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Why should abstract terms be replaced with concrete, sensory terms?

The goal of a writer is to communicate ideas clearly. Since language that refers to intangible or immeasurable qualities can obscure meaning, abstract terms should be replaced with concrete terms. Language that connects with tangible and sensory (taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound) is easier for readers to understand and relate to.

How can a sentence be revised to include more concrete language?

  • Replace abstract terms with words that have clear, direct, and precise meaning.
    • Abstract: The case sought to establish equalityfor people of all sexual orientations.
      • Equality can mean a variety of things to different people: What does equality mean in this instance?
    • Concrete: The case sought to legalize gay marriage.
  • Use language that appeals to the senses.
    • Abstract: The waiting room was unpleasant.
      • What makes this setting unpleasant? Replace this term with specific descriptive language.
    • Concrete: The waiting room was cold, antiseptic-smelling, and crowded with sick people who were coughing, groaning, or crying.