How frequently do girlfriend skim texts, looking for exciting tidbits? and how frequently do you feel disappointed?

I periodically wonder even if it is we, as business writers, are doomed to bore each other to tears.

At school, we’ve learned just how to write. We learned around grammar and punctuation. However did us learn how to compose well? Did we learn how to communicate our readers? and how to it is in persuasive?

If we desire our messages to stick, we have to educate and also entertain our readers. If we want to share our huge ideas there is no boring our reader to tears, we have to mix summary advice through concrete imagery.

You are watching: Which of the following is an example of concrete language

You haven’t learned the at school, have you? Me neither.

Shall i explain?

The ladder the abstraction

At school, you could have learned that words space either abstract or concrete.

A pear, a grape, a juicy pineapple—these room all concrete words since we have the right to hold a pear in ours hand, taste a grape, and also smell a ripe pineapple; they’re tangible.

In contrast, success, failure, and also a math equation space abstract concepts because we can’t touch failure, us can’t taste an equation, and also we can’t odor success. These phrases don’t conjure increase concrete photos in ours mind—unless us get more detailed information like: Henrietta tripped over she shoelaces, shed the contest, and cried favor a baby; she felt like a failure.

The distinction between abstract vs concrete may seem clean at first.

But is it?

Think around fruit. What photo pops right into your mind?

You might think that the apples, pears and also kiwis in her fruit bowl, or you can think of one juicy mango, or you can think that the fruit display screen at your supermarket or neighborhood greengrocer.

When a word conjures up various images—a fruit key vs one juicy mango, climate a native isn’t dreadful concrete.

Even a word like apple is quiet a tiny little abstract, as you could conjure up a various image from me. You can think the the bruised apples your mommy used for food preparation your favourite apple sauce. Or perhaps you think that the zesty Granny blacksmith you had yesterday afternoon. I’m reasoning of the Braeburn apple I had actually for breakfast with cinnamon, blueberries, almonds, and yogurt.

So, abstract and also concrete aren’t discrete categories. They’re a gliding scale.

In his excellent publication “A Writer’s Coach,” Jack Hart calls this the ladder of abstraction. You can plot our example of fruit top top the ladder that abstraction choose this:


You can produce a comparable ladder for various other topics, because that instance:


The additional you descend down the ladder, the less complicated it becomes to visualize your words, to imagine a details scene.

Many writers continue to be stuck in ~ the top half of the ladder. Lock mix summary language with rather concrete language, however they don’t become certain enough.

But only when readers can snapshot a specific scene, your creating becomes engaging and also colorful.

Examples: just how to mix abstract and also concrete language

Good journalists educate readers by mixing specific stories through abstract data and trends.

An article about knife crime by Gary Younge, for instance, starts v a certain story the a specific student:

Quamari Barnes, a 15-year-old student, had been stabbed several times. He fell just yards from the institution gate. A mrs cradled the in she arms together paramedics rushed to the scene prior to whisking Quamari far to hospital.

By most accounts, Quamari danced to the win of his very own drum. Together a precocious child, he hosted court in conversations v adults from an early age; by his teens, the could chef a full Sunday roast ~ above his own. Once he was younger, he had actually no problem being the just boy in his dance class; together a teenager, if his friend were into grime and rap, that went old-school – Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and Aswad.

Later on, the story gets associated to data and also trends:

A city police report released last month suggested that in between 2014 and 2016 the variety of children transferring knives in London schools climbed by almost 50%, if the number of knife offences in London schools rose by 26%.

Together, the stories and also data engage and educate. The data room cold facts outlining the big picture. The specific stories about specific people add emotion—they provide color come the tough data. They make the truth meaningful.

Good educational content jumps indigenous concrete to abstract and earlier all the time. Listed below follows an instance of a concrete paragraph from a blog post around the most crucial question in your life by mark Manson:

Everybody wants to have an exceptional job and financial self-reliance — however not everyone desires to experience through 60-hour occupational weeks, lengthy commutes, obnoxious paperwork, come navigate arbitrary this firm hierarchies and the blasé boundaries of an infinite cubicle hell. World want to be well-off without the risk, there is no the sacrifice, there is no the delay gratification vital to accumulate wealth.

And here’s the summary lesson—the rule:

hat we acquire out of life is not determined by the an excellent feelings we desire however by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to obtain us come those an excellent feelings.

And he adds a specific story around himself:

For many of mine adolescence and also young adulthood, ns fantasized about being a musician — a rock star, in particular. Any kind of badass guitar song I heard, i would constantly close my eyes and also envision myself increase on phase playing it to the screams of the crowd, human being absolutely losing their minds to my sweet finger-noodling. This fantasy could keep me populated for hrs on end. (…)

Despite fantasizing around this for over fifty percent of mine life, the reality never came. And it took me a lengthy time and also a lot of of negative experiences come finally number out why: i didn’t actually desire it. (…)

The day-to-day drudgery that practicing, the logistics of recognize a group and rehearsing, the pain of finding gigs and also actually getting people to display up and also give a shit. The damaged strings, the blown tube amp, hauling 40 pounds of equipment to and from rehearsals with no car. The a mountain of a dream and also a mile-high climb to the top. And what it took me a lengthy time to uncover is that i didn’t prefer to rise much. I just liked come imagine the top.

And to jump to the critical sentence that his post, Manson summarizes his article in abstract language again:

This is the most an easy and straightforward component of life: ours struggles determine our successes. So select your battles wisely, my friend.

To get readers to hear to our advice, we need to describe the abstract rules, and also share concrete stories to include meaning. We lay out the large picture, and also use examples to add color.

Good creating dances up and also down the ladder of abstraction

A great journalist might narrate the story the one refugee family, before explaining the trends in people’s movements throughout the earth.

A organization coach illustrates online service models with actual life stories. One architect shows photos or drawings of structures to illustrate architectural trends.

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Trends, data, rules, models, lessons, and advice are all abstract pieces of information. Lock tell us the large picture.