Most of the writing in college moves from the abstract to the concrete. Abstract ideas are so general that a reader will not have a clear idea of what the writer is talking about. Some words are more abstract than others, but overall, abstract words leave the reader hanging and wondering what specifically the writer means.
Ex. love, happiness, movie, school
In the examples above, notice each one means something different from one person to the next. What makes Sheila happy will be quite different than what makes Damon happy. That is what makes these words abstract.
Concrete ideas are specific, so they create a picture in the reader’s mind of what the writer is talking about. These are words that can be smelled, seen, heard, tasted, touched, and felt.
Ex. Lansing Community College, Lansing, Michigan, Jamal, A Tale of Two Cities
Exercise 1: For each of the abstract words and ideas listed below, write a more specific (concrete) word or example.
Ex. Movie ____Batman____
- Movie _____________________________________
- Singer/musical group __________________________
- Type of music ________________________________
- Type of food _________________________________
- A Selfish action _______________________________
- Candy ______________________________________
- Store _______________________________________
- Act of kindness _______________________________
- Act of hatred _________________________________
- Bad habit ____________________________________
- Good habit ___________________________________
- Historical figure ______________________________
- Political figure ________________________________
- Act of stupidity ________________________________
- Celebrity _____________________________________