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[Detail] The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865

Descriptive Writing: Choosing Adjectives

Adjectives are important tools in descriptive writing. The right adjective paints a picture or brings a person or place to life. Read Taft's brief biographical sketch of Clara Barton recorded on May 24, 1865.

  • What did Taft most admire about Clara Barton?
  • Why did he single her out for praise?
  • What adjectives highlight the qualities he admired in Barton? What adjectives might be more powerful in describing Barton's character?

Based on your reading of his diaries, identify characteristics that define Horatio Nelson Taft. Select adjectives that will help you convey those traits. Write a character sketch using Taft's Clara Barton sketch as a model.

Taft described the weather in almost every diary entry. Read several of the descriptions of weather. What adjectives convey the day's weather? Write a description of the current weather in your community, using descriptive words or phrases from Taft's diaries that you find effective.