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Ways to Say It

"He opened the door."
He burst into the room.
He felt the door give way.
He watched his own hands struggle against the door as they pushed it open.
He saw a group of people pan into view as the door eased open.
He couldn't remember pushing his way through the door after he had stumbled into the room.
He was barely aware of himself opening the door.
He couldn't stop himself from nudging the door open.
He might as well wear a friendly countenance now that he was opening the door.
The door opened.
The door swung open.
The door was opening.
The door was being opened.
The door creaked when he pushed it open.
The door led him into a warm, crowded room.
The heavy wooden door finally gave way, and he was soon easing himself past it.
His hand found the door, and he turned the knob and walked through.
The handle felt icy in his fingers as he opened the door.
The sound of a door swinging open caused her to jump.
Before he knew it, he was already pushing aside the door.
A warm burst of air greeted him upon opening the door.
Silence was the only thing he met when he opened the door.
No one heard him when he turned the handle and entered the room.
Opening the door, he caught the warm scent of baked bread.
Opening the door into that room only intensified his fear.
To see a man entering the room was the last thing they expected.
A group of faces turned to the door when they heard the man's arrival.
And suddenly he was grabbing the door handle and bursting into the room.
This place was old, for he had felt and heard the rusty hinges of the door when he entered.
Even after he moved through the door, there was that lingering sense of unease.
What caused him to walk through that door?
After he opened the door, he found the room empty.
They told him not to open the door, but he didn't listen.
He was certain he almost broke the door when he flew into the room.
Believing he was safe against the door, it was a shock to him when it gave way and sent him stumbling into the room.
So you’re attempting to get your character through one room and into the next. Only, you’re having a little trouble deciding how to go about describing it. It’s just one of those days; your brain is fuzzy and nothing exciting seems to be flowing at the moment (and yes, I still have those days a lot too). So what should you write?

“He opened the door.”
“He entered the room.”
“He walked through the door.”

Ugh. Yeah. Well, there’s actually nothing wrong with these sentences on their own; they can be effective, depending on the context and surrounding narrative. But sometimes when your sentences are already starting to get dull and monotonous, you need to start experimenting and thinking more creatively. So this is what the exercise will try and help you with.

In the above example, I chose to play around with the phrase “He opened the door.” How many different ways could it be described? Of course there are many more possibilities. But hopefully, the list of sentences that I do have down will be enough, and give you a sense of the variations.

I’m not an English teacher, so trying to explain the structure of each sentence and the difference between a gerund phrase and an appositive phrase would probably end up in a train wreck. So to keep it simple, these are some of the things I considered for each sentence:

The first word. Will it be an adjective, a noun, a verb, a conjunction, etc.?
Where the focus is.
The object being described.
The thing that’s doing the action, or the “verbing.”
The thing being acted upon, or “verbed.”

Go ahead and pick any action you want: Kicking a stone, remembering a person, getting too warm, running across a field, hearing a noise. Anything basic, keep it simple. Then see how many different ways you can describe the same action. Keep your sentences varied; begin with different types of words, switch between tenses, shuffle sentence fragments around, switch around the objects and indirect objects. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a “he” that’s opening the door—it can be his hands, or the door itself opening, or the man’s anger forcing it open, just to name a few examples. Think outside the box.

There’s nothing more frustrating than reading prose such as, “He looked at the water. It moved rapidly. He liked the scent of the flowers. His hair was messy and the wind made it worse. He was getting hungry.” Ew. Ew. Ew.

NOTE: While reading the list, it is going to sound repetitious and monotonous—the exact opposite of what I’m trying to encourage. So it’s important to remember to absorb the sentences individually and not read through them too fast. Envision them on their own and apart from each other.

So I hope you can use this as a reference to jump start the more creative voices in your head and to keep your sentences interesting and varied.

Thanks for reading! Hope this helps.
Add a Comment:
k1ttykat91 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
This is really helpful, thank you so much. :heart: I feel like it's going to help my writing so much :D
IvoryFeline75 Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
OMG the key to writing Ouran High School Host Club is now in my hands...
CoreyCakes Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Thank u this I very helpful
malonepony Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is awesome! xD Definitely going to use this.
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March 27, 2011
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