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Writing 2 - Descriptive Writing
Can you think of a descriptive way to describe this picture of Chennai?

Writing 2 - Descriptive Writing

The English language is beautiful on account of its various contradictions. There are so many conventions and rules to follow that one can feel overwhelmed. However, given a set of stimuli common to two persons, say watching a popular movie, they might describe their experiences differently. One could describe the movie in just a few words and the other could describe it elaborately, touching all of our senses. Obviously, the person who touches our five senses would be the one whose review we would enjoy more and, depending upon that review, we may decide whether or not to see the movie.

We as humans are blessed with the five senses of sight, touch, sound, taste and smell. We use these senses day in day out in our everyday life. We get perturbed when we start losing one of our senses, which normally happens with aging. Any stimulus that touches our senses creates some reaction from us – good, bad or indifferent. Descriptive writing is one of the ways to communicate ideas and it is something that should touch the reader’s senses.

The fundamental task of descriptive writing is to describe a person, place or thing in such a way that the writing captures the imagination of the reader, invoking all of the five senses he possesses. In order to do this the writer must use as many details as possible and put all of them together in a nice descriptive way. Here, the writer can use the many analogies, metaphors and similes that the language offers.

Good descriptive writing is only good when it is as specific as possible without delving on generalities. Good descriptive writing is extremely well organised especially in terms of time and space and occurrence. Vivid descriptions of persons, places or objects are examples of good descriptive writing. Any description that impacts on the reader's senses is to be considered good descriptive writing.

Take this quiz and learn how to be more descriptive in your speech and in your writing.

1.
Which of the following is the most effective piece of description?
The room was bright and airy.
The room was bright.
The room was bright and a strong smell of the cool breeze hung in the air.
There was a smell of air in the room.
This description appeals to the reader's imagination as it covers more senses than the other options
2.
Good descriptive writing uses which of the following?
Precise language.
Specific adjectives and nouns.
Strong action verbs.
All the above.
Good descriptive writing is only good when it is as specific as possible without using generalities and passive verbs
3.
What is the reason to write a descriptive essay?
To allow the reader to grasp the writer's idea through the reader's sense of sight, smell, taste, sound and touch.
To inform the reader about technical features.
To provide the reader with scientific details.
To appeal to the reader's liking for numbers.
The fundamental task of descriptive writing is to describe a person, place or thing in a way that the writing captures the imagination of the reader by invoking all the five senses the reader possesses
4.
Which of the following is the most effective piece of description?
Saurav was 25 and his stern face hinted at a strong determination to succeed.
Saurav was 25 and his face was full of make up. He tried to override other people.
Saurav was 25. He had a stern face.
Saurav was 25 and he wanted to boss over people. He made up his face.
This description is precise and describes Saurav's personality as well as his appearance
5.
Which of the following can good descriptive writing use?
Analogies.
Metaphors.
Similes.
All the above.
When the English language is so full of analogies, metaphors and similes, why not use them to make your writing more descriptive and interesting?
6.
Choose the most effective description from the four options.
I remember the old market clearly - it was always crowded with customers and traders bargaining. I used to watch the action from a distance. Sometimes I would get an orange from the trader.
I remember the old market clearly - it was always crowded with customers and traders bargaining. The market was near to my school.
I remember the old market clearly - it was always crowded with customers and traders bargaining. I used to watch the action from a distance. Sometimes I would get an orange from the trader who was dealing in fruits and I used to suck the sweet, tangy flesh.
I remember the old market clearly - it was always crowded with customers and traders bargaining. I used to watch the action from a distance.
This description uses several different senses to bring the scene to life for the reader
7.
Good descriptive language is which of the following?
Frugal with words.
Succinct.
Extremely well organised.
Vague.
Good descriptive writing is extremely well organised especially in terms of time and space and occurrence. Vivid descriptions of persons, places or objects are examples of good descriptive writing. Any description that impacts on the reader's senses is to be considered good descriptive writing
8.
Which of the following sentences is most descriptive?
She came into the house.
She came into the house screaming and crying.
She entered the house.
She arrived at the house.
While the other options just mention the fact that she came into the house, answer 2 is more descriptive as it describes the condition she was in as she did so
9.
Descriptive writing should do what?
Appeal to senses.
Give details.
Provide descriptions.
All the above.
The fundamental task of descriptive writing is to describe a person, place or thing in such a way that the writing captures the imagination of the reader, invoking all of the five senses he possesses. In order to do this the writer must use as many details and descriptions as possible and put all of this together in a nice descriptive way
10.
Which is most descriptive sentence?
Kodaikanal is different from Chennai.
Kodaikanal is 4,000 feet above mean sea level while Chennai is at the mean sea level.
Kodaikanal's population is 36,500 while Chennai's population is 4,680,000.
The breeze from Kodaikanal Hills feels chilly while the Chennai sea breeze is dry.
While the other options highlight the difference between Kodaikanal and Chennai, answer 4 uses the senses to describe the differences
Author:  V T Narendra

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