The Traits of Writing: Word Choice

Contributor: Delaine Thomas. Lesson ID: 12163

What catches your eye more: a color picture or a black-and-white picture? Colorful words are more interesting than plain old words in your writing. Grab a thesaurus and learn to paint beautiful words!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What does supercalifragilisticexpialidocious mean? Can you use it in a sentence?

Word choice is a very important part of your writing.

If you missed or want a refresher on the previous Related Lessons in our The Traits of Writing series, find them in the right-hand sidebar.

As you watch the video song Learning Rocks! Writing Trait, Word Choice, by Bryan Reed, try to remember some of the ways to make your word choice better:


Did you pick up some ideas of how to make your word choice better? Some of the ways the song pointed out to make your word choice better are:

  • think richly
  • think specifically
  • think broadly
  • think precisely
  • move your reader
  • use variety
  • paint a picture with your words

Now, watch Word Choice by Shmoop. Try to pick up some more ways you can improve your word choice, or see if you hear some of the same points you did in the first video:


Did you hear any suggestions that you also heard in the video song? Both videos point out that you need to be specific. So, instead of the regular, small words that you usually pick, select a word that is more descriptive and specific.

Language is a tool. Use that tool as effectively as you can by using descriptive words that are very specific and that paint a picture for your reader.

There are many ways you can accomplish this task. Some of them are:

  1. Make a list of strong action verbs in your writer’s notebook. Use words like "pounce," "sneak," "saunter," "swagger."
  2. Make a list of descriptive adjectives in your writer’s notebook. Use words like "brilliant," "sparkling," "radiant."
  3. Use a thesaurus to find more descriptive or specific words to write instead of dull words like "sad," "bad," "walk," and "love."

Now, move on to the Got It? section so you can practice what you have learned.

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