The writer is the creative master of words

This is a reference for users of The Style Guide. The type of language we use determines the style of a piece of writing.

Fact and argument will always have a higher proportion of nouns and adjectives to verbs and adverbs. Persuasive and emotional writing will tend to havea higher proportion of erbs and adverbs.

Nouns describe things and places like a bridge, road, things like house, hut and give people and places names like Taj Mahal, George.

Nouns (the subject) usually come first in a sentence. For example: The boy (noun-subject) swam (verb – action) in the river (noun- object).

The action, which is swimming, happens to the river which is the object.

If your writing needs more information and less action add nouns. For a list of these go to

Verbs are doing words. They describe actions and things that the subject (noun) does like chase, gather or smile. Example: The boy swam (verb-action). The action always follows the subject which in this case is the boy.

For a list go to

Adjectives add meaning to nouns and make ordinary things extraordinary. Examples are: a beautiful tree, a pretty dress, golden hair.

They also describe how things happen. Example: The boy swam fast (adjective).

Adjectives sometimes appear in front of nouns. Example: The slender (adjective) boy (noun) swam (verb).

Adjectives sometimes follow was, is, are. Example: The slender (adjective) boy (noun) swam, (verb) shivering (adjective). When used like this a comma follows the verb.

For a list of adjectives go to

Adverbs add to the Verb i.e. quickly, slowly and usually follow verbs. Example: The boy swam quickly (adverb).

Overuse can make writing lose impact so use sparingly.

Adverbs can appear before the verb. For example: The boy (noun) sometimes (adverb) swam (verb) in the river (object-noun).

For a list go to

Language works in different ways depending on what you want to achieve. Do you want to describe something in such a way that the reader can smell the flowers, visualise purple blooms hanging in clusters from the trees or smell the perfume that drifts around them. Do you want them to feel the slap of wet branches catching their faces as they battle with the thick forest they are walking through? If you do you use adjectives.

Do you want the reader to storm through the forest where this tree is, crashing and snapping branches as he or she goes. Do you want the reader to plummet headlong into a flooded, murky brown river with the character? It was just a trickling stream when he passed through a week ago? Now he is drowning, fighting terror, caught in the current, helplessly tossing like a piece of balsa wood.

Do you want to fill him with regret he never told his best friend that he was the finest soldier he had ever fought beside. Or do you want him to battle the waves so he can get back to his beloved girlfriend he never said a proper goodbye to. If you do add verbs and adverbs.

Do you want the reader to be an observer or a participant?  Too much telling and they are observing.

How you write makes the reader one or the other.

Writing allows you to interact with a reader and together you find new worlds, new possibilities. That is the power of a well told story. Our goal must always be to write in a compelling way that takes the reader on a journey through the pages to the last word.

The essence of writing mastery lies in the way the writer works out what he or she wants to say then builds the story. This principle applies to fiction and non fiction alike.

The writer is the creative master of  words. The Style Guide is the useful servant.