Specific and General Words

Specific words provide precise, sensory, or concrete details. General words convey inexact, intangible, and often abstract concepts. (For more information, see "Specific and General Words" and Checklist 17, "Choose Precise Words.")

This exercise will let you practice using more descriptive words and phrases. For each item below, try to come up with at least six other words or phrases that are more precise and descriptive. Click on the Hint buttons for suggestions on what extra meaning your revisions might convey. Your instructor may have you E-mail your responses to classmates so you can compare your lists.

1 The Titanic was a big ship.
2 John said.
3 Susan has a wonderful personality.
4 I wore my favorite outfit.
5 We had the best time ever.
6 Maria wore a very nice dress.
7 a mean-looking dog
8 I remember it as though it happened yesterday.
9 Michael always wears a hat.
10 Being a college instructor allows me to teach in my way and plan my own daily schedule. This is the best part of my job.

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