Thursday, March 31, 2011

Quick Tip: Show; Don't Tell

 by Ida Rosenthal

When you describe a person or event, your readers are there with you. When you simply tell them what’s happening, readers retreat into mental slumber.

For example:

Children are out of shape these days.
Reader: "I don't think that's true. My neighbor's kid plays Little League."

Forty percent of five to eight year-olds are obese.
The reader's mind kicks in: "Wow! Children are out of shape these days!"

The second sentence is clearly stronger than the first one. Why?  Because the writer supports his or her claim with evidence.  Evidence allows the writer to show this issue to the reader in a more engaging and compelling way.  After all, you don't want to just tell your reader your point; you want to make your point.
Opinions tell, but details and evidence show.

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