The Adjective in Business Writing

The Adjective is a lovely part of speech that can make the difference between a rather boring piece of writing and a most exciting one.

The Adjective describes a noun

This part of speech describes a noun.  It is a descriptive word.   It tells something about the noun that you may not know – and it helps you to visualize something that you might not have thought of.

It can help you to truly see what the writer visualizes.  It can provide the best description.

Setting the tone.  The descriptive words you use can make the tone of your writing exactly the tone you want for your reader. 

  • You can provide an inviting tone, or a severe tone. 
  • You can make your writing appealing or you can make your writing very stilted and difficult to understand.

The descriptive words you use are can open up your writing for your reader.



Consider some of the crime dramas you might watch on television

When something happens, the witness is asked to describe the scene.  You may be asked to describe a person..

So, think of some of the ways of describing a person -

Tall, short, handsome, fair, scruffy, neat, well-dressed, tidy, scrawny, beautiful, gorgeous, striking, stunning, lovely  or ugly, plain

You can talk of height -

Tall, short, lanky

You can talk of general stature -

Slim, dumpy, lithe, skinny, small, thin, large, overweight, delicate, bulky, brawny, great

You can talk of speed – and each is a word that can describe a noun -

Fast, quick, speedy, swift, hasty, rapid, slow, sluggish, creeping, dawdling, meandering, crawling, sprawling

You can talk of a person’s personality -

Sweet, innocent, obnoxious, cruel, spoiled, polite, charming, selfish, kind, gentle, lively, happy, joyful, loving

  • All of these words are adjectives
  • All of these words help your reader to visualize clearly! 
  • All of these words provide clarity to your writing and to your reader.

The more descriptive words you know, the better your language will be – and the clearer you will be able to describe what you mean.

Clarity ensures that your business writing and communication can be excellent and effective. 

This part of speech describes “things” with similar words that will provide you with a very good view of what the writer is trying to express.  Increasing your vocabulary will be very helpful.



Consider a Thesaurus to increase your vocabulary

A thesaurus is a dictionary of synonyms.  Consider synonyms so that you will have multiple options for describing similar words.

For example, in a thesaurus, you can very easily learn words that will help you describe precisely what you want to write about.

Take the word "Stocky" for example.

I want to describe someone who may be stocky.  Some synonyms would be:

  • Thickset
  • Sturdy
  • Solid
  • Stout
  • Chunky
  • Squat
  • Burly
  • Hefty

Connotation.  Each of these descriptors has a specific connotation attached.  All these words are similar and certainly can be used; however, they each are associated with a specific meaning or a specific situation.  A connotation is generally a secondary meaning associated with the word.









Someone learning English may have a difficult time in understanding the connotation for each of the words.

As further examples of connotation, see below. 

All of these words are similar, and generally mean the same thing.  They are all synonyms; however, there is another meaning or situation associated with each one, making them all rather individual.

  • Sturdy.  Someone who is sturdy is going to be associated with strength as well as mass.
  • Solid is something similar, but may not be the best descriptor of strength.  Solid tends to be less mobile, perhaps, than some other terms.
  • Stout is more likely referring to someone who is overweight, perhaps in a pleasant way.
  • Chunky may be a more polite term for someone who is overweight or fat.
  • Squat is associated with shortness of stature.
  • Burly seems to refer to someone who may be outdoorsy and strong.
  • Hefty seems to refer to something that is strong as well, performing a feat of strength.

These words above, though they are all synonyms, and all adjectives, all have a slightly different connotation – so when you want to be precise in your language, be sure that you understand each one and use the most appropriate term.

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