Five Strategies to Make Your Paragraphs More Specific

Five Strategies
to Make Your
More Specific
Mrs. Michael
English Composition
Chapter 6 – Writing the First
1. Answer Who, Which and
Provide more detail in your paragraphs to
answer reader’s questions
Several companies outside Boston are adopting
new policies to save the environment.
REVISED: Compugraphics and Consolidated
Paper are adopting new policies to save the
2. Replace General Nouns
with Precise Ones
Sharp adjectives and nouns are more
More Specific
Most Specific
A man had
trouble lifting the
box out of the
old car.
A young man,
out of shape,
struggled to lift
the heavy crate
out of the beatup sports car.
Joe, only 21
years old but
more than 50
struggled to lift
the heavy
wooden crate
out of the rusty
and dented
3. Replace Abstract Words
with Concrete Words
 Abstract:
The fall day had great beauty,
despite its dreariness.
 Concrete:
Red, yellow and orange leaves
gleamed wetly through the grey mist.
4. Use Sensory Details
Use words that relate to sight, sound, touch,
taste, and smell.
Without sensory language:
The computer room is eerie.
With sensory detail:
In the computer room, keys click and printers
grate while row after row of students stare into
screens that glow without shedding any light.
5. Use Vigorous Verb
Replace weak verbs with strong verbs
Weak Verb
Strong Verb
The spectators seemed
pleased and were
enthusiastic when the
runners went by.
The spectators cheered
and whistled when the
runners whizzed by.
Revise this paragraph.
Think about using sensory details, concrete
nouns and strong adjectives.
Sponsored by a charitable organization, a
group of children from a nearby town
visited a theme park. The kids had a great
time. They went on several rides and ate a
variety of foods. Reporters and a TV crew
shared the fun.
How to Write a Strong
1. Summarize the main idea and provide an overview of
your thesis.
2. Predict – Restate your topic and provide a prediction of
what might occur.
3. Quotation – Provide background then use a quote that
summarizes your point.
4. Statistic – Use a strong statistic to reiterate your point.
5. Call to Action - Ask your audience to join a cause and
get involved.
Writing a Descriptive
Revised Version
My most valuable possession is an old, slightly warped blond
guitar--the first instrument I taught myself how to play. It's
nothing fancy, just a Madeira folk guitar, all scuffed and
scratched and finger-printed. At the top is a bramble of
copper-wound strings, each one hooked through the eye of a
silver tuning key. The strings are stretched down a long, slim
neck, its frets tarnished, the wood worn by years of fingers
pressing chords and picking notes. The body of the Madeira is
shaped like an enormous yellow pear, one that was slightly
damaged in shipping. The blond wood has been chipped
and gouged to gray, particularly where the pick guard fell off
years ago. No, it's not a beautiful instrument, but it still lets me
make music, and for that I will always treasure it.