Descriptive Language


What language techniques should I use to make my writing more engaging?

3 years ago


79 Replies




Oma O'reilly

79 Answers


facts/figures and Rehtorical questions

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You should use a range of devices such as; metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia, alliteration, speech, personification and assonance. A range of different sentence structures also helps to improve the quality of your writing. If you are being assessed and you are given a text to read and answer questions on, look out for the devices used in the text and mimic them.

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Arianna Ponte

Hello Oma! Excellent question. There are a variety of ways in which you can enhance your writing in this regard, which are dependent on your individual writing style and the formal features within which you are operating. However, there are certain approaches that tend to be more universally beneficial; For instance: diversifying sentence structures, ensuring smooth transitions between paragraphs, avoiding run-on sentences and maintaining a varied use of connective words. However, I would caution you not to fall into the common trap which is the idea that engaging writing must be linguistically 'flowery.' Many of the most engaging texts are those that use language concisely!

Tristan O'leary

You can adapt this depending on the type of piece you are writing. In an essay, a strong "authorial voice" is often the key here: commanding/ imperative sentence openers, varying sentence length and style, and a mixture of primary sources (quotations) and analysis/ development all help to make your writing more compelling. A flowing and coherent structure always helps to keep your reader engaged, too.

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It depends on the type of writing. If it is creative writing eg writing prose - then you should try to use some sensory imagery, and language techniques including simile, metaphor, alliteration, sibilance, assonance etc.

If you were writing an argumentative/discursive essay then you might use rhetorical questions, Triads (power of three), second person, structural techniques.

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Shamnaz Imambaccass

You should use more than one language device. If you struggle at the top of your page write down 5 language devices you are most comfortable with, then in each paragraph embody one technique which will engage the reader.

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There are any techniques that you can use, for example metaphors, similes, irony and sarcasm, appealing to the senses by using alliteration or onomatopoeia. These are all used to create powerful images for our reader.

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Blathnaid O'hagan

Similes and metaphors are very useful to make your writing more colourful and engaging. For examples, "She was as beautiful as a flower."

Sensory descriptions help the reader to imagine exactly what you are describing and make your writing engaging and interesting. When you write, try to think of the senses and how the character is thinking/ feeling and add these to your work!

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You can use a range of language techniques. For example, short, sharp sentences should be used to create impact, where as longer sentences give you the opportunity to be more descriptive in your writing. Always use strong adjectives and adverbs to support your nouns - 'a hallway' could become 'a dark, damp, gloomy hallway', which is much more interesting and brings the setting to life. Using alliteration also creates impact and in some cases, a sense of rhythm which can make your writing more enjoyable for the reader. Use repetition if something is important and you want to to be noticed. Even punctuation can help! The use of ellipsis for example, can create an air of mystery or suspense 'Then, suddenly, the phone line went silent...' Don't forget similes and metaphors in your writing. These can really give you the opportunity to get create with your sentences. Hope this helps!

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English Language and Literature KS3, GCSE and A Level

Good evening Oma,

This could also depend on which type of writing you are accessing. If it is transactional and persuasive, you may want to us writing techniques such as AFFORREST (anecdotes, facts, figures, opinions, repetition, rhetorical questions, emotive language, statistics, triplication.) Make sure that you have checked who your audience will be and which text type you are writing as then you will need to check that your persuasive language device choice is the most effective.

For creative writing, this depends on if you are writing a description or narrative. For descriptions, I recommend always thinking about the reader and which image you would like to create in their mind. Colour imagery, figurative language and effective verb, adverb and adjective choices will all help to create a very clear image for your reader.

If you are writing a narrative, you may need to write a plan first that incorporates your writing techniques. For example, you may want to start with a flashback or end with a cliffhanger. I also believe characterisation to be essential for narrative writing (this usually appears in exam mark schemes!) I recommend building interesting characteristics and a background story into your character. My particular favourite when writing a story is to try to leave clues and end with a twist. Never leave a reader feeling unsatisfied with an ending. Your job as a narrative writer is to keep the reader engaged.

I hope that this was helpful! Please let me know if you need anything else!

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There are numerous English language techniques that can be used to make writing more engaging. Here are some techniques to consider:

1. Imagery: Use descriptive language that appeals to the senses to bring your writing to life. Create vivid images in the reader's mind.

Example: "The crimson sun slowly dipped below the horizon, casting a golden glow on the tranquil, azure waters."

2. Metaphors and similes: Use comparisons to make your writing more relatable and memorable. Metaphors directly equate two unrelated things, while similes use "like" or "as" to make comparisons.

Example: "Her laughter was like a melody that filled the room."

3. Dialogue: Incorporate conversations between characters to add authenticity and create a sense of interaction.

Example: "‘I can't believe you did that!’ she exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air."

4. Personal pronouns: Use inclusive pronouns like "we" and "you" to directly address the reader, making them feel involved and connected.

Example: "Have you ever experienced the thrill of conquering a challenge?"

5. Rhetorical questions: Engage readers by posing thought-provoking questions that make them pause and reflect.

Example: "Can we truly understand the depth of human emotion?"

6. Repetition: Repeat certain words, phrases, or ideas to create emphasis and reinforce a point.

Example: "Hope. It was all she had, all she could cling on to in her darkest moments."

7. Varied sentence structure: Mix up sentence lengths and structures to provide rhythm and prevent monotony.

Example: "Short and succinct. Long and flowing. Each sentence adding its unique touch to the overall tapestry of the narrative."

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Sonal P

Hi Oma,

Here are a few suggestions to make your writing more engaging:

  • make it original;
  • make it YOUR voice
  • use your imagination (fiction)
  • share your life lessons, life stories and personal experience (non-fiction)

And to convey the above in a way that interests and captivates your reader, use literary devices such as

  • Descriptive vocabulary:

  • verbs (strolling, dashing, dodging instead of just ‘walking’)
  • adverbs (leisurely walking, pleasantly talking, e enthusiastically dancing, melodiously singing)
  • adjectives (tremendous strength, persistent patience, incredible adventure, worrying news, helpful gesture
  • noun phrases = adjective + adjective + noun + with e.g. He/she spoke kind, caring words with empathy for my challenges.

Other literary devices:

  • metaphor: I entered as an alien into this new country on my travels but the local people made me feel so at home, as they introduced me to their fascinating culture, ancient tradition rooted in wisdom, delicious food, and colourful clothes and customs.
  • similes: He/she was like the sun, speaking and spreading love and light wherever he/she went.
  • personification: the sofa gave me a warm hug as as snuggled to sleep in it
  • alliteration: Wonderful warm weather! Here comes summer!
  • imagery: The nail went into his foot and sent a shooting, searing pain up his leg, like a lightning bolt.
  • onomatopoeia: The waves of the sea whooshed playfully under the glistening sun as I strolled along the pebble-stone beach.
  • rule of 3: I want to live life to the max, filled with PURPOSE, PLEASURE, PASSION!

The is more I could share but that would require a lesson, reciprocal conversation, discussion and opportunities for questions and answers !

Hope this helps and give you a flavour of what you can do to jazz up your writing Oma.

Feel free to reach out for further help or if you have a question!

Wishing you the best with your academic progress and personal development for a bright future ahead!


Zhanetta Rodgers

Classic most of all or just try to typing letter by letter to excel

Samantha Ugiagbe

Definitely personification and hyperboles because they sometimes add a comedic twist to your writing that your readers shall enjoy.

Also, religiously follow the ‘show don’t tell’ technique, as stories are meant to be creative and not always straightforward and blunt (unless you want your narrator to be so).

Also try varying your sentence lengths, maybe add a sentence of three to stress a point.

Liz C

Hello Oma - In addition to the above suggestions is it possible to include questions or dialogue in your writing? This depends on the context of your writing of course but involving the reader so closely in the piece enhances their connection:

e.g ..Gabriel stared at the huge gap between the rocks "Can a man really jump that far?" he asked.......

Think you can help?

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