This web page was composed by john Friedlander, combine professor in the English department at SouthwestTennessee community College. It is used right here with his permission.

You are watching: Which word is an example of concrete language

IntroductionLanguage might be our most powerful tool. We use it to understand our human being throughlistening and reading, and to connect our own feelings, needs and desires throughspeaking and also writing. With solid language skills, we have a much better chance ofunderstanding and being understood, and also of gaining what us want and also need indigenous those aroundus.

There are countless ways to label or share language together we discover to better controlit—by levels, such as formal, informal, colloquial or slang; through tones, such as stiff,pompous, conversational, friendly, direct, impersonal; also by functions, such together noun,verb, adjective. I want to present you to a powerful way of classifyinglanguage—by level of abstraction or concreteness or generality or specificity (any oneof those four terms really indicates the others).

Approaching language in these terms is valuable because it help us identify whatkinds the language are an ext likely to be understood and what type are an ext likely to bemisunderstood. The more abstract or general your language is, the an ext unclear and also boringit will certainly be. The an ext concrete and details your language is, the more clear and vivid itwill be.

Let"s watch at this different types of language. Abstract and also Concrete TermsAbstract terms express to concepts or concepts; they have actually no physics referents.

Examples of abstract terms incorporate love, success, freedom, good, moral, democracy,and any kind of -ism (chauvinism, Communism, feminism, racism, sexism). This terms arefairly common and familiar, and also because we recognize them we might imagine the weunderstand them—but us really can"t, because the definitions won"t stay still.

Take love together an example. You"ve heard and used that word due to the fact that you to be threeor 4 years old. Does it mean to you currently what it meant to you when you were five? whenyou to be ten? when you were fourteen (!)? I"m certain you"ll share mine certainty that the wordchanges an interpretation when us marry, when we divorce, once we have actually children, when we look at backat lost parents or couple or children. The word remains the same, but the definition keepschanging.

If i say, "love is good," you"ll more than likely assume that you understand, and beinclined to agree with me. You may change your mind, though, if you realize I mean that"prostitution should be legalized" .

How around freedom? the word is acquainted enough, but when ns say, "I wantfreedom," what am i talking about? divorce? self-employment? summer vacation?paid-off debts? my own car? looser pants? The definition of freedom won"t staystill. Look earlier at the other instances I offered you, and also you"ll see the same sorts ofproblems.

Does this mean we shouldn"t use abstract terms? No—we require abstract terms. We need totalk around ideas and also concepts, and we need terms that represent them. Yet we mustunderstand just how imprecise their meanings are, how conveniently they can be differentlyunderstood, and how tiring and also boring long chains of abstract terms have the right to be. Summary termsare useful and necessary once we want to name ideas (as we execute in thesis declaration andsome i topic sentences), yet they"re not most likely to do points clean orinteresting through themselves.

Concrete termsrefer come objects or occasions that are easily accessible to the senses. abstract terms, which name things that room notavailable come the senses.> examples of concrete terms incorporate spoon, table, velvet eyepatch, nose ring, sinus mask, green, hot, walking. Because these terms refer toobjects or occasions we have the right to see or hear or feel or taste or smell, their meanings are prettystable. If you ask me what I average by words spoon, I have the right to pick up a spoon andshow it to you. freedom and show it come you, or allude to asmall democracy crawling along a window sill. I can measure sand and also oxygen byweight and volume, yet I can"t collect a pound of responsibility or a liter of moraloutrage.>

While summary terms prefer love change definition with time and circumstances,concrete terms favor spoon remain pretty much the same. Spoon and hotand puppy mean pretty much the very same to you currently as lock did when you were four.

You may think you understand and agree v me once I say, "We every wantsuccess." however surely we don"t all want the exact same things. Success method differentthings to every of us, and also you can"t be sure of what I average by that abstract term. Top top theother hand, if ns say "I want a yellow Rolex on my wrist and a Mercedes in mydriveway," girlfriend know exactly what I median (and you understand whether you desire the samethings or different things). Have the right to you see that concrete terms space clearer and also moreinteresting than abstract terms?

If you to be a politician, you could prefer abstract terms come concrete terms."We"ll straight all our substantial resources come satisfying the requirements of ourconstituents" sounds much far better than "I"ll invest $10 million of her taxes on anew highway that will aid my biggest campaign contributor." however your goal together awriter is no to hide your genuine meanings, but to make them clear, for this reason you"ll job-related to usefewer summary terms and more concrete terms.

General and particular TermsGeneral terms and certain terms room not opposites, as abstract and also concrete terms are;instead, they are the different ends of a range of terms. Generalterms describe groups; specificterms describe individuals—but there"s room in between. Let"s lookat an example.

Furniture is a general term; it includes within it many different items. If Iask girlfriend to kind an picture of furniture, it won"t be easy to do. Execute you view a departmentstore screen room? a dining room? an office? even if friend can create a distinct image inyour mind, exactly how likely is the that one more reader will kind a very comparable image? Furnitureis a concrete hatchet (it refers to something we deserve to see and also feel), yet its an interpretation is stillhard to pen down, due to the fact that the group is so large. Carry out you have actually positive or an adverse feelingstoward furniture? Again, it"s hard to develop much that a response, due to the fact that thegroup represented by this basic term is simply too large.

We can make the group smaller through the less basic term, chair. This is stillpretty general (that is, that still describes a group rather than an individual), but it"seasier to snapshot a chair 보다 it is to snapshot furniture.

Shift next to rocking chair. currently the photo is acquiring clearer, and it"s easierto kind an mindset toward the thing. The images we type are likely to be fairly similar,and we"re all likely to have some comparable associations (comfort, relaxation, calm), sothis less general or more specific ax communicates more clearly than the much more general orless certain terms before it.

We deserve to become an ext and much more specific. It have the right to be a La-Z-Boy rocker-recliner. Itcan it is in a green velvet La-Z-Boy rocker recliner. It have the right to be a lime green velvetLa-Z-Boy rocker recliner through a tobacco burn on the left arm and also a crushed jellydoughnut pressed into the earlier edge of the seat cushion. By the time we obtain to thelast description, we have actually surely got to the individual, a single chair. Note exactly how easy itis come visualize this chair, and how much perspective we can kind about it.

The much more you depend on basic terms, the an ext your composing is likely to it is in vague anddull. As your language becomes much more specific, though, your meanings become clearer andyour creating becomes more interesting.

Does this median you have to cram your creating with loads of detailed description? No.First, friend don"t constantly need modification to determine an individual: Bill Clintonand Mother Teresa space specifics; so are Bob"s Camaro and the wart onZelda"s chin. Second, not everything needs to it is in individual: sometimes we require toknow the Fred satellite in a chair, but we don"t care what the chair looked like.

Summing UpIf girlfriend think back to what you"ve simply read, chances are you"ll most easily remember andmost absolutely understand the yellow Rolex, the Mercedes, and the lime green La-Z-Boyrocker-recliner. Their meanings are clear and also they lug images through them (we more easilyrecall things that are attached with a feeling impression, i beg your pardon is why it"s much easier toremember learning exactly how to drive a cycle or swim 보다 it is to remember learning about thecauses that the civil War).

We experience the world an initial and many vividly v our senses. Native the beginning,we feeling hot, cold, soft, rough, loud. Our beforehand words are all concrete: nose, hand, ear,cup, Mommy. Us teach concrete terms: "Where"s baby"s mouth?" "Where"sbaby"s foot?"—not, "Where"s baby"s democracy?" Why is it that we turn toabstractions and generalizations when we write?

I think part of it is the we"re trying come offer principles or conclusions. We"ve workedhard for them, we"re proud the them, they"re what we desire to share. After mar tells youthat you"re her ideal friend, you hear she tell Margaret that she really no you. Mrs.Warner guarantees to salary you extra because that raking her lawn after cut it, but when you"refinished she claims it have to be part of the original price, and she won"t give you thepromised money. Your dad assures to pick you up at four o"clock, but leaves you standinglike a stupid on the edge until after ~ six. Her boss promises you a promotion, climate givesit rather to his boss"s nephew. From these and an ext specific experiences, you learn thatyou can"t always trust everybody. Do you call your child those stories? more probably youjust tell your child, "You can"t always trust everybody."

It take it a lot of concrete, certain experiences come teach you the lesson, however you tryto happen it on v a few general words. You may think you"re doing the right, offering yourchild the lesson without the hurt friend went through. However the hurts teach the lesson, notthe basic terms. "You can"t always trust everybody" may be a fine key ideafor an essay or paragraph, and it may be all the you want your boy or your leader tograsp—but if you want to make that lesson clear, you"ll have actually to provide your child or yourreader the concrete, specific experiences.

What principles questioned on this web page are at job-related in the following excerpt from Jeff Bigger"s essay, in search of El Chapareke?
HIS to be THE day the canyon walls of Cusarare, a Tarahumara Indian village tucked into the Sierra Madres that Chihuahua in north Mexico, bloomed through women in colorful skirts, legions of youngsters trailed by dogs, men in their white shirts and sombreros, every cascading under the pencil-thin trails towards the plaza. The females — shifting babies saddled on their backs in rebozos — satellite in groups by the mission walls, wordless because that hours, drinking the weekly Coke, watching as the faithful went to attend mass, young males shot hoops, and the older males hovered approximately benches at the ago of the plaza, wait for the weekly outdoor meeting of the community cooperative. Pigs wandered down the road in idle joy, and also the dogs combated on cue outside the tiny shop.

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You can check out this rule in the textbooks you read and also the lectures friend listento. If you uncover yourself boring or confused, chances are you"re gaining generalizations andabstractions. You"ll uncover your interest and also your understanding increasewhen the writer or teacher starts giving specifics. One of the most advantageous questions youcan ask of an unsure presentation (including your own) is, "Can you give mean example?"

Your creating (whether it"s in an essay, a letter, a memorandum, a report, anadvertisement, or a resume) will be clearer, an ext interesting, and better remembered if itis overcame by concrete and details terms, and if the keeps abstract and also general terms toa minimum. Go ahead and use abstract and also general state in her thesis statement and also yourtopic sentences. Yet make the advance concrete and specific.

A last Note Pointing ElsewhereSometimes students think the this conversation of species of language is about vocabulary,but it"s not. You don"t require a an elaborate vocabulary come come up through bent spoon or limpingdog or Mary called Margaret she hates me. It"s not around imagination, either.If you have reached any kind the a reasoned conclusion, you should have had actually or read around orheard around relevant experiences. Recognize concrete special, doesn"t need a bigvocabulary or a vivid imagination, simply the willingness to recall what you currently know.If you really can"t find any type of examples or specifically, to assistance your basic conclusion,chances room you don"t really know what you"re talking around (and we space all guilty that thatmore 보다 we care to admit).

Where do these concrete specifics arise in the creating process? You must gathermany concrete specifics in the prewriting actions of invention and discovery. If youhave numerous concrete specifics available before girlfriend organize or draft, you"re likelyto think and write an ext easily and also accurately. It"s easier to create well as soon as you"recloser to understanding what you"re talking about.

You will absolutely come increase with much more concrete specifics as you draft, and much more as yourevise, and maybe still more as girlfriend edit. But you"ll it is in a much better writer if you have the right to gathersome concrete specifics in ~ the very start.

After you have actually read and also thought around this material, friend should have actually a reasonably clearidea the what concrete special, are and also why you desire them. Your next step will certainly be topractice.