Tips on How to Make Your Sentences More Descriptive

“Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” – Jean Rhys

Yes, this is how powerful reading can be.

Writers can take their readers on wild adventures, and paint masterpieces in their minds. This goes for all types of content, fiction or nonfiction, technical, marketing, creative, and even legal.

If something is classified as fiction, then the author can take readers on beautiful or painful journeys by describing places and characters. If something is more technical, like a newsletter, communication is more direct but can still be enriched.

In both cases, the writer’s end goal is to communicate information by using words. The ‘wow; factor of adding detail and more descriptive language can make a big difference in the results.

Let’s jump right in and check out our first example.

Here is a sentence that is not descriptive:

  1. John and Nelia are driving to New York

The above sentence is grammatically correct, there is nothing wrong with it, but it is blunt.

Who is John, and who is Nelia?

Why are they going to New York?

Are they friends?

How long is the trip to New York?

There is so much more the author can say.

There is a balance, though, you need to keep in mind. You do not want the sentence to be too descriptive with unnecessary details.

For example:

  1. John and Nelia were driving to New York. Nelia was wearing a pink sundress, something out of a 50s movie. Her hat was almost too big for her head, and the big red bow at the back of the hat was making it hard for her to rest her head on the car seat. Her closed-toe shoes clutched with her summer dress, and it was as if they didn’t belong on her feet…

The above sentence, although it offers some detail, it does nothing to move the story forward. There is way too much information about Nelia’s clothes. I can almost imagine the reader thinking, “enough, I do not care about her fashion options!”

Quality writing is about the balance of relevant details. Using too much detail can be almost as detrimental as using no feature at all.

Here are a few tips to help you make your sentences more descriptive while maintaining balance.

Tip #1: Play Around With Verbs

There are so many different verbs you can use to move your characters through the story. Choosing ‘walk’ is ok because it will get your protagonist from A to B. However, your protagonist can also stumble, run, skip, power walk, stride, hike, or stroll.

The more natural way to start using this tip is having your ‘synonyms’ tab open on your browser to look up alternatives. Eventually, you will not need outside help. But if you are just getting started in the expiration of spicing up your content, use the myriad of available tools online.

For example, instead of saying:

  1. John walked up the street

Choose to say:

  1. John hiked up the street

Just that one tiny change in your verb choice comes along with a sharper image. Hiking implies that the street was perhaps a bit steep, or that John had to work harder than usual.

Tip #2: Minimize the Use of Adverbs

We are very guilty of using a lot of adverbs to modify verbs or adjectives.

See what I did there?

In reality, adverbs aren’t the bad guys here. They are ok, so long we use balance.

Using my example:

We are very guilty of using a lot of adverbs to modify verbs or adjectives.

There is no need to add the word ‘very.’ Guilty is guilty. It is not like we are committing a severe crime!

The good news is that many grammar tools will now detect and suggest the removal of excessive adverbs. Having access to such tools like Grammarly is vital because writers are not aware that they are injecting adverbs left and right in their content.

Now let’s take a look at another example.

Instead of saying:

  1. John ran across the field frantically, Nelia had to yell loudly for him to stop

Choose to say:

  1. John rushed across the field while Nelia was screaming at the top of her lungs for him to stop.

When you write, try to focus on powerful words. Again, if you are having a hard time jump-starting the process, use a thesaurus, and explore your options.

Tip #3: Include More Adjectives

We just discussed how we need to eliminate the excessive use of adverbs. Now we need to explore using more adjectives.

Adjectives modify nouns, and their sole purpose is to allow us to make our writing more descriptive.

However, let’s revisit the concept of balance.

There is no reason to get addicted to adjectives. Sure, they make our work more straightforward, but the general, unspoken rule is to stick to one adjective at a time. Also, do not exceed five or six nouns per sentence.

Tip #4: Explore Analogies and Metaphors

Using comparative language is a powerful method to describe situations, things, or people. When we compare one thing to another, we automatically help the reader bring in an array of information associated with the subjects we are comparing.

Analogies can be important in helping writers explain complex ideas and topics while making them relatable to the reader.

At the same time, metaphors add that extra something to your writing, elevating the content and heightening emotion.

A common but successful analogy is the famous analogy that life is like a box of chocolates.

Your reader automatically gets it! They understand the profound message you are trying to convey about life, options, and its unpredictability.

Do you have any other tips on how to make sentences more descriptive?