Adjectives made easy: 5 quick tips for using adjectives in writing

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Understanding how to use adjectives naturally can make your writing come alive. In this article, learn what an adjective is, find out why they are important, and discover 5 handy tips on how to use adjectives in your writing. 

What is an adjective? 

You probably already know this, but just make sure we’re on the same page, an adjective is a word that describes how something or someone looks, feels, or behaves. Adjectives make your sentences more specific and interesting.  

For example, in the sentence “The red apple is juicy,” the word “red” is the adjective because it tells us the colour of the apple, and “juicy” is another adjective that describes how the apple tastes.

How to use adjectives naturally   

At times, English language learners tend to overuse adjectives in their written English, perhaps to showcase their vocabulary. However, this approach can backfire as it shows immaturity in their writing style. So, here are 5 helpful tips on how you can use adjectives naturally in written English and improve your descriptive writing skills. 

#1: Choose the most suitable ones 

When using adjectives in writing, it’s important to choose the right ones. Pick words that accurately describe what you want to talk about. By choosing the most suitable adjectives, you can make your writing stronger and more effective. 

For example, instead of saying “The flower is nice,” you could choose a more descriptive adjective like “beautiful” or “charming.” This helps paint a clearer picture in the reader’s mind and adds depth to your writing. 

Explore a list of descriptive adjectives  

#2: Use them in moderation

Try to avoid using too many adjectives in your writing. By using adjectives sparingly, you can make your writing clearer and more effective, allowing the main subject to stand out. 

For example, instead of saying “The big, beautiful, colourful butterfly flew gracefully through the garden,” you can simplify it to “The beautiful butterfly flew gracefully through the garden.” 

#3: Capture the reader’s imagination 

When choosing adjectives, pick ones that make the reader feel something and spark their imagination.  

For example, instead of saying “The sunset was beautiful,” you could say “The stunning sunset filled the sky with vibrant colours, filling me with awe.” By using descriptive adjectives and appealing to the reader’s senses, you can create a stronger emotional impact. 

#4: Experiment with adjectives to see what works 

When you’re writing, try out different adjectives to see what works best. Don’t be afraid to play with words and explore their impact on your writing.  

Experiment with different options to find an adjective that makes your writing stronger and that clearly expresses what you want to say. The more you experiment, the better you’ll become at selecting the perfect adjectives that bring your words to life. 

Here are three different adjectives for describing an old house: “Mysterious”, “spooky”, or “ancient”. Which of these options do you prefer and why? Tell us in the comments below.  

#5: Remember that context is key 

Context is important. Think about the specific situation or thing you’re describing and choose adjectives that fit well. The right adjective can change depending on whether you’re talking about a person, an object, or a particular scene.  

For instance, when describing a person, you might use different adjectives for a friendly neighbour than for a stern teacher. Keeping the context of your writing in mind will help you choose the most suitable adjectives to make your writing as effective as possible. 

Practise your descriptive writing skills in online classes   

Now you know more about using descriptive words for writing, why not put your new skills to the test with an online English class?  

English Online offers live classes taught by experienced British Council teachers who want to help you improve your English skills. You’ll get personalised feedback on your writing, speaking, and listening skills to help you understand what you’re good at and where you can improve. Plus, you’ll get the opportunity to practise your English with other learners at a similar learning level. 

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