Choosing Words & Phrases for Effect: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

If you've ever read something that was dull and boring, you may have lost interest in it quickly. In this lesson, you are going to learn how to use synonyms and adjectives to make your writing more exciting. Let's take a look.

Words and Phrases for Effect

Meet Mr. Moody.

Mr. Moody lived in a dark, glum neighborhood. He always grumbled and moaned if people walked by. He would even snap at the mailman or a delivery person when they stopped at his house. Mr. Moody didn't even enjoy the holidays. The kids would always call him ''Mr. Grinch.'' People tried to be cheerful towards him, but Mr. Moody just scowled at them and kept going.

Think about the words describing Mr. Moody:

  • 'dark'
  • 'glum'
  • 'grumbled'
  • 'Mr. Grinch'
  • 'scowled'

They give you the effect, or feeling, that Mr. Moody is not a very pleasant person.

When you write or speak, you want to choose words to give the right effect. Think: do you want a positive, negative, comical, or scary effect? Once you've decided the type of effect you want, choose the right words to make your writing more descriptive.

Start with vigorous verbs.

Vigorous Verbs

Verbs are words in sentences that show action. You can make a verb more exciting when you replace it with a descriptive synonym, or word that means the same thing.

For example, if you have the verb 'talk', try replacing it with a more vigorous or enthusiastic verb like 'chatted'.

Change the following to more vigorous verbs:

  • 'run'
  • 'jump'

Marvelous work if you thought of verbs like 'sprint' and 'leap'.

Take a look at the chart of vigorous verbs to see more examples.

Chart of Vigorous Verbs
Vigorous Verbs

Other words or phrases that add effect are adjectives.

Vivid Adjectives

Adjectives are words that describe nouns. They give you more detail about something.

Vivid adjectives can make your text more exciting and clear. To make extremely descriptive sentences, replace regular adjectives with more vivid synonyms.

Take a look at the chart to see how to replace common adjectives with more vivid ones.

Chart of Vivid Adjectives
Vivid Adjectives

Think about vivid adjectives for:

  • 'friendly'
  • 'pretty'

You are an effective writer if you thought of adjectives like 'welcoming' and 'gorgeous'.

Now let's try using words with effect in writing.

Make Writing More Effective

To describe Mr. Moody in a more positive way, try replacing the verbs and adjectives. This sample shows a much kinder side of Mr. Moody:

Mr. Moody lived in a bright, friendly neighborhood. He always waved and said ''Hello'' when people strolled by. He would even greet the mailman or a delivery person when they arrived at his house. Mr. Moody felt warmhearted at the holidays, and was delighted to shower the kids with gifts. Mr. Moody always cheered people up, even when they were grouchy.

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