A photograph of male and female high school students writing on a chalk board in a classroom

Source: CYGPcmBlackbrd_DavidDebalkoE, cityyear, Flickr

Style refers to a writer’s deliberate choices. It results from the decisions made about how to present ideas and achieve the purpose for writing. One strategy for enhancing your style when you revise is to add information. A chef might ask himself, “What other ingredients can I add to improve the flavor of this dish?” You might ask yourself, “What other information can I add to enhance the 'flavor' (style) of my writing?”

The diners in a fine restaurant might want fresh ingredients prepared in an imaginative way. If they don’t get what they want, they will go somewhere else. Your audience yearns for fresh ideas presented in an imaginative way. Don’t send them away hungry.

In this section, you will practice adding information, specific details, to satisfy your audience’s hunger. Download and open the graphic organizer and follow the instructions for this exercise. You can type your responses on-screen or print the graphic organizer and write them. Return to this section when you are finished. Graphic Organizer Instructions


photo of a chef in white uniform and gloves mixing ingredients in a large stainless bowl

Source: IMG_1749, SodexoUSA, Flickr

As you worked with the graphic organizer, you added details to support statements of opinion. When you clicked on the suggested responses, you saw that these details consisted of specific examples and explanations (the length of the boring movie, the weight of the burgers, the skill and the behavior of the cheerleaders even when the team was losing). Numbers were included to specify length (three hours), amount (eight ounces) and time (during the second quarter).

A photograph of the interior of a 1968 convertible Ford Mustang with the top down

Source: 1968 Ford Mustang convertible – interior, char1iej, Flickr

“Skill” and “behavior” are general terms that could refer to many talents or actions. Therefore, the type of skill was specified (acrobatic) and the type of behavior was named (enthusiastic). If your purpose is to convince your audience that the movie was boring or that Hamburger Heaven’s burgers beat out the competition’s or that the cheerleaders delivered an impressive performance, specific details will help you achieve that purpose.

Another strategy for adding specificity is to use brand names. Consider the two sentences below. The first is general; the second is more specific.

General: I bought a cool used car.

Specific: I bought a cool 1968 Mustang convertible.

For the next activity, choose the most specific detail from the drop-down menu to complete each sentence.

icon for interactive exercise

Adding brand names and other details made the sentences in the interactive more specific. In the next section, you will learn to use the strategy of substituting as a way to polish your style and tone.