Descriptive Language


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

3 years ago


79 Replies




Oma O'reilly

79 Answers

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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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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I recommend to try to develop your own voice. Writing from experience can help with writing clearly. Hope this helps ???

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Learning a language is the first step and acquiring it is the second.

In my opinion the best way to engage writing in the classroom is to use a film that many students like. Ask them to write subtitles for a short clip if you are teaching writing to an ESL classroom.

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Kate W

There are lots of techniques that can make your writing more engaging and interesting to read. Let's start with paragraphs and sentence lengths. Vary these and what you're saying instantly becomes more attractive to the eye and more interesting to the brain. Intersperse longish paragraphs with shorter ones. Use your shorter ones - and they can be really short - to make an important point or, in creative writing, when something really dramatic is happening that you want your reader to notice. Don't overuse short sentences though, or your writing will sound stilted. Just keep them in your toolbox for those dramatic moments.

When it comes to word choices, the world is your oyster (that's a metaphor, by the way). You can use onomatopoeia (using words like HISS or CRASH) that replicate the sound they represent; similes and metaphors to help your reader understand what you're seeing; rhetorical questions (especially good in speeches and scripts); oxymorons, where you combine two words that seem to contradict each other, like bitter sweet; personification, where you describe a non-living thing as if it was alive (the sun glowered down at me, enjoying my discomfort) and alliteration (where the first letter of a word is repeated in the words that follow, for instance, the misty moon hung motionless over the moor).

Make unusual word choices too, to make your language more arresting. Imagine you're writing about a storm. You could write the wind was really strong and there was thunder and lightning. But that's a bit boring. How about the wind was tearing the world apart or the angry wind was ripping at my clothes or maybe the angry wind was attacking me. And maybe the thunder rolled and echoed, sending flocks of panicking crows reeling into the air, or the lightning seemed to split the sky in two.

With all these techniques, it's important not to overuse them. If every sentence you write has similes and onomatopoeia and fabulous images and rhetorical questions, the effect will be lost. Read your writing back to yourself and you will be able to gauge whether you've overdone it.

Have fun.

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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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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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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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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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You should think about your structure including different length paragraphs and sentences as well as using a variety of vocabulary, including different types of word classes (adjectives/ adverbs for example). You should also try to use other language techniques such as metaphor and simile.

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Amandeep Bhogal


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!


Repetition and/or alliteration are two quick ways to make writing more engaging.

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Making writing engaging depends on a number of factors. First we need to know the purpose of the text. Secondly, we think about the intended audience. Then we get into the nitty gritty of persuasive language. There are lots of linguistic (language based) techniques that we can use to engage our readers or audience. These can include being rhetorical… including the reader in the text. For example, asking a rhetorical question (one the reader can think about and answer in their own minds. ) You can then go on to subtlety answer this yourself in your writing. This helps you to include bias (a point of view).

There are some simple techniques that can really help engage your text with the reader. Repetition is a great example…the more we see or hear something, the more we’re likely to remember it. If you want to be a bit more sophisticated, try using a metaphor (a non literal comparison). For example, I am climbing a mountain of paperwork. This obviously isn’t real, but gives a symbolic representation of how much paperwork there is.

Humour is also great, as are other emotions as we all like to engage with feelings and emotions. There are others but these are a good few examples to start with.

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Metaphors can be used to make your writing more engaging.

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