Making Common Nouns Less Common

How can you bring more colour to your English? Using more precise, personalised adjectives to describe common experiences, is like watching a film in colour as opposed to black and white. 

Black and white adjectives are adjectives like ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘interesting’, ‘nice’…
Collecting more varied adjectives really enriches your English and makes your language more evocative and authentic.

Here is an exercise in connecting to your own experience and making your description of it powerful.
Think of ten things in your life that are important to you. These could be special people, your job, your hobby, your pet, your house, your last holiday, your child, your hometown.
Then find three adjectives for each of these, that really capture what you value most about them. Try to find adjectives that describe what is unique for you in these things.
Think of three adjectives for each thing.

For example:
What is most important for you in your job? It is challenging, meaningful and fulfilling
What is most important for you in your best friend? She is understanding, honest and generous.

When you sign off an email to a colleague or customer, why not try slightly different, more personalized wishes:

Have a pleasant weekend.
Have a restful weekend.
Have a delightful week.
Have a smooth week.
Have a wonderful day.
Have an excellent day.
Have a sunny afternoon.

Some adjectives are really attracted to certain nouns and make a powerful combination. When you are reading in English, try to spot these word chunks.
A spectacular view. A golden opportunity. A thought-provoking article. A splitting headache.

If you would like to practice some more varied adjectives that go well with common nouns, follow this link and train your reflexes to use colour instead of just black and white.

At Cambridge Express, I help clients identify the quality of their experience, what really matters to them, and to find adjectives that capture this accurately.


Leave a comment