Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Descriptions- Some things to keep in mind

1. Adjectives and adverbs
2. Past tense Present tense- be consistent in the description
3. Passive voice =I had given-- active voice-= I gave
Link to verb tenses (Purdue)
4. Metaphor, simile, personification- figurative language
5. Onomatopoeia, alliteration, hyperbole

(A) Here is a Sample Description with Examples from Above

I walked (past tense) slowly and lazily (adverbs) through the dark green (adjectives) forest at the hour of twilight. It seemed(past) as though a billion(hyperbole) chirps, squeals, and skitters (onomatopoeia) were (past tense) all sounding out at the same time. An owl hovers and hoots, then hides(alliteration)(also present tense- don't change tense like this) in the tall, straight towering oak(adjectives) tree above. The forest is an alien world (metaphor) at this time of night, the darkness leaving just enough light to make my view hazy and uncertain(adjectives). It's like another world(simile) is descending(metaphor) and not just night. I had walked(past tense and passive voice) about an hour when I noticed a distinct grey (adjectives) shadow hovering beside the trunk of a large, old, dead (adjectives) tree. It looked as though the tree was guarding(personification) it or this shadow was using it for protection.

(B)Read each pair of descriptive sentences and decide which is more of a 'word picture:

Descriptive writing is an art form. It's painting a word picture so that the reader "sees" exactly what you are describing. To see for yourself what this means, read the following passages carefully. The same scene will be described twice. A quiz follows, so be sure to concentrate.
      #1: The sun was going down beyond the lake. The sky was beautiful. Shades of purple and pink, orange and red, a few really dark blotches, and a bit of yellow were reflected in the water.
      #2: The sleeping water reflected the evening sky. The angels must have spilled their jam, because the sunset was a mixture of grape with strawberry, apricot and raspberry, clumps of blueberry, and a little melted butter.

* * *

      #1: There was a rock sticking up out of the river, and a bird was standing tall and straight on it. Early morning mist was swirling around it.
      #2: In the middle of the misty river, an egret stood at attention on a rock. The movement of the mist made it appear as if the bird were gliding down the river on the back of a baby whale.

* * *

      #1: It was hot. It was too hot. The girl stood beside the road and waited. She was so uncomfortable that she lifted her hair off her neck to cool down. She began to sweat.
      #2: Humidity breathed in the girl's face and ran its greasy fingers through her hair. As she stood looking down the long, deserted road, she could see heat vapor rising in the distance, creating a rippled, watery effect. She frowned and lifted her hair off her neck. A drop of perspiration slid down her spine.

* * *

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