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Writing Descriptions That "Show" Instead of "Tell"

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Writing Descriptions That "Show" Instead of "Tell"

A GROUP OF MEN AND WOMEN, WITH A GUIDE, WHITE WATER RAFTING ON THE PATATE RIVER, ECUADOR
Ammit Jack/Shutterstock.com

When you write, you can present information in two main ways—through telling and showing. "Telling" gives the reader information; "showing" recreates experience.

Telling

You explain a subject to readers.

Showing

Readers see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the subject.

Our raft approached a set of rapids. They were the biggest challenge we faced. We weren’t sure we would make it. We made it.

The rumbling grew as our raft bobbed toward the drop in the river. The air moistened and smelled of morning dew. Ahead of us, copper water plunged down a set of boiling rapids, which carved their curving way among jagged cliffs. My mouth went dry with a tang of fear. “Hold on, everybody!” I shouted.

Your Turn Read the “Showing” example and write down four words or phrases that let you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch.

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