that…
  • One cannot possibly accept the fact that…


  • From these facts, one may conclude that…
  • That is why, in our opinion, …
  • Which seems to confirm the idea that…
  • Thus,…/ Therefore,…
  • Some critics suggest…, whereas others…
  • Compared to…
  • On the one hand, there is the firm belief that… On the other hand, many people are convinced that…

How to Write a Great Essay | Image 1

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay 1

How to Write a Great Essay | Image 2

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay 2

Phrases For Balanced Arguments


  • It is often said that…
  • It is undeniable that…
  • It is a well-known fact that…
  • One of the most striking features of this text is…
  • The first thing that needs to be said is…
  • First of all, let us try to analyze…
  • One argument in support of…
  • We must distinguish carefully between…
  • The second reason for…
  • An important aspect of the text is…
  • It is worth stating at this point that…
  • On the other hand, we can observe that…
  • The other side of the coin is, however, that…
  • Another way of looking at this question is to…
  • What conclusions can be drawn from all this?
  • The most satisfactory conclusion that we can come to is…
  • To sum up… we are convinced that…/ …we believe that…/ …we have to accept that…

How to Write a Great Essay | Image 3

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay 3

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Join (probably?) the world's largest writing contest. Flex those creative muscles with weekly writing prompts.

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Write a story that includes someone saying, “be careful what you wish for.”.

LIVE – Character

Make a character’s obsession or addiction an important element of your story.

Write a story in which one of the characters is a narcissist., write about a character who struggles to do the right thing., start your story with a character being followed..

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Your protagonist is a voracious reader. Lately, they’ve been noticing odd synchronicities in the books he or she is reading. What does the protagonist discover is happening?

Dream up a secret library. write a story about an adventurer who discovers it. what’s in the library why was it kept secret, write a story about a future academic (or another influential person) “rediscovering” a book that, in its time, was dismissed. the book can be fictitious or real., your protagonist is a writer who discovers a new favorite author. how does their writing, or even their own personality, change as the protagonist falls under the writer’s influence, write a story about discovering a lost manuscript. it can be from a famous (or infamous) author, or an unknown one., subscribe to our prompts newsletter.

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Your teacher tasks you with writing a story based on an eavesdropped conversation. When the story is published, your subject isn’t happy.

A character overhears something at a black-tie event that puts the night in jeopardy., write a story in which someone can only hear one side of a conversation and must piece together the meaning of what they’ve heard., write a story about a child overhearing something they don’t understand., write a story in which someone is afraid of being overheard., write a story about a character driving and getting lost., write a story about a tennis match between two rivals., write a story that begins with someone dancing in a bar., write a story around someone (literally) bumping into someone else., write a story about a character running late for a job interview., win $250 in our short story competition 🏆.

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Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.

Creative Writing Prompts

When the idea to start a weekly newsletter with writing inspiration first came to us, we decided that we wanted to do more than provide people with topics to write about. We wanted to try and help authors form a regular writing habit and also give them a place to proudly display their work. So we started the weekly Creative Writing Prompts newsletter. Since then, Prompts has grown to a community of more than 450,000 authors, complete with its own literary magazine, Prompted .  

Here's how our contest works: every Friday, we send out a newsletter containing five creative writing prompts. Each week, the story ideas center around a different theme. Authors then have one week — until the following Friday — to submit a short story based on one of our prompts. A winner is picked each week to win $250 and is highlighted on our Reedsy Prompts page.

Interested in participating in our short story contest? Sign up here for more information! Or you can check out our full Terms of Use and our FAQ page .

Why we love creative writing prompts

If you've ever sat in front of a computer or notebook and felt the urge to start creating worlds, characters, and storylines — all the while finding yourself unable to do so — then you've met the author's age-old foe: writer's block. There's nothing more frustrating than finding the time but not the words to be creative. Enter our directory! If you're ready to kick writer's block to the curb and finally get started on your short story or novel, these unique story ideas might just be your ticket.

This list of 1800+ creative writing prompts has been created by the Reedsy team to help you develop a rock-solid writing routine. As all aspiring authors know, this is the #1 challenge — and solution! — for reaching your literary goals. Feel free to filter through different genres, which include...

Dramatic — If you want to make people laugh and cry within the same story, this might be your genre.

Funny — Whether satire or slapstick, this is an opportunity to write with your funny bone.

Romance — One of the most popular commercial genres out there. Check out these story ideas out if you love writing about love.

Fantasy — The beauty of this genre is that the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

Dystopian – Explore the shadowy side of human nature and contemporary technology in dark speculative fiction.

Mystery — From whodunnits to cozy mysteries, it's time to bring out your inner detective.

Thriller and Suspense — There's nothing like a page-turner that elicits a gasp of surprise at the end.

High School — Encourage teens to let their imaginations run free.

Want to submit your own story ideas to help inspire fellow writers? Send them to us here.

After you find the perfect story idea

Finding inspiration is just one piece of the puzzle. Next, you need to refine your craft skills — and then display them to the world. We've worked hard to create resources that help you do just that! Check them out:

  • How to Write a Short Story That Gets Published — a free, ten-day course by Laura Mae Isaacman, a full-time editor who runs a book editing company in Brooklyn.
  • Best Literary Magazines of 2023 — a directory of 100+ reputable magazines that accept unsolicited submissions.
  • Writing Contests in 2023 — the finest contests of 2021 for fiction and non-fiction authors of short stories, poetry, essays, and more.

Beyond creative writing prompts: how to build a writing routine

While writing prompts are a great tactic to spark your creative sessions, a writer generally needs a couple more tools in their toolbelt when it comes to developing a rock-solid writing routine . To that end, here are a few more additional tips for incorporating your craft into your everyday life.

  • NNWT. Or, as book coach Kevin Johns calls it , “Non-Negotiable Writing Time.” This time should be scheduled into your routine, whether that’s once a day or once a week. Treat it as a serious commitment, and don’t schedule anything else during your NNWT unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Set word count goals. And make them realistic! Don’t start out with lofty goals you’re unlikely to achieve. Give some thought to how many words you think you can write a week, and start there. If you find you’re hitting your weekly or daily goals easily, keep upping the stakes as your craft time becomes more ingrained in your routine.
  • Talk to friends and family about the project you’re working on. Doing so means that those close to you are likely to check in about the status of your piece — which in turn keeps you more accountable.

Arm yourself against writer’s block. Writer’s block will inevitably come, no matter how much story ideas initially inspire you. So it’s best to be prepared with tips and tricks you can use to keep yourself on track before the block hits. You can find 20 solid tips here — including how to establish a relationship with your inner critic and apps that can help you defeat procrastination or lack of motivation.


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Explore more writing prompt ideas:

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Winter Writing Prompts ⭢

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Writing Beginner

What Is Creative Writing? (Ultimate Guide + 20 Examples)

Creative writing begins with a blank page and the courage to fill it with the stories only you can tell.

I face this intimidating blank page daily–and I have for the better part of 20+ years.

In this guide, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of creative writing with tons of examples.

What Is Creative Writing (Long Description)?

Creative Writing is the art of using words to express ideas and emotions in imaginative ways. It encompasses various forms including novels, poetry, and plays, focusing on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes.

Bright, colorful creative writer's desk with notebook and typewriter -- What Is Creative Writing

Table of Contents

Let’s expand on that definition a bit.

Creative writing is an art form that transcends traditional literature boundaries.

It includes professional, journalistic, academic, and technical writing. This type of writing emphasizes narrative craft, character development, and literary tropes. It also explores poetry and poetics traditions.

In essence, creative writing lets you express ideas and emotions uniquely and imaginatively.

It’s about the freedom to invent worlds, characters, and stories. These creations evoke a spectrum of emotions in readers.

Creative writing covers fiction, poetry, and everything in between.

It allows writers to express inner thoughts and feelings. Often, it reflects human experiences through a fabricated lens.

Types of Creative Writing

There are many types of creative writing that we need to explain.

Some of the most common types:

  • Short stories
  • Screenplays
  • Flash fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction

Short Stories (The Brief Escape)

Short stories are like narrative treasures.

They are compact but impactful, telling a full story within a limited word count. These tales often focus on a single character or a crucial moment.

Short stories are known for their brevity.

They deliver emotion and insight in a concise yet powerful package. This format is ideal for exploring diverse genres, themes, and characters. It leaves a lasting impression on readers.

Example: Emma discovers an old photo of her smiling grandmother. It’s a rarity. Through flashbacks, Emma learns about her grandmother’s wartime love story. She comes to understand her grandmother’s resilience and the value of joy.

Novels (The Long Journey)

Novels are extensive explorations of character, plot, and setting.

They span thousands of words, giving writers the space to create entire worlds. Novels can weave complex stories across various themes and timelines.

The length of a novel allows for deep narrative and character development.

Readers get an immersive experience.

Example: Across the Divide tells of two siblings separated in childhood. They grow up in different cultures. Their reunion highlights the strength of family bonds, despite distance and differences.

Poetry (The Soul’s Language)

Poetry expresses ideas and emotions through rhythm, sound, and word beauty.

It distills emotions and thoughts into verses. Poetry often uses metaphors, similes, and figurative language to reach the reader’s heart and mind.

Poetry ranges from structured forms, like sonnets, to free verse.

The latter breaks away from traditional formats for more expressive thought.

Example: Whispers of Dawn is a poem collection capturing morning’s quiet moments. “First Light” personifies dawn as a painter. It brings colors of hope and renewal to the world.

Plays (The Dramatic Dialogue)

Plays are meant for performance. They bring characters and conflicts to life through dialogue and action.

This format uniquely explores human relationships and societal issues.

Playwrights face the challenge of conveying setting, emotion, and plot through dialogue and directions.

Example: Echoes of Tomorrow is set in a dystopian future. Memories can be bought and sold. It follows siblings on a quest to retrieve their stolen memories. They learn the cost of living in a world where the past has a price.

Screenplays (Cinema’s Blueprint)

Screenplays outline narratives for films and TV shows.

They require an understanding of visual storytelling, pacing, and dialogue. Screenplays must fit film production constraints.

Example: The Last Light is a screenplay for a sci-fi film. Humanity’s survivors on a dying Earth seek a new planet. The story focuses on spacecraft Argo’s crew as they face mission challenges and internal dynamics.

Memoirs (The Personal Journey)

Memoirs provide insight into an author’s life, focusing on personal experiences and emotional journeys.

They differ from autobiographies by concentrating on specific themes or events.

Memoirs invite readers into the author’s world.

They share lessons learned and hardships overcome.

Example: Under the Mango Tree is a memoir by Maria Gomez. It shares her childhood memories in rural Colombia. The mango tree in their yard symbolizes home, growth, and nostalgia. Maria reflects on her journey to a new life in America.

Flash Fiction (The Quick Twist)

Flash fiction tells stories in under 1,000 words.

It’s about crafting compelling narratives concisely. Each word in flash fiction must count, often leading to a twist.

This format captures life’s vivid moments, delivering quick, impactful insights.

Example: The Last Message features an astronaut’s final Earth message as her spacecraft drifts away. In 500 words, it explores isolation, hope, and the desire to connect against all odds.

Creative Nonfiction (The Factual Tale)

Creative nonfiction combines factual accuracy with creative storytelling.

This genre covers real events, people, and places with a twist. It uses descriptive language and narrative arcs to make true stories engaging.

Creative nonfiction includes biographies, essays, and travelogues.

Example: Echoes of Everest follows the author’s Mount Everest climb. It mixes factual details with personal reflections and the history of past climbers. The narrative captures the climb’s beauty and challenges, offering an immersive experience.

Fantasy (The World Beyond)

Fantasy transports readers to magical and mythical worlds.

It explores themes like good vs. evil and heroism in unreal settings. Fantasy requires careful world-building to create believable yet fantastic realms.

Example: The Crystal of Azmar tells of a young girl destined to save her world from darkness. She learns she’s the last sorceress in a forgotten lineage. Her journey involves mastering powers, forming alliances, and uncovering ancient kingdom myths.

Science Fiction (The Future Imagined)

Science fiction delves into futuristic and scientific themes.

It questions the impact of advancements on society and individuals.

Science fiction ranges from speculative to hard sci-fi, focusing on plausible futures.

Example: When the Stars Whisper is set in a future where humanity communicates with distant galaxies. It centers on a scientist who finds an alien message. This discovery prompts a deep look at humanity’s universe role and interstellar communication.

Watch this great video that explores the question, “What is creative writing?” and “How to get started?”:

What Are the 5 Cs of Creative Writing?

The 5 Cs of creative writing are fundamental pillars.

They guide writers to produce compelling and impactful work. These principles—Clarity, Coherence, Conciseness, Creativity, and Consistency—help craft stories that engage and entertain.

They also resonate deeply with readers. Let’s explore each of these critical components.

Clarity makes your writing understandable and accessible.

It involves choosing the right words and constructing clear sentences. Your narrative should be easy to follow.

In creative writing, clarity means conveying complex ideas in a digestible and enjoyable way.

Coherence ensures your writing flows logically.

It’s crucial for maintaining the reader’s interest. Characters should develop believably, and plots should progress logically. This makes the narrative feel cohesive.


Conciseness is about expressing ideas succinctly.

It’s being economical with words and avoiding redundancy. This principle helps maintain pace and tension, engaging readers throughout the story.

Creativity is the heart of creative writing.

It allows writers to invent new worlds and create memorable characters. Creativity involves originality and imagination. It’s seeing the world in unique ways and sharing that vision.


Consistency maintains a uniform tone, style, and voice.

It means being faithful to the world you’ve created. Characters should act true to their development. This builds trust with readers, making your story immersive and believable.

Is Creative Writing Easy?

Creative writing is both rewarding and challenging.

Crafting stories from your imagination involves more than just words on a page. It requires discipline and a deep understanding of language and narrative structure.

Exploring complex characters and themes is also key.

Refining and revising your work is crucial for developing your voice.

The ease of creative writing varies. Some find the freedom of expression liberating.

Others struggle with writer’s block or plot development challenges. However, practice and feedback make creative writing more fulfilling.

What Does a Creative Writer Do?

A creative writer weaves narratives that entertain, enlighten, and inspire.

Writers explore both the world they create and the emotions they wish to evoke. Their tasks are diverse, involving more than just writing.

Creative writers develop ideas, research, and plan their stories.

They create characters and outline plots with attention to detail. Drafting and revising their work is a significant part of their process. They strive for the 5 Cs of compelling writing.

Writers engage with the literary community, seeking feedback and participating in workshops.

They may navigate the publishing world with agents and editors.

Creative writers are storytellers, craftsmen, and artists. They bring narratives to life, enriching our lives and expanding our imaginations.

How to Get Started With Creative Writing?

Embarking on a creative writing journey can feel like standing at the edge of a vast and mysterious forest.

The path is not always clear, but the adventure is calling.

Here’s how to take your first steps into the world of creative writing:

  • Find a time of day when your mind is most alert and creative.
  • Create a comfortable writing space free from distractions.
  • Use prompts to spark your imagination. They can be as simple as a word, a phrase, or an image.
  • Try writing for 15-20 minutes on a prompt without editing yourself. Let the ideas flow freely.
  • Reading is fuel for your writing. Explore various genres and styles.
  • Pay attention to how your favorite authors construct their sentences, develop characters, and build their worlds.
  • Don’t pressure yourself to write a novel right away. Begin with short stories or poems.
  • Small projects can help you hone your skills and boost your confidence.
  • Look for writing groups in your area or online. These communities offer support, feedback, and motivation.
  • Participating in workshops or classes can also provide valuable insights into your writing.
  • Understand that your first draft is just the beginning. Revising your work is where the real magic happens.
  • Be open to feedback and willing to rework your pieces.
  • Carry a notebook or digital recorder to jot down ideas, observations, and snippets of conversations.
  • These notes can be gold mines for future writing projects.

Final Thoughts: What Is Creative Writing?

Creative writing is an invitation to explore the unknown, to give voice to the silenced, and to celebrate the human spirit in all its forms.

Check out these creative writing tools (that I highly recommend):

Read This Next:

  • What Is a Prompt in Writing? (Ultimate Guide + 200 Examples)
  • What Is A Personal Account In Writing? (47 Examples)
  • How To Write A Fantasy Short Story (Ultimate Guide + Examples)
  • How To Write A Fantasy Romance Novel [21 Tips + Examples)

Improving Your English

Writing idioms: Inspiring phrases about writing and writers

impressive phrases for creative writing

Struggling with writer’s block? These writing idioms will get your mind flowing again.

In this list we cover English idioms about writing, writers, letters, and even paper. We have also included a few proverbs on these topics! All of these phrases include a definition and example sentences to help you learn how to use them.

So, pen at the ready, and let’s go!

Writing idioms - an overhead, close up of a pen, paper, ink pot and flowers

Writing idioms

Get it in writing.

You’ll hear people use the expression get it in writing when they want to have physical proof of an agreement. They don’t just want to rely on a handshake or verbal agreement.

“Unless you get it in writing, I can’t proceed with the deal.”

Related to this, someone may ask you to put it in writing when you are forming an agreement.

Wet signature

Similar to the expression above, sometimes you are required to sign something with a wet signature (as opposed to an e-signature). This means that you must physically sign with a pen or other writing implement.

“That bank is so old-fashioned; they need a wet signature for me to open an account.”

Handwriting like chicken scratch

Hopefully, no one says you have handwriting like chicken scratch . It’s a way of describing someone’s writing as very messy – even illegible – like the dirt marks chickens make!

“My doctor has handwriting like chichen scratch and the pharmacist couldn’t understand it.”

Yes – doctors are notorious for their bad handwriting, but have you ever wondered why ?

Paper trail

You may hear this phrase in your favorite police drama show. A paper trail is a series of records and documents that can be used to track someone’s activities. When the police are looking for a criminal, they can follow phone records, financial reports, diary entries or even video footage to locate the person.

“We just followed the paper trail and found the missing money.”

Even though these records may be mainly electronic nowadays, we still refer to it as a ‘paper trail’.

Poison-pen letter

A poison-pen letter is not a very nice thing to write or receive. It’s a letter or note that is very mean-spirited, critical or even malicious. It isn’t usually signed by the sender.

“I can’t belive someone left a poison-pen letter on my car.”

To describe someone as an open book is to say that they are easy to get to know. They don’t withhold information or keep secrets, so you can learn a lot about them and their nature.

“Jo at reception is an open book. I find her really easy to get to know.”

We have more expressions about friendship and getting to know people on a separate page.

It’s not worth the paper it’s written/printed on

Sadly, some of these writing idioms are about deception and being tricked. When people describe an agreement, contract signing, guarantee or promise as not (being) worth the paper it’s written on , they are saying that the agreement is worthless.

“This contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. I’m afraid you’re going to lose your money.”

Not worth writing home about

When something is of little interest, rather dull or unremarkable, you could say that it’s not worth writing home about . In other words, there is no exciting news to report.

“My weekend wasn’t worth writing home about. What about you?”

Don’t forget to write

This is one of the more dated idioms about writing. Traditionally, when people went on holiday they would write postcards to friends and family back home. So, as a clichéd farewell, people will remind you, don’t forget to write . There are some more modern travel idioms you can use, too.

“Have a wonderful holiday and don’t forget to write.”

A word of warning: this expression can also be used in a sarcastic way when someone is happy you are leaving!

The oldest trick in the book

The oldest trick in the book is a form of deception or trickery, or a way of solving a problem, that has been done for a long time and still works well.

“Were you really expecting a new iPhone for that price from a guy on the street?! It’s the oldest trick in the book!” “I always go for a run whilst the family are still sleeping. It’s the oldest trick in the book to make sure I still get a run in.”

When this expression is used in reference to some kind of deception, there is also the suggestion that nobody should be naive enough to fall for the trick as it has been around for so long. So, if you do get tricked in this way, it’s your own fault for being gullible.

Don’t judge a book by its cover

This is such a popular phrase and a really great piece of advice. You should never judge a book by its cover as you are basing your opinions of someone or something purely on what you see on the outside.

“I was so shocked when my 92-year-old grandfather started breakdancing at the wedding. Guess you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!”

Writing idioms - a close up of a hand writing in a note book

Idioms about writing

Put pen to paper.

This idiom about writing could be losing relevance, since most writing nowadays is done electronically. Still, to instruct someone to put pen to paper is to tell them it’s time to start writing.

“Ok boys and girls, the exam has started to it’s time to put pen to paper. Good luck.” “Writing a novel may seem daunting but it just begins with putting pen to paper.”

The writing is on the wall

A lot of these idioms about writing are forms of warning or guidance, and this one is no exception! When there are strong indications that something bad is about to happen, people will warn that the writing is on the wall .

“Our sales are down and they’ve just transfered calls to another team. I guess the writing is on the wall and we’ll be fired soon.”

Did you know this is one of many idioms that come from the Bible ?

Paper over the cracks

In a literal form, to paper over cracks would be to cover defects in a wall by decorating over them. As an idiom, it tells us that someone is trying to hide or gloss over problems, issues, or disagreements.

“Listen, just paper over the cracks and we’ll sort it out after the presentation.”

Take a leaf out of someone’s book

When someone suggests that you take a leaf (or a page) out of someone’s book they are saying that you should do the same as them or follow their example.

“Why don’t you take a leaf out of your brother’s book? He’s just graduated from college.”

There are lots more idioms about books for you to discover here.

Pen pusher / Paper pusher

Writing idioms can be used in so many different ways. This one describes the type of job someone has. A pen pusher or paper pusher is someone who has a low-level administrative job that isn’t very interesting or significant.

It probably involves a lot of form-filling, filing or repetitive paperwork.

“Just ignore Micky, he’s only a paper pusher and has no real say in what happens.”

The pen is mightier than the sword

This is such an inspiring writer idiom, and perhaps an important idiom for kids to learn . The meaning behind the expression the pen is mightier than the sword is that writing is better than fighting.

Why so? Well, when you write something, people will read your words and you can influence or inspire them. Or it could be saying that communicating solves more problems than going to war. Basically, being intellectual is better than being physically aggressive, according to this saying.

“I wrote a letter to the President as I believe that the pen is mightier than the sword.”

Give someone their walking papers

Although there are a few positive idioms about writing, this one isn’t so good. To give someone their walking papers is to fire them from a job or ask them to leave a place or situation.

“Well, that’s that. I was given my walking papers on Friday.”

In British English, you may hear a similar phrase – to give someone their marching orders – which means the same thing.

The ink isn’t even dry yet / the ink’s still wet

You would use the saying the ink isn’t even dry yet or the ink is still wet to comment on something happening immediately after an agreement or legal document is signed.

A good example is someone getting re-married just after signing their divorce papers.

“The ink was still wet on the contract for the new car and he backed it into a wall!” “The ink isn’t even dry on your employment contract and you’re already thinking of leaving?!”

Even if nothing was physically signed, this phrase can be used figuratively.

Write a bum check (cheque)

Have you ever written a check to make a payment? Checks are being phased out in most places, but here is a full explanation of how they used to work.

To write a bum check (or ‘cheque’ in British English) is to issue a check to someone even though there isn’t enough money in the account to cover it. Since it takes a few days for a check to clear, there would be no way for the seller to know that you didn’t have the funds to make the payment. It’s no surprise that other payment methods are taking over!

“Just make sure you don’t write a bum check again.”

Discover some more idioms about money here.

Write someone up / Write someone a ticket

This writing expression is predominantly used with reference to police officers, although you may hear it in a work context too. When you write someone up you are reporting them for a wrong action they have done.

The similar idiom, write someone a ticket , would usually refer to a parking or speeding ticket resulting in a fine.

“Sue, you know you can’t enter here without a permit! I’m going to have to write you up.” “I begged the policeman not to write me a ticket, but he wouldn’t listen.”

Writer’s block

This is a perfect idiom about writing to end on! The reason for this is that when someone suffers from writer’s block they simply can’t think of anything else to write.

“I tried so hard to finish my essay last night but by 11pm I got writer’s block and had to stop.” “Do you have any tips for dealing with writer’s block?”

Hopefully, this list of writing idioms has helped you not only to understand them better but also to be a little more creative in your own writing.

Are there any others you have heard of that we could add to this list? Leave a comment to let us know.

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Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 105 creative writing prompts to try out.

General Education


The most common advice out there for being a writer is, "if you want to write, write." While this is true (and good advice), it's not always that easy, particularly if you're not writing regularly.

Whether you're looking for help getting started on your next project, or just want to spend 20 minutes being creative, writing prompts are great ways to rev up your imagination. Read on for our list of over 100 creative writing prompts!

feature image credit: r. nial bradshaw /Flickr

10 Short Writing Prompts

If you're looking for a quick boost to get yourself going, these 10 short writing prompts will do the trick.

#1 : Write a scene starting with a regular family ritual that goes awry.

#2 : Describe exactly what you see/smell/hear/etc, right now. Include objects, people, and anything else in your immediate environment.

#3 : Suggest eight possible ways to get a ping pong ball out of a vertical pipe.

#4 : A shoe falls out of the sky. Justify why.

#5 : If your brain were a tangible, physical place, what would it be like?

#6 : Begin your writing with the phrase, "The stage was set."

#7 : You have been asked to write a history of "The Summer of [this past year]." Your publisher wants a table of contents. What events will you submit?

#8 : Write a sympathetic story from the point of view of the "bad guy." (Think fractured fairy tales like Wicked or The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! , although the story doesn't have to be a fairy tale.)

#9 : Look at everyday objects in a new way and write about the stories one of these objects contains.

#10 : One person meets a stranger on a mode of transportation. Write the story that ensues.


11 Writing Prompts for Kids

Any of these prompts can be used by writers of any age, but we chose the following 11 prompts as ones that would be particularly fun for kids to write about. (Most of them I used myself as a young writer, so I can vouch for their working!)

#1 : Include something falling in your writing.

#2 : Write a short poem (or story) with the title, "We don't know when it will be fixed."

#3 : Write from the perspective of someone of a different gender than you.

#4 : Write a dumb internet quiz.

#5 : Finish this thought: "A perfect day in my imagination begins like this:"

#6 : Write a character's inner monologue (what they are thinking as they go about their day).

#7 : Think of a character. Write a paragraph each about:

  • An important childhood experience that character had.
  • The character's living situation.
  • Two hobbies or things the character likes to do.
  • The room where the character sleeps.
  • An ambition of the character.
  • Two physical characteristics of the character.
  • What happens when a second person and this character meet.
  • Two important defining personal traits of this character.

#8 : Start a story with a quote from a song.

#9 : Begin a story with, "It was the summer of ______ when ______"

#10 : Pretend everyday objects have no names. Think about what you would name them based on what they do, what you can use them for, and what they look like.

#11 : Start a story with the phrases "My grandparents are/were," "My parents are/were," or "My mother/father/parent is/was."


15 Cool Writing Prompts

#1 : List five issues that you're passionate about. Write about them from the opposite point of view (or from the perspective of a character with the opposite point of view).

#2 : Walk around and write down a phrase you hear (or read). Make a story out of it.

#3 : Write using no adjectives or adverbs.

#4 : Write a character's inner dialogue between different aspects of a character's self (rather than an inner monologue).

#5 : Write a true story from your past that involves light or darkness in some way.

#6 : "Saying goodbye awakens us to the true nature of things." Write something in which someone has to say goodbye and has a realization.

#7 : Begin by writing the end of the story.

#8 : Write a recipe for an intangible thing.

#9 : Write a horror story about an ordinary situation (e.g., buying groceries, going to the bank, listening to music).

#10 : Write a story from within a bubble.

#11 : Write down 2-3 short character descriptions and then write the characters in conversation with one another.

#12 : Write a story in second person.

#13 : Write a story that keeps contradicting itself.

#14 : Write about a character with at least three big problems.

#15 : Write something that takes place on a Friday, the 13th (of any month).


15 Funny Writing Prompts

#1 : Write a story which starts with someone eating a pickle and potato sandwich.

#2 : Write a short script where the plot has to do with evil dolls trying to take over something.

#3 : Write about writers' block.

#4 : List five election issues that would be ridiculous to includes as part of your election platform (e.g. outlawing mechanical pencils and clicky pens, mandating every person over the age of 30 must own an emergency last rites kit). Choose one of the ridiculous issues and write a speech in favor of it.

#5 : Write a children's story that is insanely inappropriate but can't use graphic language, curses, or violence.

#6 : List five careers. Write about someone with one of those careers who wants to quit it.

#7 : Write down a list of murder methods. Choose one at random from the list to use in a story.

#8 : Write a romance story in which the hero must have a last name corresponding with a physical characteristic (e.g. Jacques Hairyback or Flora Dimple).

#9 : Come up with 10 different ways to:

  • order a pizza
  • congratulate someone on a job well done
  • return to the store something that's broken

#10 : Search for "random Renaissance painting" (or any other inspirational image search text you can think of) on any online internet image search engine. Picking one image, write half a page each of:

  • Statements about this image (e.g. "I meant bring me the BREAD of John the Baptist").
  • Questions about this image (e.g. "How many of those cherubs look like their necks are broken?").
  • Explanations of this image (e.g. "The painter ran out of blue paint halfway through and had to improvise for the color of the sky").
  • Commands said by people in this image or about this image (e.g. "Stop telling me to smile!" or "Bring me some gasoline!").

#11 : Write starting with a word that sounds like "chute" (e.g. "chute," "shoot," "shooed").

#12 : Write about a character named X "The [article of clothing]" Y (e.g. Julie "The Yellow Darted Skirt" Whyte) or simply referred to by their clothing (e.g. "the man in the brown suit" or "the woman in black").

#13 : Write down a paragraph each describing two wildly different settings. Write a story involving both settings.

#14 : Think of a fictional holiday based around some natural event (e.g. the Earth being at its farthest point from the sun, in memory of a volcanic eruption, that time a cloud looked like a rabbit riding a bicycle). Write about how this holiday is celebrated.

#15 : Write a "Just-So" type story about a fictional creature (e.g. "how the dragon got its firebreath" or "how the mudkip got its cheek gills").


54 Other Writing Prompt Ideas

#1 : Borrow a character from some other form of media (or create your own). Write from that character's perspective.

#2 : Write for and against a non-consequential controversy (e.g., salt vs. pepper, Mac vs. PC, best kind of door).

#3 : Choose an ancestor or a person from the past to write about or to.

#4 : Write a pirate story with a twist.

#5 : Have a character talk about another character and their feelings about that other character.

#6 : Pick a season and think about an event in your life that occurred in that season. Write a creative nonfiction piece about that event and that season.

#7 : Think of something very complicated and long. Write a page about it using short sentences.

#8 : Write a story as a dream.

#9 : Describe around a food without ever directly naming it.

#10 : Write a monologue (one character, talking to the audience/reader) (*not* an inner monologue).

#11 : Begin a story with the phrase, "It only took five seconds to..."

#12 : List five strong emotions. Choosing one, write about a character experiencing that emotion, but only use the character's actions to convey how they are feeling (no outright statements).

#13 : Write a chapter of the memoir of your life.

#14 : Look through the (physical) things you're currently carrying with you or wearing. Write about the memories or emotions tied with each of them.

#15 : Go be in nature. Write drawing your story from your surroundings (both physical, social, and mental/emotional).


#16 : Write from the perspective of a bubble (or bubble-like creature).

#17 : A person is jogging along an asphalt road. Write a story.

#18 : Title your story (or poem, or play, etc) "Anti-_____". Fill in the blank and write the story.

#19 : Write something that must include an animal, a mineral, and a vegetable.

#20 : Begin your writing with the phrase, "6 weeks later..."

#21 : List 5-10 office jobs. Pick one of them and describe a person working in that job as if you were a commentator on an Olympic sporting event.

#22 : Practice your poetic imagery: overwrite a description of a character's breakfast routine.

#23 : Write about a character (or group of characters) trying to convince another character to try something they're scared of.

#24 : Keep an eye out in your environment for examples of greengrocer's apostrophes and rogue quotation marks. Pick an example and write about what the misplaced punctuation implies (e.g., we have the "best" meat or we have the best "meat" ).

#25 : Fill in the blank with the first word that comes to mind: "_______ Riot!" Write a newspaper-style article describing the events that that took place.

#26 : Write from the point of view of your most-loved possession. What does it think of you?

#27 : Think of five common sayings (e.g., "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"). Write a horror story whose plot is one of those common sayings.

#28 : Write a scene in which two characters are finally hashing out a long-standing misunderstanding or disagreement.

#29 : You start receiving text messages from an unknown number. Tell the story of what happens next.

#30 : Write one character bragging to another about the story behind their new tattoo.

#31 : Superheroes save the world...but they also leave a lot of destruction in their wake. Write about a normal person in a superhero's world.

#32 : Sometimes, family is who we are related to; sometimes, family is a group of people we gather around ourselves. Write a story about (some of) a character's found family and relatives meeting for the first time.

#33 : Write a story that begins in the middle of the plot's action ( en media res ).

#34 : Everyone says you can never have too much of a good thing. Write a story where that isn't true.

#35 : What do ghosts do when they're not creating mischief? Write about the secret lives of ghosts.


#36 : Every year, you dread the last week of April. Write a story about why.

#37 : Write a story about what it would be like to have an animal sidekick in real life.

#38 : Heists don't just have to be black-clad thieves stealing into vaults to steal rare art or money. Write about a group of people (adults or children) who commit a heist for something of seemingly little monetary value.

#39 : "Life is like a chooseable-path adventure, except you don't get to see what would have happened if you chose differently." Think of a choice you've made and write about a world where you made a different choice.

#40 : Write a story about a secret room.

#41 : You find a message in a bottle with very specific directions. Write a story about the adventure you embark upon.

#42 : "You'll always be okay as long as you know where your _______ is." Fill in the blank and write a story (either fictional or from your life) illustrating this statement.

#43 : Forcing people into prolonged proximity can change and deepen relationships. Write about characters on a road trip together.

#44 : In music, sonata form includes three main parts: exposition, development, and recapitulation. Write a short story that follows this format.

#45 : Begin writing with a character saying, "I'm afraid this simply can't wait."

#46 : Write a story with a happy ending (either happily-ever-after or happy-for-now).

#47 : Write about a character before and after a tragedy in that character's life.

#48 : Choose an object or concept you encounter in everyday life (e.g. tables, the feeling of hot or cold, oxygen) and write an infomercial about it.

#49 : "Life is a series of quests, whether important or mundane." Write about a quest you've gone on (or would like to go on, or will have to go on).

#50 : List 10 different ways to learn. Choose one (or more) and write a story where a character learns something using that one (or more) method.

#51 : You've been called to the principal's office for bad behavior. You know what you did. Explain and justify yourself.

#52 : A character discovers their sibling owns a cursed object. Write about what happens next.

#53 : Write a character description by writing a list of items that would be on a scavenger hunt about them.

#54 : The slogan for a product or service you're advertising is, "Kid-tested, _____." Fill in the blank and write the copy for a radio or podcast advertisement for your product.


How to Use Creative Writing Prompts

There's no wrong way to use a creative writing prompt (unless it's to harass and hurt someone)—the point of them is to get you writing and your imagination flowing.

To help you get the most out of these writing prompts, however, we've come up with the six tips below. Try them out!

#1: DON'T Limit Yourself to Prose

Unless you're writing for a particular assignment, there's no reason everything you write in response to a writing prompt has to be prose fiction . Instead of writing your response to a prompt as a story, try writing a poem, nonfiction essay, play, screenplay, or some other format entirely.

#2: DON'T Edit as You Write

The purposes of writing prompts is to get you writing, typos and weird grammar and all. Editing comes later, once you've finished writing and have some space from it to come back to what you wrote.

It's OK to fix things that will make it difficult to read what you've written (e.g., a weird autocorrect that changes the meaning of a sentence), but don't worry too much about typos or perfect grammar when you're writing; those are easy enough to fix in edits . You also can always insert asterisks or a short note as you're writing to remind yourself to go back to fix something (for instance, if as you're writing it seems like you want to move around the order of your paragraphs or insert something earlier).

#3: DO Interpret the Prompt Broadly

The point of using a writing prompt is not to write something that best exemplifies the prompt, but something that sparks your own creativity. Again, unless you're writing in response to an assignment with specific directions, feel free to interpret writing prompts as broadly or as narrowly as you want.

For instance, if your prompt is to write a story that begins with "The stage was set," you could write about anything from someone preparing to put a plan into motion to a literal theatre stage constructed out of pieces of old sets (or something else entirely).

If you're using a writing prompt, it doesn't have to be the first sentence of your story or poem, either; you can also use the prompt as a goal to work towards in your writing.

#4: DO Try Switching Up Your Writing Methods

If it's a possibility for you, see if you write differently in different media. Do you write the same kind of stories by hand as you would typing at a computer? What about if you dictate a story and then transcribe it? Or text it to a friend? Varying the method you use to write can affect the stories you're able to tell.

For example, you may find that it's easier for you to tell stories about your life to a voice recorder than to try to write out a personal essay. Or maybe you have trouble writing poetry, but can easily text yourself or a friend a poem. You might even find you like a writing method you've not tried before better than what you've been doing!


#5: DO Mix and Match Prompt Ideas

If you need more inspiration, feel free to combine multiple prompts (but don't overwhelm yourself with too much to write about).

You can also try switching genres from what might be suggested in the prompt. For instance, try writing a prompt that seems funny in a serious and sad way, or finding the humor in something that otherwise seems humorless. The categories we've organized the prompts into are by no means limiters on what you're allowed to write about.

#6: DO Try to Write Regularly

The more regularly you write, the easier it will be to write (with or without writing prompts).

For some people, this means writing daily; for others, it means setting aside time to write each weekend or each month. Set yourself an achievable goal (write 2x a week, write 1000 words a month) and stick to it. You can always start small and then ramp your wordcount or frequency up.

If you do better when you have something outside yourself prompting to write, you may also want to try something like morning pages , which encourages you to write at least 750 words every day, in any format (story, diary entry, social media postings, etc).


What's Next?

Thinking about attending college or grad school for creative writing? Our articles on whether or not you should major in creative writing and the best creative writing programs are there for you! Plus, if you're a high schooler, you should check out these top writing contests .

Creative writing doesn't necessarily have to be fiction. Check out these three examples of narrative writing and our tips for how to write your own narrative stories and essays .

Just as writing prompts can help give form to amorphous creative energy, using specific writing structures or devices can be great starting points for your next story. Read through our discussion of the top 20 poetic devices to know and see if you can work at least one new one into your next writing session.

Still looking for more writing ideas? Try repurposing our 100+ easy drawing ideas for characters, settings, or plot points in your writing.

Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.

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Using Creative Words and Phrases for Composition Writing & Essays

  • Primary School Composition Writing

Using Creative Words and Phrases for Composition Writing & Essays

Using Creative Words and Phrases for Composition Writing & Essays

How to use creative words and phrases for composition writing & essays.

This blog post will teach you how to use creative and inspired phrases for composition writing.  It will also give you examples and ideas of Idioms, Similes, Metaphors or Personification that you can use in your compositions.

But first, here’s a Free Ebook –  80 Awesome Phrases to Wow your Teacher !

(Tip: You can print out the free ebook for your child to read.)

good phrases for composition writing

Do You Really Need Good Phrases for Composition Writing?

No, you don’t.  Your child should not use good phrases just for the sake of impressing the reader.  Your child should concentrate on using the RIGHT PHRASE for the RIGHT SITUATION .  (In fact, our collection of Model Compositions for Primary School Students does not contain pompous, bombastic words or phrases.)

And to do so, your child needs to have a broad knowledge of a variety of phrases.  That way, he will be well-equipped with an arsenal of words to express himself fluently and smoothly.

Many parents misunderstand the use of good vocabulary words for essays.  They force their child to memorise bombastic words and phrases.  This should not be the case as memorisation does not equal application.  Students tend to memorise the phrases and then use them in the wrong context when writing.  This causes the students’ writing to become stilted and mechanical.  Some may even become addicted to the use of bombastic vocabulary and end up writing overly-complicated sentences or phrases to look smart.

Now which is smarter – expressing yourself in a short and sweet manner, or, writing a whole bunch of fancy and pompous words just to narrate a simple thought?

Instead of “good phrases”, focus on using – EFFECTIVE PHRASES.

It’s okay to use simple phrases!  Keep your sentences short, concise, and straight to the point.  Use the right words at the right time.  Express your ideas fluently.

Remember – You are writing to let the reader read for the sake of enjoyment.  You are not writing to IMPRESS the reader.

Bonus Video – How To Use Good Expressions in Composition Writing:

Here’s an online lesson I conducted some time back on how to use Good Expressions in your compositions.  It is very similar to what I address in the article later on How to Write Good Phrases.

It’s about 1 hour long so you may want to set aside some time to watch it. (You can also fast forward to 6:09 to skip straight to the introduction and then the lesson.)

Types of Descriptive Phrases

“Good Phrases” can be broken down into:


An idiom is an expression of words whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements. (Definition taken from )

In other words, an idiom is a quirky series of words combined to form a special meaning.

Idioms should be used sparingly in a composition.  Do not overuse them as it may make your overall composition sound very cheesy or old-fashioned.  Some idioms are also not commonly used in our everyday speech. Hence, over-usage of the less well-known idioms might make reading awkward.

Some Useful Idioms

1. An arm and a leg –  Very expensive or costly.

E.g: Dining at this high-class restaurant cost me an arm and a leg !  I will never return here again.

2. Blessing in disguise – something good that was not recognized at first.

E.g:  Missing that field trip turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the school bus met with an accident.

3. Piece of cake – used to describe something that is very easy to do.

E.g:  This assignment was a piece of cake .  I completed in less that fifteen minutes

4. Not to make head or tail of something – unable to decipher or understand the meaning

E.g:  The teacher was talking so fast that I could not make head or tail of what he was saying.

5. See eye to eye – to agree with someone

E.g:  Jack and Diane kept on quarreling as they could not see eye to eye with each other.

For more useful idioms, you check out  our LIST of 88 AWESOME IDIOMS that you can learn and apply immediately.  Boost your language marks for compo writing and WOW your teacher!

Click the button below to download this free ebook for your child!

impressive phrases for creative writing

  • Simple & Easy-to-use
  • Minimal Memory Work
  • Examples provided
  • Learn the meaning of these idioms!

It is a figure of speech where one thing is compared with another thing of a different kind.

It is used to make a description more vivid or to draw out a particular quality of the subject being mentioned.

Similes are used with the words “like” or “as…as”.

Similes are best used when they are original, creative, relevant and logical.  A simile which has been used too many times  – “as fast as a cheetah” or “as fast as lightning” –  will not score you extra points.

Chattering like monkeys - how to use good phrases

Some Useful Similes

1.The students were chattering like monkeys .

2. The winner of the race paraded around the track like a peacock .

3. We tried to carry him but he was as heavy as an elephant .

4.  The signboards were as bright as daylight .

5. When she heard someone call her name in the dark, she turned as pale as a sheet .

6. Filled with rage, the bully charged towards me like a bull .

7. The boys were laughing like hyenas when they pulled off the prank.

8. Don’t worry about her.  She can handle it herself.  She is as tough as nails !

9. When the exams commenced, the classroom became  as silent as a grave .

10. On the last day of school, Jimmy dashed out of the school gates feeling as free as a bird .

A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something that is not literally applicable to suggest a resemblance.  (definition taken from ).

In other words, it is almost like a simile, except you are not using the words ‘like’ or ‘as…as’.

as angry as a bull - how to use good phrases for composition writing

Simile:  He was as angry as a bull.

Metaphor: He was an angry bull.

Metaphors are slightly more difficult to use than similes.  But when they are used right, they can give an extremely vivid portrayal of a character or a situation in the story.

A metaphor applied correctly can be a very powerful tool in writing.

Some Useful Metaphors

1. She felt a whirlwind of emotions passed through her.  ( overwhelmed by emotions)

2. Don’t believe that fortune-teller.  He is selling you snake oil .  (metaphorical idiom, fake promises, products or services that fail to live up to expectations, something fraudulent)

3. Mr Tan is a teacher with a heart of gold .  ( very kind or generous)

4.  Stay away from him.  He is a loaded gun . (dangerous)

5.  When the basketball team got off the bus, we could smell the stench of defeat on them.  ( they acted in such a way that it was easy to deduce that they have lost)

6. After failing her exams, Shirley wallowed in a sea of self-pity .  ( metaphorical idiom, overwhelmed by self-pity)

7. He was so sad that he was crying rivers . (a lot of tears)

8.  Sean’s stomach was a bottomless pit . ( extremely hungry, describe someone who cannot stop eating.)

9. Completing this assignment was a breeze . ( very easy to complete)

10.  Hearing her laughter was music to my ears .  (a pleasant sound)

Personification is done by attributing human characteristics to something non-human.

This is used to give a clearer picture of whatever that’s being described.  It enables the reader visualise and see the imagery in their minds.

Personification can be done by simple usage of verbs or action words.

Just like metaphors, personification can count as good vocabulary words for essay writing.

personification -sun - how to use good phrases for composition writing -edited

Some Useful Ideas for Personification

1. The thunderstorm raged on outside my window.

2. The soft, cool sand caressed my feet.

3. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds.

4. I could hear the faint wail of the ambulance in a distance.

5. The moment I stepped out into the streets, I was greeted by the strong diesel fumes.

6. The trees shadowed the soldiers as they trekked through the forest.

7. The sports car roared  with ferocity as it zoomed past the spectators.

8. The road was treacherous and unforgiving .

9. The expensive handbag seemed to call out to her.  “Buy me!”

10. By the time the firemen arrived, the flames were already dancing on the roof.

How to come up with your own phrases?

The best descriptions are often ones that you come up with on the spot, that can fit the scenario or context that you are describing perfectly.

Coming up with good phrases for composition writing is not that hard.  All you need is an inquisitive mind that is able to draw comparisons between 2 unrelated objects.

You need to be creative –  a trait that is inherent in most children.

You need to be able to come up with fresh ideas and fresh perspectives.

Some questions to ask yourself when coming up with good vocabulary words for essays:

  • How can I better depict this character/scene/object by comparing it with something else?
  • What’s a better verb I can use to personify this object?
  • How can I make this phrase or sentence more interesting for the reader?
  • How can I better convey my point across to the reader?
  • How can I help the reader to visualise better?

How to write a good essay in English?

DON’T be so preoccupied with employing gargantuan words in your expositions that your sentence ends up reading like this. See what I did there?

Often students pepper their essays with “smart-sounding” words to impress their examiners. This has the opposite effect; readers are left scratching their heads, wondering what message the student is trying to convey.

The best way to resist this impulse is to replace bombastic words with effective ones. “Bombastic”, according to Oxford Languages, means “high-sounding but with little meaning”. When you use bombastic words, you may just end up using words in the wrong context . You also tend to make errors of repetition by force-fitting all the words you know into your compo.

Consider this sentence: “The enraptured onlookers were jolted and entranced by the spine-tingling sight of the sunset.”

Did you spot the errors?

1. “Enraptured” and “entranced” mean the same thing. (Repetition)

2. “Jolted” means “shocked”. (Wrong context. This is a sunset, not a horror movie!)

3. “Spine-tinging” means “scary”. (Again, wrong context.)

Here’s the revised sentence: “The onlookers were left mesmerised by the breathtaking sunset.”

By replacing bombastic words with effective ones, you’re well on your way to writing a good essay in English.

Good vocabulary words for essays

vector image showing girl studying on good vocabulary for writing good phrases

Good vocabulary forms the bedrock of an essay, so it is important to use vocabulary that is appropriate, yet not overused and therefore, cliched. Let’s begin with the introduction.


The introduction is where you set the scene for your reader. Use descriptive phrases that vividly describes the setting. Word of caution: do not overdo the setting descriptions, especially when the setting plays no role in your story plot.

  • Use vivid vocabulary instead of vague adjectives :

For instance, replace vague adjectives like “beautiful” with more precise vocabulary. If you’re describing places like a quiet beach or park, “ serene ” and “tranquil ” can be used instead.

If you’re describing greenery, “verdant” is more appropriate and paints a more vivid picture in your reader’s mind:

e,g, “My parents and I were at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, enjoying a peaceful afternoon amidst the verdant expanse of lush trees and vibrant flower beds, blissfully unaware that things would soon take an unexpected turn.”

  • Use creative phrases instead of cliches :

It’s high time we ditch cliched phrases about how “fluffy clouds dotted the azure sky”. This does not impress your reader!

Consider this other cliched phrase: “The smell of buttery popcorn wafted into my nostrils.”

What a yawn! Let’s improve by rewriting it as follows: “The smell of buttery popcorn beckoned to me, tantalising my senses.” You have effectively personified the smell of the popcorn and in doing so, you convey just how tempted you were by it!

Rising Action

vector image of man hopping on graph chart showing rising action for writing

Things are heating up here and if you want to keep your readers on their toes, use suspenseful language to plant clues. This is especially useful if your story is about an unfortunate event or something unexpected.

When something seems a little amiss, hint at the impending problem using phrases such as:

1. Something gnawed at the back of my mind, but I brushed it off.

2. I could not shake the feeling of…

3. I could feel it in my bones; something was not right.

4. I felt a tug of apprehension in my gut, subtle but persistent.

5. The birdsong abruptly ceased, as if nature itself were holding its breath.

This is where the main conflict or action occurs and where vocabulary should be impactful . Once again, stand out from the crowd by using high-intensity words (and avoid using “very”) to create excitement!

  • Use impactful, highly charged vocabulary instead of dull phrases :
  • Use “show, not tell” instead of stating the facts :

This means showing, not telling , the reader what your character is thinking and feeling. In doing so, you engage the reader and make your writing a whole lot more immersive! When the reader can picture your character, you evoke a deeper emotional response.

Consider these two descriptions:

  • Jane was devastated but determinedly continued on.
  • Hastily wiping her tears away, Jane bit her lip and marched ahead.

Ask yourself: which one is more impactful? Which description draws you in and allows you to feel Jane’s pain?

Falling Action

vector image of young man reading a book - falling action for writing

Here’s the part where the dust settles. Common emotions experienced by characters include relief (usually after negative events) and happiness (for positive outcomes).

  • Use body language to convey emotions like relief or joy

Your characters don’t always have to ‘heave/ breathe a sigh of relief”. There are plenty of other “show, not tell” or body language phrases we can use to convey relief:

1. Unclenching my fists, I…

2. Marcus slumped in his chair in relief .

3. She let out a long breath , thankful for the brief reprieve.

4. A soft smile played on her lips as worry washed away.

5. He wiped his brow as anxiety finally ebbed away

  • Explore using new idioms and metaphors to convey emotions

While “jumped for joy” and “over the moon” do show happiness, it’s time to retire these and adopt some new lingo! Try these instead:

1. Benjamin was walking on air after winning the championship.

2. The blushing bride graced us with a smile that could light up a room .

3. I was tickled pink after being personally invited to Taylor Swift’s birthday bash.

Belle walked up on stage with a spring in her step .

  • Capture complexity of emotions to create round (not flat) characters

More advanced writers might want to play around with describing more nuanced feelings because human emotions are complex! We often experience bittersweet emotions like joy tinged with melancholy.

Consider descriptions that capture this complexity. For instance, if describing a graduation,  you can try: “The valedictorian gave the graduating class a wistful smile as he prepared to throw up his mortarboard for the final hurrah.”

This lends more depth to your characters; this makes your characters three-dimensional, rounded … and real.

vector image of 6 different characters - good vocabulary characters

Leave the reader with a thought-provoking statement as you wrap up your final scene. You do your essay no favours by ending with crutch phrases about how “this memory will always be etched in his mind”.  

  • Use reflective vocabulary and words that convey closure:

1. Mulling over the day’s events, she…

2. Sandra was lost in a pleasant reverie as the jubilant cheers of her teammates faded into the backdrop.

3. Cristopher kept turning things over in his mind until he finally concluded that…

  • Use vivid descriptions to end with imagery:

1. Rain pattered against the window, washing away the dust of the day.

2. I stared at my reflection in the gleaming medal and saw, for the first time, a champion.

Remember, the best conclusions should leave the reader satisfied, bring closure, and create a lasting impression. And that’s how you end with a bang. 

See other related articles on Writing Samurai:

  • Proverbs are Phrases Commonly Used in Compositions
  • 6 Tips On How to Write a Good Composition For Primary School Students
  • Great Phrases To Use For Composition Writing & Essays
  • Situational Writing For Primary School Students

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Here’s an ebook of good phrases that your child can use to describe emotions, $15    free for a limited time only.

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  • 40 Useful Words and Phrases for Top-Notch Essays

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To be truly brilliant, an essay needs to utilise the right language. You could make a great point, but if it’s not intelligently articulated, you almost needn’t have bothered.

Developing the language skills to build an argument and to write persuasively is crucial if you’re to write outstanding essays every time. In this article, we’re going to equip you with the words and phrases you need to write a top-notch essay, along with examples of how to utilise them.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and there will often be other ways of using the words and phrases we describe that we won’t have room to include, but there should be more than enough below to help you make an instant improvement to your essay-writing skills.

If you’re interested in developing your language and persuasive skills, Oxford Royale offers summer courses at its Oxford Summer School , Cambridge Summer School , London Summer School , San Francisco Summer School and Yale Summer School . You can study courses to learn english , prepare for careers in law , medicine , business , engineering and leadership.

General explaining

Let’s start by looking at language for general explanations of complex points.

1. In order to

Usage: “In order to” can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument. Example: “In order to understand X, we need first to understand Y.”

2. In other words

Usage: Use “in other words” when you want to express something in a different way (more simply), to make it easier to understand, or to emphasise or expand on a point. Example: “Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they live on the land and in the water.”

3. To put it another way

Usage: This phrase is another way of saying “in other words”, and can be used in particularly complex points, when you feel that an alternative way of wording a problem may help the reader achieve a better understanding of its significance. Example: “Plants rely on photosynthesis. To put it another way, they will die without the sun.”

4. That is to say

Usage: “That is” and “that is to say” can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise. Example: “Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.”

5. To that end

Usage: Use “to that end” or “to this end” in a similar way to “in order to” or “so”. Example: “Zoologists have long sought to understand how animals communicate with each other. To that end, a new study has been launched that looks at elephant sounds and their possible meanings.”

Adding additional information to support a point

Students often make the mistake of using synonyms of “and” each time they want to add further information in support of a point they’re making, or to build an argument . Here are some cleverer ways of doing this.

6. Moreover

Usage: Employ “moreover” at the start of a sentence to add extra information in support of a point you’re making. Example: “Moreover, the results of a recent piece of research provide compelling evidence in support of…”

7. Furthermore

Usage:This is also generally used at the start of a sentence, to add extra information. Example: “Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that…”

8. What’s more

Usage: This is used in the same way as “moreover” and “furthermore”. Example: “What’s more, this isn’t the only evidence that supports this hypothesis.”

9. Likewise

Usage: Use “likewise” when you want to talk about something that agrees with what you’ve just mentioned. Example: “Scholar A believes X. Likewise, Scholar B argues compellingly in favour of this point of view.”

10. Similarly

Usage: Use “similarly” in the same way as “likewise”. Example: “Audiences at the time reacted with shock to Beethoven’s new work, because it was very different to what they were used to. Similarly, we have a tendency to react with surprise to the unfamiliar.”

11. Another key thing to remember

Usage: Use the phrase “another key point to remember” or “another key fact to remember” to introduce additional facts without using the word “also”. Example: “As a Romantic, Blake was a proponent of a closer relationship between humans and nature. Another key point to remember is that Blake was writing during the Industrial Revolution, which had a major impact on the world around him.”

12. As well as

Usage: Use “as well as” instead of “also” or “and”. Example: “Scholar A argued that this was due to X, as well as Y.”

13. Not only… but also

Usage: This wording is used to add an extra piece of information, often something that’s in some way more surprising or unexpected than the first piece of information. Example: “Not only did Edmund Hillary have the honour of being the first to reach the summit of Everest, but he was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.”

14. Coupled with

Usage: Used when considering two or more arguments at a time. Example: “Coupled with the literary evidence, the statistics paint a compelling view of…”

15. Firstly, secondly, thirdly…

Usage: This can be used to structure an argument, presenting facts clearly one after the other. Example: “There are many points in support of this view. Firstly, X. Secondly, Y. And thirdly, Z.

16. Not to mention/to say nothing of

Usage: “Not to mention” and “to say nothing of” can be used to add extra information with a bit of emphasis. Example: “The war caused unprecedented suffering to millions of people, not to mention its impact on the country’s economy.”

Words and phrases for demonstrating contrast

When you’re developing an argument, you will often need to present contrasting or opposing opinions or evidence – “it could show this, but it could also show this”, or “X says this, but Y disagrees”. This section covers words you can use instead of the “but” in these examples, to make your writing sound more intelligent and interesting.

17. However

Usage: Use “however” to introduce a point that disagrees with what you’ve just said. Example: “Scholar A thinks this. However, Scholar B reached a different conclusion.”

18. On the other hand

Usage: Usage of this phrase includes introducing a contrasting interpretation of the same piece of evidence, a different piece of evidence that suggests something else, or an opposing opinion. Example: “The historical evidence appears to suggest a clear-cut situation. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence presents a somewhat less straightforward picture of what happened that day.”

19. Having said that

Usage: Used in a similar manner to “on the other hand” or “but”. Example: “The historians are unanimous in telling us X, an agreement that suggests that this version of events must be an accurate account. Having said that, the archaeology tells a different story.”

20. By contrast/in comparison

Usage: Use “by contrast” or “in comparison” when you’re comparing and contrasting pieces of evidence. Example: “Scholar A’s opinion, then, is based on insufficient evidence. By contrast, Scholar B’s opinion seems more plausible.”

21. Then again

Usage: Use this to cast doubt on an assertion. Example: “Writer A asserts that this was the reason for what happened. Then again, it’s possible that he was being paid to say this.”

22. That said

Usage: This is used in the same way as “then again”. Example: “The evidence ostensibly appears to point to this conclusion. That said, much of the evidence is unreliable at best.”

Usage: Use this when you want to introduce a contrasting idea. Example: “Much of scholarship has focused on this evidence. Yet not everyone agrees that this is the most important aspect of the situation.”

Adding a proviso or acknowledging reservations

Sometimes, you may need to acknowledge a shortfalling in a piece of evidence, or add a proviso. Here are some ways of doing so.

24. Despite this

Usage: Use “despite this” or “in spite of this” when you want to outline a point that stands regardless of a shortfalling in the evidence. Example: “The sample size was small, but the results were important despite this.”

25. With this in mind

Usage: Use this when you want your reader to consider a point in the knowledge of something else. Example: “We’ve seen that the methods used in the 19th century study did not always live up to the rigorous standards expected in scientific research today, which makes it difficult to draw definite conclusions. With this in mind, let’s look at a more recent study to see how the results compare.”

26. Provided that

Usage: This means “on condition that”. You can also say “providing that” or just “providing” to mean the same thing. Example: “We may use this as evidence to support our argument, provided that we bear in mind the limitations of the methods used to obtain it.”

27. In view of/in light of

Usage: These phrases are used when something has shed light on something else. Example: “In light of the evidence from the 2013 study, we have a better understanding of…”

28. Nonetheless

Usage: This is similar to “despite this”. Example: “The study had its limitations, but it was nonetheless groundbreaking for its day.”

29. Nevertheless

Usage: This is the same as “nonetheless”. Example: “The study was flawed, but it was important nevertheless.”

30. Notwithstanding

Usage: This is another way of saying “nonetheless”. Example: “Notwithstanding the limitations of the methodology used, it was an important study in the development of how we view the workings of the human mind.”

Giving examples

Good essays always back up points with examples, but it’s going to get boring if you use the expression “for example” every time. Here are a couple of other ways of saying the same thing.

31. For instance

Example: “Some birds migrate to avoid harsher winter climates. Swallows, for instance, leave the UK in early winter and fly south…”

32. To give an illustration

Example: “To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s look at the case of…”

Signifying importance

When you want to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, there are several ways of highlighting it as such.

33. Significantly

Usage: Used to introduce a point that is loaded with meaning that might not be immediately apparent. Example: “Significantly, Tacitus omits to tell us the kind of gossip prevalent in Suetonius’ accounts of the same period.”

34. Notably

Usage: This can be used to mean “significantly” (as above), and it can also be used interchangeably with “in particular” (the example below demonstrates the first of these ways of using it). Example: “Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.”

35. Importantly

Usage: Use “importantly” interchangeably with “significantly”. Example: “Importantly, Scholar A was being employed by X when he wrote this work, and was presumably therefore under pressure to portray the situation more favourably than he perhaps might otherwise have done.”


You’ve almost made it to the end of the essay, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to end by wrapping up everything you’ve talked about, showing that you’ve considered the arguments on both sides and reached the most likely conclusion. Here are some words and phrases to help you.

36. In conclusion

Usage: Typically used to introduce the concluding paragraph or sentence of an essay, summarising what you’ve discussed in a broad overview. Example: “In conclusion, the evidence points almost exclusively to Argument A.”

37. Above all

Usage: Used to signify what you believe to be the most significant point, and the main takeaway from the essay. Example: “Above all, it seems pertinent to remember that…”

38. Persuasive

Usage: This is a useful word to use when summarising which argument you find most convincing. Example: “Scholar A’s point – that Constanze Mozart was motivated by financial gain – seems to me to be the most persuasive argument for her actions following Mozart’s death.”

39. Compelling

Usage: Use in the same way as “persuasive” above. Example: “The most compelling argument is presented by Scholar A.”

40. All things considered

Usage: This means “taking everything into account”. Example: “All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that…”

How many of these words and phrases will you get into your next essay? And are any of your favourite essay terms missing from our list? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch here to find out more about courses that can help you with your essays.

At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer a number of  summer school courses for young people who are keen to improve their essay writing skills. Click here to apply for one of our courses today, including law , business , medicine  and engineering .

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Get Inspired: 101 Creative Writing Prompts You Can’t Ignore

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on September 3, 2023

Categories Writing , Creative Writing

You’re staring at a blank page, ideas just out of reach. Don’t fret! Creative writing prompts are your golden ticket to inspiration. They’ll ignite your imagination, help you conquer writer’s block and even refine your writing style.

Whether it’s poetry or prose, there’s a prompt for you. So let’s dive into the world of creative writing prompts; who knows what stories you’ll uncover?

Key Takeaways

  • Writing prompts ignite imagination and help overcome writer’s block.
  • Prompts can lead to undiscovered terrains or provide a fresh perspective on familiar grounds.
  • Using prompts helps overcome writer’s block and boosts motivation.
  • Unconventional prompts stimulate innovative thinking.

101 Creative Writing Prompts

Here are 101 creative writing prompts to get your imaginative juices flowing:

  • Write about your earliest memory.
  • Imagine you woke up one day with a superpower. What would it be and how would you use it?
  • You’re home alone and hear a noise coming from upstairs. What happens next?
  • Describe a typical day in your life 20 years from now. What does your future look like?
  • Pick two random objects and write a story involving them.
  • You find a mysterious box on your doorstep. What’s inside and how does it change your life?
  • Rewrite a fairy tale from the antagonist’s perspective.
  • A giant sinkhole suddenly appears in your backyard. Where does it lead?
  • You’re an astronaut on the first mission to Mars. Describe your experience.
  • Write a poem about your favorite season.
  • You find an old lamp and give it a rub. A genie appears and grants you three wishes. What do you wish for?
  • You wake up one day and can understand what animals are saying. What conversations do you overhear?
  • Describe a memorable experience you had with one of your grandparents or other older relative.
  • Write a story featuring a character who discovers something extraordinary in an ordinary setting.
  • Pick an object close by and write a story about its origins.
  • You find a wallet on the sidewalk containing $1000 and the ID of its owner. What do you do?
  • Write a poem from the perspective of an insect.
  • Describe your perfect weekend. Where are you, who are you with, and what are you doing?
  • Write a letter to your future self offering advice about life.
  • Imagine you switched places with your pet for a day. What would happen?
  • Pick two celebrities and write a story about them meeting for the first time.
  • Write a scene featuring a character who panics in a humorous way.
  • Describe a pleasant early morning in the city from the point of view of a pigeon.
  • Pick a color and describe how it makes you feel.
  • Rewrite a scene from a book or movie from a minor character’s perspective.
  • You find an old faded photograph with a mysterious figure in the background. Write a story about who it is.
  • Describe a memorable experience you had involving music.
  • Write a poem using nature imagery to describe a strong emotion.
  • Imagine you could live in any fictional world. Which would you choose and why?
  • You’re house-sitting for relatives and think you hear an intruder late at night. What happens?
  • Pick two famous people from different time periods and write about them meeting.
  • Describe a memorable teacher who had an impact on your life.
  • Imagine you could teleport anywhere in the universe. Where would you go? What would you do there?
  • You find a door to an alternate universe in your attic. What’s on the other side?
  • Write a poem about someone or something that inspires you.
  • Describe a moment when you felt completely at peace.
  • Imagine you could talk to animals. Write a conversation between you and your pet.
  • Describe a vibrant outdoor market using all five senses.
  • Pick an occupation and describe a “day in the life” from that perspective.
  • You accidentally travel 100 years into the future. How is life different?
  • Tell the story of your first kiss.
  • Write a scene featuring a character who loses something important.
  • Pick two mythical creatures and imagine them meeting for the first time.
  • Describe a memorable experience you had with a grandparent or older friend.
  • Imagine you’re the first person selected to live on Mars. What is your experience like?
  • Describe your perfect summer day.
  • Rewrite a scene from a well-known story from the perspective of a side character.
  • Write about a risk that paid off for you.
  • Imagine you can spend the day with any person from history. Who would you choose and why?
  • Write a story that begins with this line: “It was the day that changed everything.”
  • Describe your neighborhood on a lively summer evening using all five senses.
  • You find a magic wand that allows you to change one thing about yourself. What do you change and why?
  • Write about a teacher who had a meaningful impact on you.
  • Imagine you wake up one morning with the ability to fly. What do you do?
  • Someone close to you is keeping an important secret. Write the reveal scene.
  • Describe a place from your childhood that was very special to you. What made it so memorable?
  • Pick two of your favorite fictional characters from different stories and imagine them meeting for the first time.
  • You’re house-sitting in a remote cabin and strange things start happening late at night. What happens next?
  • Rewrite a classic fairy tale in a modern setting.
  • Write a story featuring a character who uncovers a family secret. What’s the secret and how is it revealed?
  • Describe the view out your window right now using poetic imagery.
  • Pick a common object and write a short horror story about it.
  • Imagine you could travel back in time. What year would you visit and why? What would you do there?
  • Write a scene featuring two characters meeting for the first time and getting off on the wrong foot.
  • Describe a memorable experience you had involving the ocean.
  • Rewrite a pivotal scene from a book or movie from the perspective of a background character.
  • Pick two exotic locations and describe someone traveling from one to the other.
  • Write a story featuring a character who discovers something they shouldn’t have.
  • Write about a risk that didn’t pay off for you. What lesson did you learn?
  • Imagine you switch places with someone close to you for a day. What do you learn from the experience?
  • Describe a memorable act of kindness you performed or received.
  • Pick an animal and imagine you can spend the day seeing through its eyes. What do you experience?
  • Write a scene featuring a character who loses their temper in a spectacular fashion.
  • Describe your perfect day ten years from now. Where are you, what are you doing, and who is with you?
  • Write a poem describing a vivid childhood memory.
  • Imagine you dig up a time capsule from your childhood. What’s inside and what memories does it spark?
  • Write about a place you visited that made you exceptionally happy. What was special about it?
  • Describe the best and worst parts of your morning routine.
  • Pick two musicians from different eras and imagine them collaborating on a song. How does their style mesh?
  • Write a story that begins: “I never would have discovered the secret if it weren’t for…”
  • Describe a misadventure you had while traveling. What happened and what did you learn?
  • Imagine you can inhabit the body of someone else for a day. Whose body and life do you experience?
  • Write a poem inspired by a piece of art or music.
  • Imagine you find an abandoned campsite deep in the woods. What do you discover there?
  • Pick two characters from different children’s books and imagine them meeting for an adventure.
  • Describe the scariest place you have ever visited. What made it so frightening?
  • Write about a time you felt caught in the middle of two sides of an argument. How did you handle it?
  • Imagine you discover a hidden room in your home. What’s inside and how does it get there?
  • Describe how it feels to come in first place in a competition.
  • Pick two favorite TV or movie characters from when you were a child and imagine them meeting.
  • Write a story about someone who wakes up to find the world is deserted.
  • Imagine you could become invisible for a day. What would you do?
  • Describe your zaniest friend. Include what makes them fun to be around.
  • Pick two movies, books or TV shows in different genres and imagine a character from each meeting for the first time.
  • Rewrite a scene from your favorite book from a minor character’s perspective.
  • Describe a holiday celebration from your childhood and what made it memorable.
  • Imagine you discover objects from another dimension popping up around your home. Describe them.
  • Write a story featuring a character who gets lost in the woods.
  • Imagine you can switch two movie characters. How would the plot change?
  • Describe an ordinary object in an extraordinary way.
  • Free write for 15 minutes without stopping. Afterward, review what you wrote and mine it for story ideas.

Exploring the Concept of Creative Writing Prompts

Ize A Magnifying Glass Revealing Layers Of A Crumpled Paper Ball, With Each Layer Representing A Different Creative Writing Prompt, Against A Backdrop Of A Feather Quill And Inkwell

You’re about to delve into the concept of creative writing prompts.

Picture this. You’re standing at a gateway to countless worlds, each shaped by your imagination. The key to this gateway? Writing prompts.

Prompt selection criteria is vital here. It’s not just about picking any random prompt; it’s about selecting one that resonates with you, sparks your creativity and propels your story forward.

Some might steer you towards undiscovered terrains while others could guide you back to familiar grounds with a fresh perspective.

Now comes the art of prompt adaptation methods – twisting, turning and tweaking these prompts until they fit snugly into your narrative. They’re not rigid commands but flexible suggestions waiting for you to mold them into your unique masterpiece.

The Importance of Using Writing Prompts

 Vintage Notebook With A Feather Quill Hovering Above, Ink Pot Nearby, Surrounded By Various Symbols Of Creativity: A Lit Light Bulb, A Palette, And A Crumpled Paper Trail Leading To A Golden Key

Imagine you’re standing on the edge of a vast ocean of words, ready to dive in but not sure where to start. That’s where writing prompts come in – they’re your diving board, pushing you into the depths of creativity and helping boost your writing skills.

With their aid, you’ll unlock new levels of imaginative thinking and overcome that pesky writer’s block that’s been holding you back.

Enhancing Writing Skills

Don’t underestimate the importance of enhancing your writing skills; it’s a crucial aspect of effective communication. Dive into the sea of grammar enhancement, let every wave refine your punctuation and syntax.

Feel the transformation as you evolve from choppy sentences to flowing prose, replacing dull words with vibrant ones through vocabulary expansion.

Imagine yourself in a bustling marketplace of words, picking up exotic verbs and adjectives like rare spices.

You’re not merely expanding your vocabulary; you’re creating a palette for painting images with language that will captivate readers’ minds.

Prompting Creative Thinking

Let’s delve into strategies that stimulate innovative thinking, offering a fresh perspective to approach tasks and problem-solving. Unconventional prompts can be your secret weapon here.

Imagine you’re asked to write a story about an alien invasion but the aliens are invisible. Suddenly, the familiar trope is flipped on its head, pushing you beyond prompt limitations and sparking creativity.

Think of it as navigating through an exciting labyrinth of endless possibilities where each twist and turn unlocks new ideas.

Prompt limitations aren’t shackles; they’re stepping stones guiding you towards uncharted territories of imagination.

With unconventional prompts, you’re not just writing – you’re pioneering through a jungle of creativity, hacking through overgrown cliches with the machete of originality. Give it a shot – let unpredictability fuel your creative fires.

Overcoming Writer’s Block

How about if you hit a wall with your story?

The once vibrant world in your mind’s eye now feels as barren as a desert. But don’t sweat it. Overcoming writer’s block is not some arcane art. It just needs the right mix of motivational techniques and mental exercises.

Try visualizing your plot like an intricate puzzle; each word, sentence, and paragraph fitting together to form a grand design.

See yourself standing victorious on top of that daunting wall, manuscript in hand! This visualization exercise can fuel your motivation.

How about playing word games or free writing for ten minutes? These mental exercises stimulate creativity and can reignite the spark in you.

Remember, every great author has faced this challenge. You’re not alone in this battle against the blank page.

Techniques to Generate Creative Writing Ideas

Ical Scene Of An Open, Glowing Book, Emitting Vivid Symbols, A Lightbulb, And A Vibrant Storm Cloud, Set Against A Backdrop Of A Star-Lit Sky With A Crescent Moon

Dive headfirst into the whirlwind of creative possibilities with effective brainstorming session techniques. Unlock a treasure trove of ideas that might’ve remained hidden.

You’re about to harness the power of visual stimuli, transforming ordinary images into extraordinary stories that leap off the page.

And remember – your personal experiences aren’t just memories, they’re fuel for your imagination’s fire. Ready to be leveraged into captivating tales only you can tell.

Brainstorming Session Techniques

There’s a variety of techniques that can make your brainstorming sessions more effective and productive.

Imagine yourself at the helm of innovation, navigating prompt limitations while embracing prompt flexibility. This dance between constraint and freedom fuels creativity.

Limitations shape the challenge, providing a frame within which your ideas bounce around like lively pinballs, lighting up possibilities with every hit.

Flexibility, on the other hand, is an open window inviting fresh perspectives; it’s the permission to explore beyond borders.

Pair these concepts in your brainstorming session – let the prompts’ limitations guide you but don’t be afraid to flex those creative muscles! Embrace this dynamic interplay for it holds the key to unlock endless streams of ideas, turning your session into an exciting expedition of discovery.

Utilizing Visual Stimuli

Incorporating visual stimuli into your brainstorming process can spark new ideas and expand your thinking outside the box. Visual inspiration isn’t just about looking at art or beautiful landscapes; it’s about seeing things differently, allowing image interpretation to fuel your creativity.

Here’s how you can utilize visual stimuli:

  • Explore different forms of art – paintings, sculptures, graphic designs.
  • Take a walk in nature and absorb its beauty.
  • Flip through magazines or books with vibrant images.
  • Watch stimulating videos or movies.
  • Try visualizing abstract concepts in physical form.

Remember, it’s not about what you see but rather how you interpret what you see.

It’s time to push the boundaries of your imagination and let visuals trigger innovative thoughts.

Leveraging Personal Experiences

Leveraging personal experiences can significantly enhance your brainstorming process, as they’re a rich source of unique and original ideas. Imagine each memory as a colorful thread in the tapestry of your life; these threads don’t merely exist to decorate but also inspire.

Your personal narratives become vibrant brushes that paint strokes onto an empty canvas, bringing it to life with hues only you possess.

These experiential reflections are more than just recollections; they’re catalysts that trigger cascades of creativity. They form bridges connecting the real world to the realm of imagination, allowing you to explore uncharted territories within your own mind.

Diverse Types of Creative Writing Prompts

 Mosaic Of Diverse Hands, Each Holding A Different Symbol Of Creativity: A Quill, A Paintbrush, A Typewriter, A Camera, A Microphone, A Sketchpad, And A Colorful Swirl Of Imagination

You’ll find a wide variety of creative writing prompts, each designed to spark different ideas and encourage unique storytelling.

These ‘Prompt Varieties’ are key in ‘Evolving Creativity’. They are the secret sauce that boosts your imagination, enhancing your ability to weave tales out of thin air.

  • Picture Prompts: A single image can inspire a thousand words.
  • Word Play Prompts: Challenge yourself with homophones or synonyms.
  • Dialogue Prompts: A snippet of conversation that ignites a narrative.
  • Music-Inspired Prompts: Let rhythm and lyrics move your creativity.
  • Thematic Prompts: Get lost in specific genres or settings.

How to Use Prompts for Poetry Writing

, Antique Inkwell Beside A Quill, On A Rustic Desk Strewn With Colorful Fall Leaves

Dive headfirst into the realm of poetry, where your task is choosing an ideal prompt to ignite your imagination.

You’re on a quest, not just for any prompt but one that resonates with you, one that tickles your creative instincts and sets them aflame.

Let’s unravel together how this careful selection can be a beacon, guiding your poetic journey towards fresh inspiration, new perspectives, and uncharted emotional depths.

Choosing Appropriate Prompts

It’s important to consider your audience when picking a suitable creative writing prompt. Your Prompt Selection process should involve understanding what resonates with them, ensuring the Prompt Suitability for their taste and level of understanding.

Take into account these elements:

  • Their age: Young readers might prefer adventurous tales, while an older audience may appreciate complex narratives.
  • Cultural background: Stories that reflect or respect their traditions could engage them more effectively.
  • Personal interests: Tailor your prompts around hobbies or passions they have.
  • Reading levels: Ensure the complexity aligns with their comprehension abilities.
  • Emotional connection: Themes they can emotionally connect with may spark better responses.

Inspiration Through Prompts

Drawing inspiration from cues can often spark an exceptional storyline, stirring a reader’s imagination and emotional connection. In the world of creative writing, this is where ‘Prompt Selection’ steps in.

Picture yourself scouring through a myriad of prompts, each one whispering its own unique challenge to your creativity.

The journey doesn’t end at selection; it merely evolves into ‘Prompt Evolution’. You’re not just choosing a prompt; you’re nurturing it, letting it grow within your mind until it blossoms into an intricate web of thoughts and ideas.

As you explore various interpretations, the initial prompt transcends its original form, morphing into something utterly personal and distinctive.

The ultimate goal? Crafting a narrative so engaging that every word captivates your readers, leaving them yearning for more.

Enhancing Fiction Writing With Creative Prompts

 Vintage Typewriter With A Floating, Glowing Bulb Above It, Surrounded By Colorful Bursts Representing Different Creative Ideas, All Set Against A Backdrop Of An Open Book

You’ll find that using creative prompts can significantly enhance your fiction writing skills. These tools are perfect for sharpening your mind, sparking new ideas, and injecting life into your narratives. Creative prompts help stimulate ‘Prompted Imagery’ allowing you to paint vivid pictures in the minds of your readers.

They also aid in ‘Fictional Worldbuilding’, helping you craft immersive universes with depth and detail.

Consider these benefits:

  • Prompts ignite the spark of inspiration.
  • They foster creativity and originality.
  • Prompts assist in developing dynamic characters.
  • They guide robust plot development.
  • Prompts catalyze innovative world building.

Understanding Prompts for Non-fiction Writing

Storm Cloud Filled With Symbolic Icons: A Pencil, A Book, A Magnifying Glass, A Light Bulb, A Globe

Imagine yourself standing at the edge of a vast landscape of reality, armed only with your words.

You’re about to dive into the world of non-fiction prompts, where you’ll learn not only how to define these nuggets of inspiration but also how to wield them effectively in your writing.

It’s more than just jotting down facts; it’s painting a vivid picture of life as we know it, using prompts as your guideposts along this journey.

Defining Non-fiction Prompts

Non-fiction prompts can be a great tool for you, particularly when you’re struggling to come up with ideas for your next writing project. They lend themselves perfectly to real-life narratives and autobiographical prompts, helping you dig into your experiences and viewpoints.

For instance, a prompt like ‘Describe a time when you faced a significant challenge’ could kickstart an engaging tale of adversity. Or ‘Write about someone who’s influenced your life’ might ignite the spark for an inspiring tribute.

The command to depict ‘Your most memorable journey’ may evoke vivid travel memories, while an invitation to explore ‘The best decision you’ve ever made’ provides room for introspection. Finally, crafting an answer to ‘What does home mean to you?’ can create an intensely personal piece.

Such prompts stimulate thought-provoking narratives that are rooted in reality yet utterly unique – just like your life story!

Utilizing Prompts Effectively

To make the most out of these thought-starters, it’s vital that you’re not just answering them superficially but really delving deep into your experiences and emotions.

The dance of prompt selection is like sifting through a treasure chest, each gem sparking a different story in your mind. Yet, it’s how you adapt to these prompts that truly defines their worth.

Think of prompt adaptation as painting with words; each stroke adds depth to your canvas. The slight change in perspective, the twist in interpretation, allows for a creative explosion. Don’t shy away from pushing boundaries or coloring outside the lines.

You’re an artist wielding language as your brush – let it flow freely and watch as the mundane turns magical.

Using Prompts for Character Development

N, Vintage Notebook With A Quill Pen, Surrounded By Colorful Drawings Of Diverse Characters Showing Various Emotions And Traits, Under A Soft, Inspirational Light

You’ll find that prompts can be a powerful tool for developing your characters in a story. They help you delve deep into the Character Backgrounds and Motivational Aspects of your personas, thus making them more relatable and real to your readers.

Consider these innovative ways to use prompts:

  • Use them as interview questions, asking your characters about their past, dreams, fears.
  • Incorporate them in scenarios to explore how they would react under different circumstances.
  • Apply them to reveal secrets or hidden aspects of their personalities.
  • Utilize them as tools to create conflict or tension between characters.
  • Engage with them as means to develop a character’s moral compass.

The Role of Prompts in Plot Creation

 Antique Book With A Golden Quill Pen, An Inkwell, Shining Light Bulbs Floating Out Of The Pages, And A Winding Path Made Of Words Leading To A Treasure Chest At The End

When it comes to plot creation, using these tools can help you construct a compelling narrative with gripping twists and turns. The role of prompts here is paramount. However, be mindful of prompt limitations that might stifle your creative juices; you must learn to navigate them skillfully.

Your imagination could take flight when met with unconventional prompts. They’re not your typical ‘write about a summer day’; no, they push you into uncharted territories, sparking innovative ideas.

Picture this: ‘Write from the perspective of a wilting flower.’ Unusual? Yes. But doesn’t it stir intrigue? It’s through such provocation that you weave intricate plots, ones that captivate and engage readers in unexpected ways.

Boosting Descriptive Skills Through Writing Prompts

Nt Landscape Of An Open Book With Pages Morphing Into Vivid, Swirling Galaxies, Colourful Metaphors And Similes, And Tactile Texture Symbols, Symbolizing The Enhancement Of Descriptive Skills

Expanding your vocabulary and exploring new ways to describe scenes can greatly enhance your storytelling abilities. Writing prompts not only push you out of comfort zones, but also allow you to experiment with the power of metaphors and sensory descriptions.

With every penned word, feel the sentences come alive as the sun doesn’t just set, it melts into the horizon like a dollop of fiery orange sorbet. Rain isn’t simply falling; it’s a symphony on rooftops creating an orchestra of droplets. A meadow isn’t green; it’s brushed with strokes of emerald splendor.

Imagine tasting colors or hearing fragrances. Let these prompts unlock your mind’s eye. Your readers aren’t just reading; they’re stepping into another world – yours!

Using Prompts for Writing Dialogue

Ate Two Quill Pens Engaged In A Lively Conversation, Surrounded By Thought Bubbles Filled With Various Symbols Representing Different Genres Like Mystery, Romance, Fantasy, And Drama

Dialogue isn’t just about conveying information; it’s a tool for character development and plot progression. When you’re using prompts for writing dialogue, focus on ‘dialogue realism’ and the ‘character’s voice’.

Imagine yourself in their shoes. Would they use big words or stick to simple slang? Do they have an accent that you can hint at through spelling and sentence structure?

Remember, every spoken word builds your character’s identity. It’s not just what they say, but how they say it that reveals their personality. The goal is to create engaging conversations that feel real to your readers as if they are eavesdropping on a private chat.

The Impact of Prompts on Writing Style

Riter With A Glowing Light Bulb Emerging From It, Surrounded By Different Styles Of Pens And Papers, All Cascading Into A Swirling Vortex Of Color

Stepping away from the chatter of dialogue prompts, let’s dive into the deep waters of how prompts can shape your writing style. Yes, you’ve got it—we’re exploring ‘Prompt Dependencies and Evolving Styles’.

Prompts aren’t just creative sparks; they could subtly influence how you spin a tale. Here’s why:

  • You adapt to different Prompt Dependencies , sharpening diverse aspects of your craft.
  • Prompts challenge you to write outside your comfort zone, evolving your style.
  • They help highlight strengths and expose weaknesses in your technique.
  • The constraints imposed by prompts often fuel creativity, enhancing storytelling abilities.
  • Experimenting with various prompts refines versatility, embracing an eclectic mix of styles.

The Connection Between Prompts and Emotional Engagement

Holding A Glowing Pen, Ink Transforming Into A Heart, With Diverse Human Figures Entranced By Its Luminescence, Standing On An Open Book

You might not realize it, but those intriguing cues you engage with can significantly heighten the emotional engagement in your narratives. They’re not just prompts, they’re sparks that ignite a bonfire of emotion within your storytelling.

Emotional resonance isn’t about crafting a plot; it’s about creating an atmosphere so palpable, your readers can taste the tension or joy in every word.

The magic lies in imbuing each character and scene with emotional authenticity. That’s where prompts come into play. You see, they challenge you to explore uncharted emotional territories and weave them seamlessly into your narrative fabric. They nudge you towards nuances that’d otherwise remain hidden, making for richer storytelling.

Overcoming Writer’s Block With Creative Prompts

Ered Writer'S Desk, Crumpled Papers Strewn About, A Glowing Light Bulb Hovering Over An Open Notebook, And A Green Path Leading From The Desk Into A Vibrant, Imaginative Landscape

When it’s like pulling teeth to get the words flowing, turning to imaginative cues can be your salvation from the dreaded writer’s block. Prompt selection and prompt evolution become your saviors in this bleak landscape of stalled creativity.

Consider these strategies:

  • Use prompt selection to choose a theme or situation that sparks your interest.
  • Allow for prompt evolution , letting one idea lead naturally to another.
  • Delve into character development prompts; they can reveal surprising paths for your story.
  • Don’t discount non-fiction prompts. Real-life situations often inspire compelling narratives.
  • Experiment with genre-specific prompts. They may open up new storytelling territories you’ve never explored before.

Tips to Create Your Own Writing Prompts

Ook With A Feather Quill Poised Above It, A Lightbulb Glowing Brightly Above The Quill, And Scattered Crumpled Papers Symbolizing Discarded Ideas Around The Notebook

Let’s dive into some handy tips for crafting your own engaging cues to inspire your storytelling.

Begin with prompt personalization; it’s about making the prompt uniquely yours. Think of experiences, thoughts, or ideas that only you can explore and weave them into your prompts.

Next, consider prompt categorization. This involves grouping prompts based on themes or genres. It’s not just a way to organize but also stimulates creative thinking by setting boundaries within which to play and innovate.

Lastly, ensure versatility in your prompts. They should be capable of inspiring different types of writing – from poetry to prose, fiction to memoirs.

Creating prompts isn’t just about overcoming writer’s block; it’s an exercise in creativity itself. So go ahead, make it fun!

So, you’ve dived deep into the world of creative writing prompts. Now you’re armed with techniques to generate ideas and strategies to conquer writer’s block.

Remember, these prompts are meant to spur your creativity and evoke emotion. Don’t shy away from crafting your own! They can drastically refine your style and keep your pen moving.

Embrace this exciting tool in your writing journey – let’s see where it takes you!

impressive phrases for creative writing

Unleashing Your Inner Writer: Creative Writing Prompts to Spark Your Creativity

impressive phrases for creative writing

Writing can be a profoundly rewarding experience, but every writer encounters moments when the blank page becomes a daunting adversary. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just beginning your writing journey, finding inspiration can sometimes be challenging. This is where writing prompts can become invaluable tools, helping to spark creativity and overcome writer’s block. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore a variety of writing prompts to spark your creativity, delve into the benefits of using them, and offer tips on how to incorporate them into your writing process.

The Power of Writing Prompts

Writing prompts are a fantastic way to ignite your imagination and get your creative juices flowing. They provide a starting point, a seed from which your story can grow. By offering a scenario, a character, or a theme, writing prompts can help you focus your thoughts and break through the barriers of writer’s block.

What Are Good Creative Writing Prompts?

Good creative writing prompts are those that resonate with you personally, challenge your imagination, and encourage you to explore new perspectives. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • Deserted Island: Imagine you are stranded on a deserted island. Describe your initial feelings and the steps you take to survive. What unexpected discoveries do you make?
  • Locked Door: Write about a time you found a locked door in your house that you had never noticed before. What lies behind it?
  • Time Machine: You stumble upon a time machine. Which time period do you visit, and what adventures await you there?
  • Car Accident: Describe a car accident from the perspective of an inanimate object involved in the crash.
  • Serial Killer: Write a short story where the main character realizes they are being followed by a serial killer.

These prompts can serve as catalysts for deeper exploration of themes and characters, pushing you to think outside the box and develop your writing skills.

How Do You Spark Creativity in Writing?

impressive phrases for creative writing

Sparking creativity in writing involves more than just finding the right prompt. It requires creating an environment conducive to creative work and developing habits that nurture your imagination. Here are some tips to help you spark your creativity:

1. Set the Scene

Create a comfortable and inspiring living space for your writing practice. Surround yourself with things that inspire you, such as books, art, or music. A dedicated writing area can help signal to your brain that it’s time to get creative.

2. Daily Writing Practice

Make writing a daily habit, even if it’s just for a few minutes. This consistent practice can help keep your creative juices flowing and make it easier to start writing, regardless of whether you feel inspired at the moment.

3. Read Widely

Reading a variety of genres and authors can expose you to different writing styles and story ideas, helping you develop your own voice and spark new ideas.

4. Engage in Other Creative Activities

Sometimes stepping away from writing and engaging in other creative activities, like drawing, painting, or taking photos, can provide a much-needed creative boost and help you return to your writing with fresh ideas.

Writing Prompts to Spark Your Creativity

Now that we’ve discussed how to create a conducive environment for writing, let’s delve into a variety of writing prompts designed to spark your creativity. These prompts are categorized to help you find the perfect one for your current mood and project.

Prompts for Short Stories

  • First Person Perspective: Write a short story from the perspective of your favorite fictional character visiting your hometown.
  • Plot Twists: Begin a story set in a seemingly normal life, then introduce an unexpected plot twist that changes everything.
  • Turning Point: Write about a turning point in a character’s life that leads them to self-discovery.

Creative Writing Prompts

  • Sci-Fi Adventure: Describe a future where humanity has colonized Mars. What challenges do the colonists face?
  • Historical Fiction: Write a story set in a different time period. How does the main character adapt to the cultural norms and challenges of that era?
  • Fantasy Realm: Create a detailed description of a magical land where mythical creatures coexist with humans. What conflicts arise?

Journal Prompts

  • Personal Insights: Write a journal entry about a time you overcame a significant challenge. What did you learn about yourself?
  • Past Self: If you could give advice to your younger self, what would you say? Write this as a diary entry.

Story Starters

  • Best Friend: Your best friend confesses a secret that changes your perception of them. What happens next?
  • Last Dream: Describe your last dream in vivid detail. How can it be turned into a story?

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Writer’s block can be a significant hurdle in the writing process. Here are some strategies to overcome it and keep your creative juices flowing:

1. Use Prompts to Spark Creativity

When you find yourself stuck, turn to writing prompts to spark your creativity. Even if the prompt doesn’t lead to a complete story, it can help you start writing and break through the block.

2. Change Your Environment

Sometimes a change of scenery can help clear your mind and provide new inspiration. Try writing in a different location, like a park, café, or library.

3. Set Small Goals

Instead of pressuring yourself to write a perfect story, set small, achievable goals. Write for five minutes, or aim to complete a single paragraph. This can make the task feel more manageable and less intimidating.

4. Embrace Imperfection

Remember that your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Allow yourself to write imperfectly and revise later. This can reduce the pressure and help you start writing.

Incorporating Writing Prompts into Your Writing Journey

impressive phrases for creative writing

Writing prompts can play a significant role in your writing journey, offering new ideas and helping you explore different formats and genres. Here are some ways to incorporate them into your writing routine:

1. Daily Warm-Up

Start your writing session with a prompt to warm up your creative muscles. Spend 10-15 minutes writing whatever comes to mind without worrying about grammar or structure.

2. Developing Story Ideas

Use prompts to brainstorm new story ideas. You can mix and match different writing prompts to create unique plots and characters.

3. Exploring Character Development

Prompts can help you delve deeper into your characters’ backgrounds and motivations. Write a scene from your main character’s past or a diary entry from their perspective.

4. Enhancing Writing Skills

Writing prompts can challenge you to experiment with different writing styles and techniques, improving your overall writing skills. Try writing in first person, using poetic language, or creating a story set in an unfamiliar genre.

Creative Writing Prompts for High School Students

High school students can benefit greatly from using writing prompts to enhance their writing skills and explore their creativity. Here are some prompts tailored for young writers:

  • Imagination Guide: Write a story where you and your best friend discover a hidden world inside your school.
  • Favorite Fictional Character: Imagine your favorite fictional character transfers to your school. How do they fit in, and what adventures do they have?
  • Normal Life to Extraordinary: Start with a day in the life of a high school student that takes an unexpected turn. How do they handle the new challenges?

Finding Inspiration from Famous Writers

Many famous writers have used writing prompts and exercises to spark their creativity and develop their craft. Here are a few techniques inspired by renowned authors:

1. Ray Bradbury’s List Technique

Ray Bradbury often created lists of nouns that intrigued him, using them as prompts for his stories. Try making your own list of evocative words or phrases and writing a story that incorporates them.

2. Ernest Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory

Hemingway believed in writing simply and allowing the deeper meaning to surface naturally. Use a prompt to write a scene with minimal description, focusing on subtext and underlying emotions.

3. Virginia Woolf’s Stream of Consciousness

Woolf’s writing often explored characters’ thoughts and feelings in a free-flowing manner. Choose a prompt and write a stream-of-consciousness piece from your character’s perspective.

Practical Tips for Starting a Creative Writing Prompt

impressive phrases for creative writing

Starting a creative writing prompt can sometimes be the hardest part. Here are some practical tips to help you dive in:

1. Set a Timer

Give yourself a specific amount of time, such as five or ten minutes, to write continuously without stopping. This can help you get over the initial hurdle and start writing.

2. Freewrite

Begin with a freewrite where you jot down any thoughts that come to mind related to the prompt. This can help you find a direction for your story.

3. Visualize the Scene

Take a moment to close your eyes and visualize the scene described in the prompt. Imagine the setting, characters, and actions. Then, write down what you see.

4. Ask Questions

Ask yourself questions about the prompt to explore different angles. Who are the characters? What motivates them? What challenges do they face?

Conclusion: Happy Writing!

Writing prompts are powerful tools that can help you overcome writer’s block, develop your writing skills, and spark your creativity. By incorporating prompts into your writing practice, you can explore new ideas, experiment with different styles, and embark on exciting creative journeys. Whether you’re a high school student, an aspiring novelist, or a seasoned writer, there are prompts to spark your creativity and inspire your next great story.

Remember, the key to successful writing is consistency and a willingness to explore new possibilities. So, grab your notebook or open your laptop, choose a prompt, and start writing. Happy writing!

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100 Tone Words to Express Mood in Your Writing

June 30, 2023

Have you ever struggled to find just the right word to describe an author’s attitude in a sentence or character in a scene? Or do you worry about repetitiveness in your word choice? Here is where exploring a wide range of tone or mood words will come in handy. Generating a robust inventory of tone or mood words will boost your writing’s analysis and accuracy. In addition, cultivating an arsenal of these terms will help you to more accurately assess the text that you aim to describe. Mastering this tone words list will help you become a better reader and demonstrate that in your writing.

What exactly is a tone word? Tone words help depict the mood or attitude of an author, speaker, or character in a certain context. In some instances, you yourself might use tone words not to describe the writing of another but in your own writing, to set the mood. Overall, tone words depict a kind of emotional quality or the attitude of a part of an argument. We can glean an author’s tone by analyzing their word choice, syntax, sentence structure, and perspective.

Tone vs. Voice

The tone differs from the overall style or voice of a piece. This is because tone can vary from situation to situation, moment to moment, and topic to topic so it’s important to deploy specific language to characterize it most accurately. The tone can be amused in one paragraph, defensive in the next, and lofty in yet another! (*The definition of all bolded terms can be found in the list below*).

Tone words demonstrate analysis and assessment of different kinds of texts. If you say “That op-ed was melodramatic ” that means you interpret the article as being excessively emotional and therefore not the most reliable source. On the other hand, if you describe a report as scholarly and incisive , that means that you found the article likely well-researched, accurate, and straight to the point. By effectively terming the tone and mood of a piece, you offer a kind of summary and evaluation for your reader.

What is Tone in Literature?

Using tone words to understand and interpret a text for your reader goes beyond assessing whether an article is a valid source or not. By naming the tone and its shifts across the moment, character, and text you begin to tease out the complexities, layers, and contrasts within a work of art.

As an example of how we match a tone to a tone word , let’s take a look at an excerpt from the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost ( a full analysis of the poem can be found here ). The poet writes “long I stood / And looked down one as far as I could / To where it bent in the undergrowth.” Here, the words “long I stood” indicate an enduring examination, emphasized further by the next few lines where the poet strains to look and assess as much as possible. We might use the tone words “ philosophical ” and “ pensive ” to describe the tone here. But of course, the tone shifts in nuance and gradation throughout the poem. We end on a different tone, where in the last stanza the speaker reflects back on that day and says “I shall be telling this with a sigh.”

Tone Words List (Continued)

This reflection of looking back on the past could be seen as a bit nostalgic for the moments prior to making the choice of which road to travel and perhaps regretful  of the choice he ultimately made, due to the fact that he will tell it “with a sigh.” But digging even deeper, because the short poem does not directly describe feelings or reach a clearly articulated conclusion, we could describe the tone as restrained and even verging toward evasive . By tracking the different tone words we might use to describe each part of a piece of writing, we get a clear picture of the emotional and rhetorical arc.

As you can see, we can interpret tone (and find the appropriate tone word) by analyzing the mood of the descriptive words or plot in a passage. If you’re reading a novel by Dennis Cooper or Toni Morrison you will likely encounter descriptions of and contemplations on death, the dead, and gruesome violence. Based on the description or plot points, you might then say those passages as macabre .

We can also assess tone by interpreting the type of language used. If you’re reading the poem “ Having A Coke With You ” by Frank O’Hara or “ An American Poem ” by Eileen Myles, you will likely encounter lines with a lot of everyday and conversational terms and phrases. In accord, you might describe such moments in these poems as colloquial.

Tone and Analyzing Literature

Tone words also emerge from analyzing the formal aspects of a piece of writing. If you’re reading Ernest Hemmingway or Jackie Ess you might encounter passages with a lot of short, unadorned sentences, devoid of excessive language or description. The tone words terse and curt might effectively convey the mood of those sections.

Lastly, tone words are a useful tool for the analysis of any text and might prove immensely powerful to use in your papers for humanities courses. If you are a creative writer, tone words can bolster the force of your storytelling, character development, and world-building. They can also provide you with a range of ways to bring out thematics and emotionality in your poetry with intention.

Positive, Negative, & Neutral Tone Words

Typically, you can categorize tone words into the categories of positive, negative, and neutral. I’ve indicated such connotations, when relevant, with a + for positive, – for negative, and = for neutral. Some tone words might have multiple or all possible connotations, as their meaning might and mood might depend on their context.

100 Tone Words

Below are 100 Tone Words and their definitions to familiarize yourself with and help make you a better writer!

1) Absurd:  unreasonably, ridiculous, illogical (-)

2) Accusatory: suggesting that someone has done something wrong (-)

3) Acerbic: sharply critical or sarcastic (-)

4) Admonishing: firmly warn, reprimand, or urge (-)

5) Amused: entertained, humored, or delighted (+)

6) Apathetic: indifferent; having no emotion or response (=)

7) Bitter: angry, hostile, or resentful (-)

8) Blunt: straightforward, plainspoken, candid (=)

9) Brusque: blunt, abrupt, or impatient (-/=)

10) Callous: uncaring, harsh, or ruthless in indifference (-)

11) Candid: frank, straightforward, honest (=)

12) Colloquial: using everyday, familiar, conversational language (not formal) (=)

13) Commanding: expressing a position of authority; powerful (+/=)

14) Curt: short, terse, often rudely so (-)

15) Concerned: worried, anxious (=)

16) Conciliatory: intending to pacify or appease; peacemaking (=/+)

17) Contentious: argumentative, provocative, controversial (-)

18) Cynical: distrustful, doubtful of sincerity or motives (-)

19) Defensive: trying to defend or protect; anxious to avoid criticism (=)

20) Demeaning: speaking down to someone, disrespectful toward others (-)

21) Derisive: mocking or ridiculing (-)

22) Disdainful: disrespectful, scornful (-)

23) Dignified: speaking in a way worthy of respect; serious, formal (+)

24) Diplomatic: speaking tactfully and conciliatorily in stressful situations; at times to advance one’s own ends (+/-/=)

25) Disparaging: derogatory, speaking poorly about something (-)

26) Earnest: sincere, serious conviction (=/+)

27) Ebullient: cheerful, energetic, exuberant (+)

28) Egotistical: self-absorbed, self-centered, very conceited (-)

29) Effusive: unrestrained and heartful expression of approval or pleasure (+)

30) Empathetic: imagining, relating to, or feeling what another feels; demonstrating a high level of emotional understanding (+)

31) Evasive: intentionally ambiguous, vague, or avoidant; roundabout or not direct (-)

32) Facetious: intentionally joking in attitude and unserious in intent (=)

33) Farcical: absurd, ridiculous, or silly (=)

34) Flippant: glib, unserious, lacking proper respect, dismissive (-/=)

35) Formal: official, professional, academic; thorough and precise (+/=)

36) Grave: evoking of impending threat; serious or solemn (-)

37) Humble: not arrogant, haughty, or egotistical (+)

38) Hypercritical: excessively judgmental, overly critical (-)

39) Impartial: not taking sides, unbiased, neutral (=)

40) Impassioned: great intensity of feeling or zeal (+)

Tone Words List(Continued)

41) Imploring: to frame a request in an urgent manner; to beg (=)

42) ) Inane: unimportant, insubstantial, lacking significance (-)

43) Incensed: extremely angered by an injustice or wrongdoing, heated (-)

44) Incisive: clear and direct, trenchant (+)

45) Incredulous: skeptical, not wanting to or able to believe (=)

46) Indignant: upset at an injustice

47) Informative: providing clear information about a particular topic (+)

48) Intimate: warm, friendly, or personal (+)

49) Ironic: not being serious, saying something the author doesn’t mean cynically joking (=)

50) Irreverent: unserious, disrespectfully so; satirical (-)

51) Jaded: cynical or apathetic due to past experience or knowledge (-/=)

52) Jocund: lively, in high spirits, cheerful (+)

53) Judgmental: harsh and critical, at times without reason (-)

54) Laudatory: full of praise or admiration (+)

55) Light-hearted: easygoing, hopeful, cheerily optimistic (+)

56) Lofty: elevated style or sentiment; potentially condescending or arrogant (+/-/=)

57) Lugubrious: glum, mournful, or gloomy, especially exaggeratedly so (-)

58) Macabre: gruesome and horrifying; at times pertaining to grim death (-)

59) Malicious: intending to harm, embarrass, or upset a person or their reputation (-)

60) Melodramatic: overly emotional, sentimental, or sensationalizing (-)

Tone Words (Continued)

61) Mirthful: joyful, merry, full of cheer (+)

62) Mocking: making fun or someone or something, often by exaggeratedly mirroring them (-)

63) Naïve: unknowing, inexperienced, innocent (-/=)

64) Nonplussed (conventional use): perplexed, surprised, confused; (colloquial use) unimpressed, unfazed (-/=)

65) Nostalgic: affectionately thinking about or desiring the past; yearning to return to the past (=)

66) Objective: impartial, neutral, rational (+/=)

67) Obsequious: overeager to help or agree with someone, adoring and obedient attentiveness (-)

68) Optimistic: having a positive outlook on the future; hopeful about outcomes (+)

69) Outspoken: speaking without reservation; freely speaking; frank (+/=)

70) Patronizing: exhibiting an attitude of superiority toward others; condescending (-)

71) Pedantic: showy about one’s learnedness, concerned with small details, a tone of overly instructive (-)

72) Pensive: thoughtful, contemplative; at times tinged with sadness (-/+/=)

73) Pessimistic: having a negative outlook on the future; belief in a bad outcome (-)

74) Philosophical: calm, contemplative attitude toward possible disappointments or challenges (+)

75) Placid: peaceful, tranquil, serene (+)

76) Pragmatic: concerned with practical, rather than artistic, pleasurable, or decorative, matters; utilitarian (+/=)

77) Pretentious: exaggerated self-importance, particularly self-consciously attempting to appear smart or smarter than others (-)

78) Recalcitrant: Difficult to deal with, undisciplined, disobedient (-)

79) Regretful: sorrowful and apologetic because of what was done, lost, or gone (-)

80) Resentful: upset, bitter, or frustrated in response to mistreatment or wrongdoing by another to (-)

81) Resigned: accepting a negative fate or outcome that you cannot change (-)

82) Restrained: controlled, holding back, not saying the entirety of what might want to say (=)

83) Reticent: shy, reserved, or restrained in speech (-/=)

84) Reverent: demonstrated much respect, worshipful (+)

85) Righteous: strong belief in the correctness of one’s own actions (+/-/=)

86) Sanguine: hopeful, strongly optimistic (+)

87) Satirical: using irony, derision, and wit to make a critique; making fun of the powerful via parody (=)

88) Sarcastic: saying or doing the opposite of what one means in order to mock or insult (=)

89) Scathing: harsh and critical, severe, often unkind (-)

90) Scholarly: elevated, intellectual speech; formal, direct, and objective

91) Sensationalistic: intentionally shocking or exciting through style or content (=/-)

92) Sincere: serious, genuine, not deceitful (+)

93) Solemn: sober or grave (=)

94) Subjective: partial; describing feelings, judgements, or opinions; related to personal experience (=/-)

95) Terse: short, brief; potentially seeming rude or unfriendly (-/=)

96) Unassuming: modest, polite, lacking in arrogance  (+)

97) Virtuous: exemplifying moral excellence, uprightness; at times can mean someone who thinks themselves morally superior (+/-)

98) Whimsical: lightly fanciful, funny; at times motivated by whim or desire rather than reason or need (+/-/=)

99) World-weary: fatigued by or bored with the world (-)

100) Zealous: intense enthusiasm or passion (+)

Tone Words & Mood Words – Additional Resources for High School and College Students

In conclusion, we hope you found this list of 100 useful tone words to be useful. Additionally, you may find the following blogs to be of interest:

  • Poetic Devices High School Students Must Know
  • Literary Devices for High School Students
  • Rhetorical Devices High Schoolers Must Know
  • College Success
  • High School Success

An experienced instructor, editor, and writer, Rebecca earned a BA in English from Columbia University and is presently pursuing a PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center in English. Her writing has been featured on The Millions , , The Poetry Project Newsletter , Nightboat Books blog, and more, and she received the Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize and Arthur E. Ford Prize for her poetry collections. 

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170 cool, unique, and beautiful English words to spark a little joy

Karolina Assi

Karolina Assi

Have you ever experienced serendipity? Do you have a nemesis? Are you a flibbertigibbet? Unless you know what these words mean, you won’t know the answer to these questions!

And if you don’t know what these words mean - don’t worry! It’s estimated that there are 171,146 words in use in the English language, plus around 47,156 obsolete words. That’s a lot of words! No wonder you don’t know all of them, especially if you’re not a native speaker.

However, if you’re as passionate about learning languages as we are (and if you’re reading our blog, then you must be), you know how fun it can be to learn new words in a foreign language. Having a vast vocabulary can not only help you express yourself better, but it’ll also make you sound more eloquent.

So, in this list, we’ve gathered over 170 unique, cool, and beautiful English words that you will love.

Script writers enjoying cool, unique and beautiful English words.

Beautiful English words and their meanings

While it’s often said that French and Spanish are the most romantic and beautiful languages, English also has its fair share of beautiful words. You may already know a couple, such as solitude , euphoria , or labyrinth .

If you want to expand your vocabulary with beautifully-sounding words, below you’ll find a list of what we believe to be the most beautiful English words, accompanied by their meanings.

Beautiful English words

While the beauty of a word is subjective and may differ for each of us, many English words are undeniably mellifluous (yes, that’s one of them). This list is the quintessence of the most beautiful English words.

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Beautiful English phrases, sayings, and idioms

Beautiful words lead to beautiful phrases and expressions. English is full of literal and metaphorical expressions that inspire us, bring us joy, or make us wonder about the meaning of life.

Below is a list of some of the most beautiful English phrases, sayings, and expressions.

impressive phrases for creative writing

Cool English words that will make you chuckle

The English language is full of strange, funny words. Some of them are so odd that you can’t help but wonder how they became part of the language! Others sound so funny that they’ll certainly make you chuckle. Love a bit of gibberish? You might enjoy being flabbergasted when you discover the longest words in English here !

Popular slang words in English you need to know

If you’re an internet person who scrolls through Instagram and watches TikTok, you might have seen some words you thought you knew used in a completely different context. While some vocabulary may seem like some sort of a Gen Z code to you, it’s actually quite fun to play around with once you understand it.

With this list of the most popular slang words in English, you’ll be fluent in the TikTok lingo in no time. You can also find 321 more fun American slang expressions here .

impressive phrases for creative writing

And even more unique English words…

Did you know that English has a word for throwing someone out of the window? You’ll be surprised to find out that there are lots of English words that even native speakers aren’t always aware of!

From clinomania to petrichor , you’re about to discover a whole new world of unique words in English that you had no idea existed.

impressive phrases for creative writing

Feeling effervescent?

Learning English words can leave you feeling light-headed!  But there’s no need to be lackadaisical or woebegone about it. Everyone can learn new beautiful words in English with a bit of practice, even if it’s a lot of gobbledygook.

We hope that this list of the weirdest, funniest, and most beautiful English words will turn you into a true logophile with an ineffable epeolatry.

Keep up the free English vocabulary fun here.

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How to Start a College Essay: 5 Effective Techniques

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Impressionable Openers

Descriptions and demonstrations, show vulnerability, be authentic, stay personal, fun & quirky, common mistakes to avoid in your college essay.

  • Ways to Overcome Writer's Block

Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a College Essay

College essays are a huge part of your college career. If not huge, one of the biggest, and for someone who has been there and done that, I know the amount of pressure the beginning of a college essay, as well as the entire essay, can put on your shoulders.

Not only are you trying to juggle things like word count and grammar errors, but you're also trying to create the perfect college essay introduction that will attract admissions officers to your application or professors to your writing skills. And that, itself, can feel impossible, fill you with dread and self-doubt, but just breathe. I am here to help all present and future students know how to start a college essay.

Today is all about starting a college essay. I have come up with five easy and effective techniques that will help you create essays so good you're going to leave your readers wanting more , starting with your opening sentence! So, this is for all college students and college applicants. Stress no more! This guide was created to help you write a successful college essay. Let's get into it.

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impressive phrases for creative writing

The beginning of your essay should, first and foremost, always have a strong opening sentence . This sentence sets the tone for not only your readers but for the entire essay. Having a wobbly, almost interesting opener can steer an admissions officer and/or professor away, so you want it to be strong. And it doesn't have to be complicated! Less is more in this situation. Here are a couple of ways you can accomplish this.

  • Look within and be relatable
  • Use your real life for inspiration
  • Think about ways to evoke emotion

Here are some examples of impressionable openers:

  • Example 1: When I was 11 years old, my mother told me she had cancer over breakfast.
  • Example 2: Maybe yellow isn't my favorite color.
  • Example 3: I sat next to this girl in class who made me feel stupid.

DISCLAIMER : your opener should ALWAYS adhere to the essay prompts. These are just a few examples that can capture your reader's attention almost immediately.

In order to keep readers interested, visuals are key . Image-based descriptions will not only add value to your writing, it will give your readers front seats to your essay's journey. These descriptions let actions speak for themselves.

Here is an example of a description and demonstration in an essay:

  • Example 1: "I was sitting on a bar stool when the word 'cancer' hit me like the smell of her coffee brewing on the stove. The Rice Krispies were popping in my cereal bowl, and MTV Jams was playing in the background, yet all I could hear was the sound of doom all around me. The lips of my mother were moving, but I was frozen, crumbling on this stool like my mother's health. She was sick, and I didn't know how sick or what that even meant, and that terrified me."

Why This Works:

Here you can clearly feel the writers emotional state: shocked, still, scared. Not only is this moment at breakfast traumatic, you feel frozen in time with the writer. Using descriptions like this will evoke so much emotion and leave your reader wanting more.

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Something one of my teachers told me in high school was any good essay will have personal elements in it, no matter the topic. That always stuck with me and became the way I approached my college essays. Showing vulnerability in your writing will always guarantee interest. It also evokes emotion.

You can show vulnerability by:

  • Being honest
  • Explaining what's going on inside underneath the exterior
  • Describe what's going on around you at the moment
  • Letting go of the fear of being seen
  • Connecting with the topic
  • Being transparent about mistakes/flaws

Examples of showing vulnerability:

  • Example 1 : My mother telling me she had cancer over breakfast was not on my bingo card this year.
  • Example 2 : I never thought losing someone I love would change me.
  • Example 3: I had to lose everything in order to gain everything.

I know being vulnerable can be tough for some , but showing this side of you to college admissions officers and/or professors will not only make you stand out, but it can also help free you of things that might be weighing on your mind. Not to sound corny, but it can be therapeutic and make you a better writer . Just make sure you are staying on track with the essay prompt, and you're set!

Whether it's believed or not, an admissions officer wants to see pieces of you in your personal statement, so starting your essay by showing authenticity is a major major key. Along with being vulnerable, there are a few ways you can achieve this.

  • Reflect : Take the time to reflect on your experiences, values, and beliefs that have shaped who you are today. Let your values, passions, and interests shine through in your writing.
  • Mind Your Voice : Write in your own voice and avoid trying to sound like someone you're not. Authenticity comes from being genuine and true to yourself.
  • Tell Your Story : Share personal anecdotes and insights that show your unique perspective.
  • Be True to You : Focus on what matters to YOU (as long as you're on topic!). Write about what is meaningful and important to you rather than what you think admissions officers want to hear.

Above all, be open . Showing introspection and self-awareness in your essay will show any admissions committee who you are beneath the surface, as well as your personal growth.

You can also begin your essay being as random and silly as you'd like . It goes hand-in-hand with other important factors like vulnerability and authenticity. But don't get too crazy . Beginning your essay with something strange will definitely draw readers in. Let me show you what I mean.

  • Example 1 : I start my mornings off in silence and solitude to keep people away from me.
  • Example 2 : Sometimes, I like to circle big words in complex articles to learn new words. Yeah, but to also keep one in my back pocket for later use.
  • Example 3 : Being the youngest child means getting away with everything you want, and that's exactly how I like it.

Do you see how each sentence draws you in? Not only are they light-hearted, but they also make you want to know why you want to keep people away in the morning and what kind of weapon you're forming against others with new words. And every youngest sibling will attest to feeling that exact same way. All of these examples are sure to make your essay fun, show who you are, and leave readers wanting more.

mistakes to avoid in college essays

Years of writing college essays have taken me through every high and low of the process possible. And when they're good, they're great! But for some reason, my mistakes stick out more than anything. So, I've compiled a list of common mistakes to avoid when writing your college essay .

  • Avoid Being Cliche - While you want to be captivating, you want to avoid overly used syntax and phrases that could potentially lose your reader's curiosity. For example, "in today's day and age," "follow my heart," "don't judge a book by its cover," etc. are all cliches that can be avoided by thinking outside of the box.
  • Using Vocabulary to be Impressive - I know you want to impress the admissions committees, but it's important to stick to what you know and not what you can allude to. That is, use verbiage that resonates with your personality. Using extravagant words can work against you, and they can also sound forced. College admissions officers want to see the real you, so show it to them.
  • Steer Clear of Controversy - Though it's not said enough, your college essay should tell your personal story and not touch on things that can stir the pot. For instance, talking about politics and religious beliefs may not be the route you want to take UNLESS it's called for in the college essay topic. And if so, stay on track with the essay prompts.
  • Procrastinating : Waiting until the last minute to start writing your essay will bite you in the butt. You will feel rushed and end up writing a poorly crafted piece. Give yourself enough time to complete an essay draft, edit the draft, and repeat this two-step cycle until your essay is complete.
  • Lack of originality : This goes hand-in-hand with avoiding cliches. Your college essay should exude a lot of your personality, so show admissions officers and teachers who you are! Include your cultural background, test scores that you're proud of, any future aspirations, etc. This all depends on the essay prompts, of course, but in my experience, every essay topic has room to show who you are.
  • Ignoring the prompt : This is a major key. STAY ON TRACK. Make sure to carefully read and understand the essay prompt, and write your essay accordingly. The last thing you want to do is write a college essay that has nothing to do with the prompt. Reading is essential here.
  • Lack of focus : If you want to know how to start a college essay, that means knowing how to stay focused. Find a quiet space, turn off electronics, hide your phone, and really nestle into how you want to capture your reader's attention. This will help you use your five senses clearly, keep your writing strong and not write an overly wordy essay. Focus is the tool here.
  • Poor organization : Make sure your essay has a strong structure with clear transitions between paragraphs. An outline will work best to accomplish this. If you go into starting your college essay without a plan, be prepared to hit all roadblocks.
  • Neglecting to Revise and Edit : Like procrastinating, don't fail to revise and edit your work. Always, always, always proofread your essay for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors , as well as clarity and coherence.
  • Not Seeking Feedback : Listen, I know that completing an essay is an accomplishment in itself, and you immediately want to submit it, but it's so beneficial to have others read your essay for feedback. You can only spot so many holes in your work when your eyes are constantly reviewing it, so a second, third, or even fourth set of eyes can help point out areas for improvement.

Above all, trust the writing process. Though I do want you to be aware of your jargon, don't get too wrapped up in thinking you're making a mistake. That's what editing is for! Once you complete your college essay, you should always revise and edit accordingly . What you thought sounded good might make you edit it to sound great. Just keep in mind that many colleges are looking for honesty and authenticity vs how well you can sound on paper . So, if you're aware of these factors, you'll be good to go.

ways to overcome writers block

Ways to Overcome Writer's Block

Take it from someone who has suffered from chronic writer's block, it's a pain to get through . Imagine being on a writing streak so good that when you stop, the entire essay writing process stops as a whole. It's definitely a challenge, but after 10 years of writing essays and really honing my craft, I learned a few things that have helped me get through even the thickest of writer's blocks, and I want to share them with you. Check them out:

  • Take a break : This works every single time. Take a short break and step away from your computer to clear your mind and come back with a fresh perspective. For me, 15 minutes is all I ever need. If you need more time, that's okay. Just try not to make your break a rest.
  • Freewriting : Sometimes, I'd start writing without worrying about my structure or grammar to get the ideas flowing, and surprisingly enough, I found my essay taking a pleasant turn.
  • Change your environment : Move around. Don't underestimate the effects of a different location or workspace to stimulate creativity. Try coffee shops, bookstores, a park, or a new room in your house. New environment, new energy.
  • Set small goals : This one is actually the most important. Some people get overwhelmed with the word "essay" for things like lack of proper writing skills, pressure to write a great essay, etc. But if you try breaking down your writing task into smaller, manageable chunks to make it less overwhelming, it can help. For example, set a goal of three paragraphs one day, take a day to edit those paragraphs, two more the next day, and so forth. Find a formula that works for you.
  • Brainstorming : Write down all your ideas--everything. No matter how small you think the idea is, write it down. Even if these ideas seem unrelated, they will help you generate new thoughts and connections.
  • Read or listen to music : It took me a while to realize this helps, but engaging in other forms of art can inspire new ideas and break through mental blocks. And new creativity can lead you to impress admissions officers.
  • Talk it out : As a writer, it's hard to let people in on the creative process, but discussing my ideas with a friend, family member, or colleague helped me gain new perspectives and insights.
  • Relax and Meditate : Hear me out: it works! Practice deep breathing and/or meditation to reduce stress and anxiety that may be contributing to writer's block.

I won't sugarcoat it: the college application process can be intimidating , but it doesn't have to throw you off your game. When it comes to college essays, I see them as opportunities to be fun and expressive. Trust me when I say if you have fun with it, you'll attract the reader's attention , paint vivid details, and write an essay that will leave the admissions officer wanting you at their school. So, take it one step at a time and watch your personal statement come to life.


How can I make my college essay stand out to admissions officers?

Simply put, be yourself. As long as you stay on track with the essay's topic, showing pieces of yourself will allow admissions officers to know more about who you are. Essays are meant to show readers who you are, how you feel, and what you think naturally, not robotically, so be authentic in your writing, and you'll be sure to stand out amongst the rest.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a college essay?

Some common mistakes to avoid in your essay are using cliches and boring wording. You also want to avoid procrastinating, wasting time, not focusing, not editing, etc. When writing your essay, you want to make sure you give your writing the time and attention it deserves, so make sure you're aware of what is pulling you away from your writing. This will help you stay focused. If you have any other doubts, refer to the section about mistakes in this article and let it guide you to success.

How important is the college essay in the admissions process?

Your college essay is key in the admissions process . It's an admissions committee's first impression of you as a writer and potential student, so it should be taken very seriously. Trying to cut corners or rush through the writing process will be obvious, and it will stand out more than things like test scores, academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and any other positive influence you've had in your life. So, don't take the easy way out and really work on your essay.

Feeling confident in your college essay skills and want to explore some other essay content? Explore our blog on the comma splice to enhance your technical writing skills!

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10 strategies for writing a college application essay, what is a coordinating conjunction, best colleges in tennessee.

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3.8: Creating an Effective Style

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Learning Objectives

  • Discuss ways to make the style more effective and compelling.
  • Discuss how to fix common mistakes in editing.
  • Provide two contrasting example essays for review.

Once you’ve adequately explored your subject and laid out your analysis with an effective structure, you can focus more deliberately on the style. Though content and style are difficult to separate, the focus of our attention tends to shift in later drafts from discovering new ideas to considering more effective ways to convey them. The process, however, is not linear but recursive—because a thorough analysis leads to clarity of expression and clarity of expression will in turn lead to a more thorough analysis. Often when you can find a more precise term, it will give you new insights on the entire section and lead to a more sophisticated approach in general.

Finding the Most Vivid Terms

For this reason, I recommend that after you’ve finished writing a draft of your essay go back and underline all the vague and general terms to see if you can replace them with more precise diction , words that are clear and specific. Especially look out for the “s” word, and no, I do not mean the one that comes to almost everyone’s lips when they look in the rear view mirror and see flashing police lights. I mean “society.” By itself it can mean anything—the entire world, the specific part of the country you live in, the people who make the rules, the counter culture that resists the people who make the rules, to name just a few. If you can specify which “society” you are referring to, you will not only clarify your analysis but also discover new insights concerning the significance of your perspective to a specific group. And also try to avoid all the variations of society that do not provide additional clarity, such as: “in today’s society” or “in today’s modern complex industrial society.”

Consider also looking out for these vague terms and phrases: “The Government.” Try to specify if this term refers to state, local, or federal representatives, the people who vote them in, or to those who get paid through tax dollars, such as public school teachers, policeman, and armed service personal. “Since the beginning of time.” Try to specify when something actually begins. Personal computers, for instance, have not been around since the beginning of time, as one of my students wrote, but only since the late 1970s. “All people want to have…” No matter how you finish that sentence, you probably won’t discover something that all people want to have. Again, specify which group of people and why they want to have it. You should also be on the lookout for words like, “stuff,” “things,” or “items,” if you can replace them with more concrete terms like, “scattered papers,” “empty oil cans,” or “half finished plates of food.”

Give the same care and attention to your choice of verbs. You should especially avoid overusing the passive voice, in which the subject of the sentence does not perform the action as in “Tina was asked to go to the prom by Jake.” Usually the active voice sounds more vivid and more compelling, “Jake asked Tina to go to the prom.” And it would be even better if you could replace the verb “asked” with one that gives a more specific account of the action: “Jake begged Tina to go to the Prom.” But don’t feel the need to eliminate the passive voice entirely. Sometimes you may not know who performed the action implied in the sentence, “my car was scraped” or you don’t want to admit responsibility for your own actions, “mistakes were made.” Just make certain that when you use a form of the verb “to be,” you do so for a reason and not in place of a verb that suggests a more vivid account.

Avoiding Wordiness

In advising you to find more precise and compelling words, I do not mean that you should search your thesaurus to find the longest and most complicated terms. Nothing makes students sound like they are trying too hard to impress their teachers than when they use words that appear unnecessarily complicated, dated, or pretentious to make the analysis seem more sophisticated. Though students often think that they impress their teachers by using the most complex term, it usually leaves the opposite impression that you are spending too much time with the thesaurus and not enough with the actual substance of the essay.

Along these lines, avoid the other common trick of adding unnecessary words just to lengthen the essay out to the required number of pages. Instead always look for ways to state your point of view more succinctly. Sometimes you can do this by using a term that implies several others. For instance, you do not need to write, “Sue is like those people who always put off doing what they are supposed to do until much later than they should have done it in the first place,” when you can simply say, “Sue procrastinates.”

Writing Compelling Sentences

Once your essay has a precise, natural diction, you can jazz it up even further by creating sentence variety . A series of sentences of the same length and type tends to get hypnotic (in fact, hypnotists use rhythmical tones and repetitious phrases to put people into trances). Your essay should “flow” in the sense that the ideas connect to each other, but not in the sense that the style seems like listening to the waves of a lake lapping against the shore at steady intervals. A style that commands attention seems more like a river that changes at every bend. To achieve this effect, try to juxtapose sentences of various lengths and types. If you have a long sentence that is full of subordination and coordination, moving through the complexities of a section of your analysis, then try to follow it up with a short one. Like this.

An excellent way to achieve more variety, provide more coherence, and reduce wordiness is to combine some of the sentences. Take the following series: I wanted some ice cream. There are ice cream shops downtown. I have to drive to get to downtown. I don’t have time to drive downtown. I’ve been putting on weight lately. I decided to eat a carrot. Carrots are healthier than ice cream. Even if these sentences were full of more intriguing observations, we would have to struggle not to fall into a hypnotic trance while reading them. Consider how much more engaging it is to read: I wanted some ice cream. But when I realized I had to drive all the way downtown to get some, I decided to settle for a carrot instead, a much healthier choice for me anyway. I’ve put on weight lately. The combination of short and long sentences keeps our attention by jolting us out of a monotonous flow; the elimination of excess words keeps us from having to sort through the clutter; and the coordination and subordination provides a sense of coherence to the previously scattered thoughts.

Once you have an effective structure and style, make sure to proofread your essay carefully. Try to imagine going out on a date, in which you took the time to work for the extra money to go to a nice restaurant and spent hours trying on outfits to look your best, but then when the food arrives, you dig into it with your hands, chew with your mouth open, and reach over to eat your partner’s food, too. Sounds ridiculous, right? Then why do I often get papers from students who took the time to write engaging analyses but did not bother to eliminate similar distractions in editing etiquette? No matter how intelligently you express your point of view, no one will take your essay seriously if it is riddled with errors in punctuation, sentence structure, and spelling.

To avoid these problems, I recommend that when you finish your essay try reverse editing , a method in which you check the essay a sentence at a time backwards. In other words, read the last sentence first and work your way back to the first. This way you will not get so involved in the content that you overlook the problems with grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If you have trouble recognizing these problems, I suggest that you get a hold of a handbook and dictionary instead of relying on your computer to solve all the problems for you. For instance, spell check cannot catch all errors, especially when you use the wrong homonym, or when a typo transforms the word you intend into one that’s different, such as when you forget to type the “t” in “the” and it becomes “he.”

To underscore all the advice I have given throughout this book, consider the ways that you might revise and edit the following piece entitled “Those Misleading Manhattan Friends” that I wrote as a parody of bad essay writing. While producing it, I had the joy of ignoring every piece of advice I’ve given throughout this book. It contains no developed analysis; a five paragraph essay structure; vague, repetitive, archaic, and inappropriate terms; monotonous sentences of the same type and length; errors in punctuation, parallelism, and logic; and oodles of misspellings that spell check will not catch. Before you attempt to revise it, you might want to first review the advice given throughout this chapter about transforming topic sentences into transitions, choosing appropriate diction, combining sentences for variety, and editing the finished draft by reading it a sentence at a time backwards.

Those Misleading Manhattan Friends

Television. According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, television is a system for transmitting images and sound into a receiver. Television influences how we think. As part of the media, it shows us ways to consider the ways we see the world. In the show Friends three major contradictions can be found that can be seen by the desecrating viewer. As this paper proceeds each of these contradictions will be made more clearer.

The first of these contradictions has to do with the economics of the major characters within the show Friends . Manhattan is an expensive place too live. It is expensive because the rents are very high their. My friend lives in Manhattan. My friend pays a lot for rent in Manhattan. My friend pays over 2,000 dollars a month for a studio apartment in Manhattan. My friend has a good job in Manhattan and still has difficulty making ends meet in such an expensive city as Manhattan. Ross is a teacher. He teaches at the University. Ross lives in a nice apartment. Teachers make very little money. Even University teachers make very little money. Phoebe is a masseuse. She gets paid per job. She lives in a nice apartment. She makes 50 dollars per job. She is always at the coffee shop with her friends. How many jobs can she do in a week? Rents are just too high overall.

Another contradiction within the show Friends is there relationships. Ross and Rachel date each other. Ross and Rachel indubitably break up. This usually happens at the end of each season. They are still friends. I cannot be friends with anyone I break up with. My feckless girlfriend and I dated for six years. Then she changed 360 degrees into a different person. She brook my heart. I do not wish to talk to he anymore. Rachel and Ross have a kid together. There kid is very cute. They were once married to each other. They still get together and go two movies as if they simply have a causal relationship. This is a contradiction to. I think now Joey and Rachel are dating. I am sure that they will brake up to.

Another contradiction within the show Friends has to do with the modern, complex, ever-changing, technological, fast paced world that we live in today. Few people stay in one place anymore. People move a lot. Only 1 friend from my high school steal lives in the same area. Ross, Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe, and Monica never move. Except when they move in and out of each others apartments. They also never make gnu friends. Except when they date other people for about half a season and then get board and come back and end up dating each other again.

In conclusion, Friends is full of mini and varied contradictions. It is knot a very realistical show. For one, the characters live in Manhattan and they would not be able to afford to live their especially Ross and Phoebe. For two they date each other and have kids together and the brake up but they still remain friends. And for three and finally they never move or make new friends in eleven years!!! Yet the show is popular. I suppose there are many reasons why it is popular any weigh.

This essay took less than an hour to write. I started with an outline for each of the five paragraphs and followed it precisely and quickly, throwing in the main ideas without further thought, revision, or editing (okay, I did challenge myself to include several common misspellings that spell check would not catch). Even still the piece is not completely hopeless. The notion that a show like Friends can lead audiences to accept false impressions of reality could have proven intriguing to explore, and if this essay were not written by me as a parody but by a student in earnest, I would try to help her to focus the paper around this theme and to further develop her relevant ideas.

When you respond to the writing of your peers, keep in mind that we all have to write drafts and that it is always better to focus on the positive, how the writing could become more effective, rather than the negative, explicating what is wrong with it at the moment. In fact, when running writing workshops, I insist that all the feedback be stated in terms of what we like (so the writer knows what to keep or expand in subsequent drafts) and how it can be improved (so the writer has specific advice as to how to make the essay better). This helps writers to get excited about the potential of their essays rather than depressed about their current shortcomings. Ultimately it’s our attitude about our writing that causes us either to give up on it entirely or to continue to try to improve it.

The difference between the previous essay on Friends and the following one that I wrote on a strange museum in Los Angeles did not emerge from the potential interest of the subject matter but from the time and effort that I put into the writing of each. The piece that follows took several days and many drafts as I integrated experience, research, and critical examination to develop my analysis. When writing it, I used the advice I’ve given you throughout this book, so for the sake of review, I will explain how I created it before providing you with the finished draft.

When I first visited The Museum of Jurassic Technology I was dumbfounded by what awaited me inside the building. Stumbling through the dark building, I discovered a series of dioramas on such odd and diverse subjects as spores that take over the brains of ants, bats whose radars can pierce through lead, artifacts found in American trailer parks, illustrations of archaic beliefs and superstitions, and a convoluted and bizarre theory of how memory functions by a man I’d never heard of named Geoffrey Sonneabend. Later, when I discovered that parts of the collection were made up (including both Sonneabend and his theory of memory) and other parts were simply unremarkable, I felt the need to write about the experience in my journal:

As I reflected further on the significance of my visit, I decided that the museum is not the only place where questionable information gets passed off as objective and factual. In school, teachers often ask students to simply repeat information and seldom encourage them to critically examine it, a trend that has become even more common since standardized testing has dominated so much of the current curriculum. This emphasis on memorizing answers does not encourage us to think past the obvious, leading us to accept provisional theories as though they are universal truths. The museum makes us aware of this by using academic sounding phrases to get us to momentarily accept even the most ridiculous claims.

With this working thesis in mind, I set the stage for writing my essay. I researched the museum and related issues, evaluated each aspect of my visit in light of the Pentad, and brainstormed on the museum’s wider significance. I then collated and reviewed all of my observations and notes into a first draft, focusing mostly on developing this thesis. I then wrote a second draft in which I included stronger transitions and more deliberate opening and closing paragraphs. Then I produced a third draft, in which I tried to make the style more accurate and varied. I showed this draft to some of my colleagues who gave me excellent suggestions concerning other sources to consult, which parts I should cut and which I should develop, and how it might be reorganized. After this, I submitted it to the online journal, Americana, where, after completing more revisions suggested by their editors, it was originally published. When reading it, think about the process that went into creating it, how it didn’t spring out of the blue but developed slowly through careful consideration and deliberate revision.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology

From Wonder into Wonder Experience Opens

This article was first published in Americana by Randy Fallows.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology, located in Los Angeles, is a place that is easier to describe by its effect than by its content. According to Lawrence Weschler, who wrote about the museum in his highly acclaimed book Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder , a visit gives one a feeling of being “a bit out of order, all shards and powder.” This reaction springs from two opposing impulses; the first is to trust that everything in the museum is true (since after all it is a museum) and the other is a gnawing feeling that something doesn’t seem quite right. The best reason for trusting the latter impulse is that most of the collection is, to varying degrees, false. To be specific, the museum consists of dioramas revealing different aspects of “life in the Lower Jurassic,” including some that are completely made up (a series on the life and theories of a fictional psychologist), some that are made up but believed true (a series on common superstitions), some that are true but unremarkable (a series on the European mole and the night flying moth), and a few that are both true and remarkable (a series on tiny carvings that fit into the eye of a needle).

Although there are no direct statements on the museum’s walls which let the visitors in on the secret, the museum does have copies of Weschler’s book available, so the extra confused and curious can discover the attraction’s “true” nature. I was one of those who, after my first visit, purchased the book in the hopes that it would guide me out of my own confusion. It did, but it also left me repeating “of course” just as I do when I discover the solution to a riddle that seems simultaneously complicated and simple.

There is something fishy about a museum with an oxymoron in its title. Yet to be perfectly honest, I never even considered this a problem because in my mind the term “museum” eclipsed any notion to question the words that followed. I assumed that there must be a special use of the term “Jurassic” which was unfamiliar to me, a use that allowed it to be appropriately paired with the term “technology.” This tendency to ignore one’s personal reasoning in favor of a greater authority is only partly a result of the respect we attribute to museums in general; it is even more a result of years of academic conditioning to accept that information offered from an acknowledged authority must be true, significant, reasonable, and, in some way, good for us. Everything in the museum seems designed to make us feel uncomfortable with this trust.

At the entrance, there is a short video that introduces the visitor to the museum’s mission, a mission placed within a historical context. On closer inspection, the video contains oblique expressions and historical inaccuracies; however because its style and narration has a “measured voice of unassailable institutional authority,” as Weschler put it, and because there are truths mixed with the fiction, it seems reasonable enough on first examination:

The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, California, is an educational institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic. Like a coat of two colors, the museum serves dual functions. On the one hand, the museum provides the academic community with a specialized repository of relics and artifacts from the Lower Jurassic, with an emphasis on those that demonstrate unusual or curious technological qualities. On the other hand, the museum serves the general public by providing the visitor a hands-on experience of “life in the Jurassic.”

The first thing that struck me was the strange use of the phrase “the Lower Jurassic.” However, the claim that the museum serves the academic community led me to believe that there must be a new use of the phrase with which I was unfamiliar. I figured that if it were simply an error, someone long before would have informed the curator that he was confusing a term that describes an ancient time period for one that depicts a modern area. My inclination to trust was furthered by the second mission, to provide a “hands on experience” for the general public, which assured me that the museum was designed with models of effective learning in mind. The video goes on to describe the museum’s place in the history of other such institutions, including what it claims to be the first natural history museum, Noah’s Ark. This mixture of truth and legend is preparation for what lies in the main collection.

The first exhibits one encounters after leaving the video room are a series of dioramas which focus on the life and theories of Geoffrey Sonnabend. Don’t bother looking him up, or you will end up just as frustrated as Weschler, who, after his first visit, looked for references to Sonnabend in several library databases, publishing houses and historical societies before realizing that he was chasing a phantom. Like Weschler, I too fully believed that Sonnabend was a real person, partly because of the vast amount of details about his life and theories and partly because next to the dioramas of him is one of Marcel Proust tasting the tea soaked madeleine that invokes the memories of his childhood. My fondness for Proust increased my desire to learn about this more obscure theorist who also seemed to be interested in the nature of memory.

After looking through several dioramas that focus on a series of unremarkable events from Sonnabend’s life, I finally got to the one that deals with his theory of memory, the gist of which is:

All living things have a Cone of Obliscence by which the being experiences experience. This cone is sometimes also known as the Cone of True Memory (and occasionally the Characteristic Cone). Sonnabend speaks of this cone as if it were an organ like the pancreas or spleen and like these organs its shape and characteristics are unique to the individual and remain relatively consistent over time. This cone (occasionally referred to as a horn) is composed of two elements—the Atmonic Disc (or base of the cone) which Sonnabend described as “the field of immediate consciousness of an individual” and the hollows (or interior of the cone). A third implied element of the Characteristic Cone is the Spelean Axis, an imaginary line which passes through the cone and the center of the Atmonic Disc.

Neither the explanation nor the equally obscure model that accompany it make any sense; however, both echo the rhetoric of academic discourse so well that I convinced myself that my confusion came from my inability to grasp the theory and not from the theory itself. In giving some of the parts different names, it seemed as if many other theorists had arrived at similar conclusions but quibbled with Sonnabend over terminology, and by using complex sounding terms with both certainty and consistency, I was inspired to trust those who were smart enough to invent and use this jargon. However, despite its impressive look, when summarized and translated into common usage, the whole theory boils down to an obvious point: events that affect us deeply are more likely to be remembered than those that are everyday occurrences.

Perhaps if the theory was written out and I had more time to consider it, I might have arrived at this conclusion. However, the recording speeds past with no accompanying text except for the above model. This results in an effort of silent desperation to make sense of the whole thing, an effort that for me went something like this: Cone of Obliscence? I don’t know this term but it sounds like it’s related to “obsolescence,” so I assume it has to do with memories we no longer need and discard into a what? Spelean Axis! This is completely unfamiliar, but maybe it only intersects the cone at an angle because most experiences are not kept with us as memories; perhaps that is why he calls this part “the Hollows” since these particular experiences do not have a lot of substance.

Though the exhibit did nothing to enlighten my understanding of the nature of memory as a concept, it did inspire a few memories from my early undergraduate days when I would sit in lecture halls and listen to a professor pontificate through jargon, graphs, models and theories which I did not understand but which I assumed made sense to those who were smart enough to use them. That I began to recall these classroom experiences was quite appropriate, for, as I discovered later, the whole Sonnabend spiel began in lecture form prior to the museum’s establishment when its eventual founder and curator, David Wilson, was explaining these “theories” to high school and university students in the Los Angeles area. One of these lectures was attended by art critic, Ralph Rugoff, who describes a classroom scene in which:

Everybody there was taking notes furiously, as if this were all on the level and was likely to be on the test–the Falls, the cones, the planes, the whole thing, It was amazing. And at one point I leaned over to Diana [David Wilson’s wife] and whispered, “This is the most incredible piece of performance art I have ever seen.” And she replied, “What makes you think it’s performance? David believes all this stuff.” Lawrence Weschler, Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder (New York: Vintage, 1995), 41.

Wilson’s belief not withstanding, I know that many would consider it outrageous that he is passing off lies as truth in front of students who don’t know any better. I wonder, however, if the content of most lectures today will seem equally outrageous in a few years to come. Consider that a student in the early 1950s could come out of a day at school believing that a person will never walk on the moon, that Columbus was the first to discover America, and that the meaning of a literary text can be ascertained through codes completely contained within the piece itself. Isn’t it arrogant to believe that much of what currently gets taught won’t seem just as ridiculous in the not too distant future?

Wilson sees his museum as a filter through which layers of explanations become obscured, allowing us to acknowledge the mysterious nature of the subjects they attempt to explain. He states, “Certain aspects of this museum you can peel away very easily, but the reality behind, once you peel away those relatively easy layers, is more amazing still than anything those initial layers purport to be.” In short, a large part of the Museum’s purpose is to inspire the kind of confusion that leads to a healthy skepticism of institutional truths. For it’s only when people question established knowledge that new ways of seeing the world can come into existence, or as Lao Tzu put it in the Tao Te Ching, “from wonder into wonder experience opens.”

Creating an essay like this takes time, but it is time well spent. Even if you never write another analytical essay after you finish school, the resulting mental stimulation will both enable and encourage you to think about your own life more deeply and help you discover ways to make it better. And analysis can also lead us to create a better world in general. Given the problems we face stemming from environmental damage, nuclear proliferation, and economic instability, we will need a massive amount of critical thinking spread throughout the entire world to insure our very survival. Because for many years I have studied just how creative and resourceful people can be, I believe we have the ability to solve these problems and live more fulfilling lives as we do so. This can only happen, however, when more of us take the time to slow down and analyze the world around us, so that we can add our perspectives to the written and spoken conversations that make up our culture, our history, and our lives.

Consider the differences between the two essays in this section. List all of the problems with the “Misleading Manhattan Friends” piece and think of why these problems did not manifest in the piece on the “Museum of Jurassic Technology.” Now go back over the piece on Friends and consider how you could revise it. Begin with the content. How could the focus be more precise? What parts should be cut and which expanded? How could each aspect of analysis be further developed? Now think about the structure. How might you revise the opening and closing paragraphs? What transitions could be added? Finally, consider the style and editing. Try combining sentences for variety, finding more accurate terms, and fixing the problems in spelling and grammar.

Key Takeaways

  • An effective style can be achieved through providing sentence variety, precise (but not needlessly complicated) diction, and a personal voice.
  • Careful editing can best be achieved by reading the essay a sentence at a time backwards to see more clearly the errors in grammar and spelling.

Contributors and Attributions

  • Creating an Effective Style. Authored by : Anonymous. Provided by : Anonymous. Located at : . Project : A Guide to Perspective Analysis. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

impressive phrases for creative writing


Simile Examples in Literature and Everyday Language

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Similes are like spices for writing : Used in the right proportion, they can add zest and verve to your prose. Once you're familiar with them, you'll likely notice that simile examples abound in everyday speech , writing, song lyrics and even advertising slogans.

Here, we'll take a look at some simile examples, as well as how they differ from other types of figurative language such as metaphors.

What Is a Simile?

13 common simile examples, 5 similes in classic literature, what is the difference between a simile and a metaphor, how to teach similes.

A simile is a type of figurative language that draws a direct comparison between two different things. This figurative language can be used for emphasis, surprise, irony or any number of effects. A simile uses the words "like" or "as" to make an explicit comparison between the two things.

Similes have been used throughout history, both in everyday speech and as literary devices in poetry, novels and plays. Similes can create vivid images in a piece of writing, or they can add color and clarity to conversation.

It's likely that you've heard, or used, the following common examples of similes. They're often found in contemporary American English, although as with all things in speech, they change over time in popularity.

  • Busy as a bee : "She's as busy as a bee with her new volunteer position." Our association with bees as "buzzing" with activity, flying from flower to flower — and to and from the hive — makes this simile example work.
  • Light as a feather : "The carbon fiber bike feels as light as a feather." Feathers are light enough to float calmly on the breeze, emphasizing how light the bicycle feels.
  • Cool as a cucumber : "She was in deep trouble, but she was acting as cool as a cucumber." Cucumbers are served cool, which accentuates the emotional coolness being depicted in the sentence.
  • Cold as ice : "When we arrived at the cabin, the interior was as cold as ice." This one is pretty obvious: The interior was cold enough to remind the speaker of ice.
  • Proud as a peacock : "That fellow must be as proud as a peacock." The large and vivid feathers displayed by peacocks are often thought of as denoting pride.
  • Like watching paint dry : "Sitting through that Zoom meeting was like watching paint dry." The idea here is that paint dries very slowly and, without any perceptible visual interest, is very boring.
  • As American as apple pie : "A picnic on the Fourth of July is as American as apple pie." Apple pie, being considered a signature dessert in American culture , symbolizes a deep association with the United States.
  • Like cats and dogs : "The siblings fought like cats and dogs over the inheritance." As two species that often don't get along, the notion of them fighting creates a strong descriptive image.
  • Like two peas in a pod : "The friends were like two peas in a pod." This simile trades on the fact that peas are placed in pods very close together.
  • Blind as a bat : "Without her glasses, she's as blind as a bat." Since many bat species have very poor vision, the simile emphasizes her inability to see without glasses.
  • Brave as a lion : "When facing adversity, he is as brave as a lion." Like many popular examples of similes, this simile anthropomorphizes an animal. In this case, the lion is presumed to have bravery, and the person is compared to that animal.
  • Strong as an ox : "If you're looking for help moving furniture, Ken is as strong as an ox." In another animal simile example, Ken's strength is being vividly evoked by comparing him to an ox.
  • Clean as a whistle : "We took a look at the suspect's record, and they're as clean as a whistle." This example is meant to show that the person's record is spotless, or free of anything negative.

The use of simile as a literary device goes way back in world literature, being found in poetry , drama and prose. The English language has plenty of examples of similes from antiquity to the present day, illustrating just how effective they are at creating a vivid image in the mind of the reader.

1. From the Robert Burns poem 'A Red, Red Rose'

You've probably heard this one before, as it's been repeated to the point of parody (but you might not have realized that the poem is old enough to include spelling from an antiquated Scottish dialect).

Here, the poet compares his love to the newly sprung (or freshly sprouted), bright-red rose of springtime. In the second couplet, the poet relates his love to a sweetly melodic song.

2. From the William Wordsworth poem 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud'

Here, both the title of the poem and its first sentence uses the same simile. In this as in other literature examples, the simile uses a mental image to create a mood and illustrate an idea.

3. From the play 'Macbeth'

The works of William Shakespeare have a great many examples of similes and metaphors. In this example, the simile helps illustrate that Macbeth knows the risk he would be taking by following through with his plan to kill King Duncan.

4. From 'Romeo and Juliet'

This example of a Shakespearean simile makes a comparison between love and the painful prick of a thorn, highlighting the emotional pain that can follow when things don't go well.

5. From 'A Christmas Carol'

In this Charles Dickens classic, the comparison between two apparently unlike things makes for a powerful image. In Dickens' day, door-nails , unlike other nails, were bent in such a way that ensured they could not be re-used.

Unlike similes, metaphors do not use the words "like" or "as" to draw a comparison between two or more nouns . Instead, they simply state that one thing is another. Metaphors are therefore a bit harder to spot, but once you get used to it, you'll see they are also very common. In fact, some are simply variations on the simile examples outlined earlier.

  • "You've been a busy little bee, haven't you?" In this case, the person being addressed is being directly called a bee, without the use of "like" or "as," marking it as a case of metaphor.
  • "I was lucky to have her during those trying times; she was my rock." In this case, the speaker uses the image of rock as steady and solid to convey how they relied on someone else. Once again, there is no "like" or "as" being used. The person is instead being directly characterized as a rock.
  • "When it comes to sinking baskets from outside the paint, he's a machine." The speaker is emphasizing impressive reliability and consistency by drawing a comparison to the player and a machine.

Whether working with students, or seeking to improve your own writing, it helps to start by studying other writers. The literature examples above are good to know about, both to inspire your own and to avoid using common similes that are overly familiar.

It can be helpful to go back to a simple simile definition: a part of speech comparing two apparently dissimilar things. Often, it's a person and an animal. What's being drawn out is a particular quality that unites them, such as in "She is as wise as an owl."

The person's wisdom is being compared to that of an owl , an animal classically associated with wisdom (in part, due to its ties to the Greek goddess Athena).

From here, you can get creative and see if you can come up with your own owl simile examples, such as "as silent as an owl in flight" or "as watchful as an owl." This can be a terrific way to get more originality into your writing.

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Mastering the Art of Creative Writing in PSLE English Composition

A vector illustration of Kids with a Big Pencil Border for PSLE English Creative Writing.

Descriptive writing is not everyone’s cup of tea. In PSLE English composition, however, it is a prerequisite. This exam component tests your child’s creative ability to express thoughts and feelings. How can your child polish their creative writing skills and write compelling compositions in the PSLE English exam? There are several effective ways to achieve this ability.

5 Ways to Use Emotions & Expressive Phrases in Creative Writing

Creative writing may not be an innate quality for everyone. However, that doesn’t mean your child cannot learn this art and master it to perfection. It takes practice to hone creative writing skills in compositions. However, it takes more than just hours of continuous practice to make your child secure the highest grades.

  • They must learn to master content and language skills.
  • They should know to use the “right phrase” in the “right place.”

Sounds complicated? Here are some tips to improve your child’s ability to embellish the PSLE English composition with creative writing.

1. Polish up English skills.

PSLE English composition tests your child’s mastery of the language involving:

  • Use of grammar and vocabulary
  • Spelling and punctuation
  • Sentence structure
  • Paragraphing
  • Connecting ideas

Above all, your child should be able to write and transform their imagination, feelings, and thoughts into well-worded sentences. This combination of language skills will help your child score desirable marks in PSLE English .

2. Categorise the descriptive phrases.

Descriptive phrases of feelings and emotions are divided into three categories:

  • Outside description or what is physically visible. For example: “The sunset painted an orange hue on the horizon.”
  • Inside description or attributes that you cannot visibly see in a character. For example: He was boiling with rage.
  • Action or a physical reaction to an emotion. For example: She was shivering and shaking like a leaf in the biting cold.

Children who understand that emotions in a composition are a blend of the “outside”, the “inside”, and the “actions” know how, when, and where to use the phrases for maximum effect.

3. Identify the examiner’s requirements.

In PSLE English, the examiners will look for:

  • Relevance of the story plot
  • Connection of ideas
  • Your child’s understanding of the core topic
  • Ability to stay on track with the main plot
  • Ability to fulfil the topic requirements

It is very likely that your child will score excellent marks in the English portion of PSLE if the composition checks all of these boxes.

4. Combine the character’s appearance, emotions & actions.

The sentences in your composition should “show” and not merely “tell”. Take this sentence, for example: “He was angry.” This sentence is as bland as it can be and doesn’t give the reader(the examiner) more information to picture the character in their minds.

The same emotion is better conveyed when the students combine the character’s looks, feelings, and actions in the sentence. For example: “ Get away from my orchard. Stop plucking my apples,” shouted Mr. Smith as he ran (action) towards the children who fled (action) when they heard his bellowing voice. When Mr Smith reached the spot, he was panting heavily (action). His face clouded (inside) when he saw that the children’s basket was full of apples.

5. Use phrases wisely.

Simple phrases that are short, concise, and straightforward add a whole new dimension to your composition- but only when used appropriately. The composition should be interspersed with simple and descriptive sentences to make for an enjoyable read. The main aim is to write for the reader’s enjoyment rather than to impress them. Here’s a list of simple phrases that adequately describe emotions.

1. Anger expressed through facial expressions:

  • Nostrils flared in anger
  • Face scrunched up in frustration
  • Eyebrows furrowed in suspicion

2. Anger expressed through actions

  • Tightly clenched fists
  • Shook with anger
  • Anger erupted from within

3. Anger expressed with similes

  • Blood boiled with anger
  • Anger swirled within her

4. Fear conveyed through facial expressions

  • Eyes widened with fear
  • Lips quivered uncontrollably
  • Face froze with fear

impressive phrases for creative writing

5. Fear conveyed through actions

  • Stood frozen on the ground
  • Voice trembled with fear
  • Breathing intensified, and my spine tingled

6. Fear conveyed with similes

  • As timid as a mouse
  • Fear clouded her face
  • Scared as a deer in a lion’s den

7. Sadness with facial expressions

  • Lip curled downwards
  • Soulless eyes
  • Tears pooled in her eyes
  • Crestfallen face
Also Read : Tips to Handle PSLE English Exam

8. Sadness conveyed with actions

  • Trudged reluctantly
  • Shoulders slumped
  • Tore himself away

9. Sadness conveyed with Similes

  • Sad as a dog without a bone
  • The room was silent as a grave

Writing a story that has the reader (in this case, the PSLE examiner) completely enthralled is a skill that’s easier said than done. However, it is not impossible. Seek the help of teachers and other resources to improve your child’s artistic expression of words.

Write Better With StudySmart, Singapore StudySmart’s AI-powered app is a simple but highly effective way of refining your child’s PSLE English revision. Parents can also use our app to track their child’s progress or help them with homework. Contact us to learn more about StudySmart.

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    Similes are like spices for writing: Used in the right proportion, they can add zest and verve to your prose.Once you're familiar with them, you'll likely notice that simile examples abound in everyday speech, writing, song lyrics and even advertising slogans.. Here, we'll take a look at some simile examples, as well as how they differ from other types of figurative language such as metaphors.

  28. Creative Writing For PSLE: Expressive Phrases & Emotions

    5 Ways to Use Emotions & Expressive Phrases in Creative Writing. Creative writing may not be an innate quality for everyone. However, that doesn't mean your child cannot learn this art and master it to perfection. It takes practice to hone creative writing skills in compositions. However, it takes more than just hours of continuous practice ...

  29. GCSE Creative Writing Vocabulary Flashcards

    4 words to describe the sky. inky; overcast; dim; colourless. 4 verbs for shouting. shriek; roar; yell; bellow. 7 verbs for talking quietly. whisper; buzz; mumble; murmur; mutter; sigh; breathe. Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like 5 words for bright, 2 words for walking slowly, 4 words for walking lightly and more.

  30. Microsoft Designer

    Use free version of Designer. Create: images, designs and stickers with words & AI. Blur or remove the background to bring what's most important into focus. Get design layout suggestions to transform ideas, keeping the creativity flowing. Find the right words with creative AI copy, caption, and hashtag suggestions.