Describing Scenery with Adjectives and Descriptive Language

The first photo I shared in week 3 of #nostalgicnovember was taken in New Zealand. Spread across a bright green, rolling hillside were thousands of off-white dots. These off-white dots looked almost like a vast cotton field. The green grass that peeked from underneath the white specks appeared so bright because of the way its horizon met an almost white sky, an overcast day with one large, luminous cloud covering the sun. When you look at the off-white dots up close, you can see they are not specks of cotton, but sheep. Thousands of sheep danced around the field, in an enclosed area right off a dirt road. This is what I imagine when I think of driving through the countryside on the South Island of New Zealand.

I want you to try and imagine this photo, if you haven’t already, by using the descriptive language to “paint” yourself a picture. You can utilize the many adjectives (bright green, rolling, off-white, vast, overcast, large, luminous, etc..) to bring life to the nouns (things). You can think about the personification* I used to imagine what was happening (the grass peeked, thousands of sheep danced), and apply the comparisons I used to understand what to envision/see in your mind (looked like a vast cotton field). Finally, I gave details in my description that would allow you to visualize concrete things in the photo  ([the] horizon met [the] sky, the sheep, an enclosed area, dirt road), make sure these find their way into your photo.

You are going to see the photo that I was describing below, but I want you to really try and imagine it first to see how powerful descriptive language can be in writing and communication. Learning how to and becoming comfortable with descriptive language will enable you to express yourself more effectively, and use your English language in a more meaningful way. This week on my Instagram photo challenge, it’s the perfect opportunity to practice this skill. Why? Well for 2 reasons. The first is you will have the opportunity to read my posts (@jenesl760), Wanderful‘s posts (@sheswanderful), and other Instagramers, so you can see how we all use descriptive language. You can learn and expand your vocabulary, while improving reading comprehension. The next benefit of participating in the challenge is that you will have the chance to practice writing and using your own descriptive language. Practice makes perfect, right? So apply these new skills and practice using them; plus if you share with me, I will give you personal feedback! A final bonus that’s really amazing is one lucky participator (someone sharing posts, tagging us, and using #nostalgicnovember) will win a prize pack from me and sheswanderful.com! (WAHOO!)

A quick English lesson before we see my photo…

Vocabulary:
off-white [noun] a color that is a slightly gray (grayish) white – often used as an adjective
dots [plural noun]: small round mark (usually a circle)
vast [adjective]: very large in amount or size
peek [verb]: to look at something from a hidden place; to look at briefly
specks [plural noun]: a very small spot or piece of something
luminous [adjective]: very bright, filled with light
enclosed [adjective]: being surround by something, such as a wall or fence
to paint (one’s self) a picture [expression]: to imagine an image in one’s head and visualize it as if it were a real photo or picture
personification [noun]: a form of figurative language, when a human characteristic is applied to something that is not human (like an object or animal)

Personification Examples & Explanations:

As mentioned, personification is when a writer (or someone) gives a human characteristic (a verb, for example) to a non-human thing. In my photo description, I applied the verb PEEK when talking about what the grass was doing. Peeking, or “looking”, is a human characteristic because humans have eyes that can see and look at something, the object, grass, cannot. So I used this verb to help describe how the grass was “looking out” from underneath the sheep, how the grass was essentially looking from a hidden place which was below the sheep. This can help you visualize how little of the grass may be showing, or how many sheep (white specks) there actually are. Additionally, I described the sheep as dancing around the field. We know that a sheep, an animal, doesn’t really have the ability to dance (move to the rhythm of music), so this human characteristic was used to describe the way they seemed to move around (be spread out) across the field.
Other examples of personification:

“I am so hungry that I hear my lunch calling my name!”

“I could hear the leaves whispering in the wind today.”

Emily Dickinson used a few personifications, with adjectives and a verb, in this example: “..”Where bashful flower blow,  and blushing birds go down to drink, and shadows tremble so..”

Now that you have imagined my photo, and an idea of how to use descriptive language, take a look at my first scenery picture. Was it close to what you imagined? What was the same, what did you image differently?

It’s time to practice what you’ve learned in today’s lesson and share your own photos now with me and Wanderful over on Instagram. Participating is easy, remember all you need to do is:

  1. Go to Instagram and make sure you follow me and @sheswanderful
  2. Post your favorite scenic landscape from the past and hashtag #nostalgicnovember and tag the two of us so we can see
    1. Be sure to use as much descriptive language (as mentioned above) as you can for even more practice
  3. See if your photo is a feature on our page, we’ll tag you so you will know!
  4. At the end of the month, we’ll announce the prize winner

I hope you enjoyed your lesson today, and please share with someone you know studying English to help them too! Sharing is caring. Happy Monday and as always,

Happy Studying! ♥

Let’s Talk Culinary Experiences + #nostalgicnovember

You read the title, so you know what we’re about to do! But first, I’d like you to close your eyes and imagine the most delicious dish (meal) you’ve ever had. What did it look like, smell like, taste like? Was … Continue reading

Poetry with Bree-Elizabeth

I am extremely delighted for today’s post, as it’s not only a breath of fresh air (something new and refreshing), but an introduction and the first of what I hope is many upcoming posts from a very talented writer. Bree-Elizabeth has jumped on board of English Outside the Box’s blogging journey, and I hope you are excited to be exposed to new literary works (pieces of writing). From poems to short stories, and other masterpieces in between, her writings will definitely provide learning opportunities.

Her first post is a poem! Pay attention to how she writes this rhyming couplet. Do you notice the rhyming scheme? You can also use the poem to practice reading comprehension with some questions following her work, and don’t be shy to practice writing by commenting and sharing your thoughts. Who knows, maybe Bree-Elizabeth will even answer questions you may have! This is also a great way to practice new vocabulary. I’ve selected and defined some words, but I encourage you to look up the definitions of any new words. Don’t forget to take it one step further and break out that thesaurus, too!

Well enough is enough, here is Bree-Elizabeth:


 Hello, English Learners, my name is Bree-Elizabeth.  I was very excited when Jennifer asked me to contribute to English Outside the Box!  This website is a ‘pot of gold’ for anyone trying to learn English.  I’m lucky enough to know Jennifer very well – she is my sister after all!  And if there is one thing I know, she is a very passionate and devoted person.  See what she does for you all only stokes my passion for learning new languages.

That being said, here is my first contribution to Jennifer’s cause.  I can’t wait to write more!

The Girl 

“The lonely girl left home to travel the world around her
And to see what different countries had to offer.
She arrived in the busy city on a beautiful winter night
But she realized the cold was not her only plight.

The girl could not understand the words these new friends said
Their language was so new to her she could not even buy bread.
She did all she could to learn any word,
No one stopped to help until a kind boy overheard.

Though they spoke different languages, they became good friends
The boy helped her find her way through the city’s twists and bends.
He was patient and kind when something happened the girl did not understand
And did not hesitate to give her a “helping hand”

While the girl studied hard to speak and have fun,
The boy fell in love and knew she was the one.
Soon they were getting married to be husband and wife,
Because a kind boy gave a sad girl a smile and a new life.”


 

Vocabulary:

plight [noun]: difficult situation
kind [adjective]: gentle in nature, wanting to help others and do good
overheard [verb]: to hear what someone said usually by accident
twists & bends [plural noun]: referring to the streets and area of this city; an area that is easy to get lost
hesitate [verb]: pause/stop in doing something because one is nervous or unwilling
“helping hand” [noun] assistance, giving help
“the one” [noun]: refers to the person who will become your husband or wife

Comprehension Questions: (answer in the comment section, and we’ll let you know if you are correct!)

1. In your own words, why did the girl leave home to travel?
2. Why was the new situation difficult for the girl?
3. What are some of the ways the boy helped the girl?
4. What happened in the end?

Did you accurately answer the question in the introduction: What was the rhyming scheme?
AABB

Do you have questions for Bree-Elizabeth, about her poem, the idea, or her writing? Post in the comment section!

Can you relate with the girl in this poem? Have you ever set out for an adventure and faced difficulty, found love and/or happiness? Share your story..

As always.. Happy Studying! ♥And please, share this post and blog with friends, families, learners, and lovers to help support English Outside the Box and keep up the fabulousness!

Never Travel.

TravelOpensMind

Never Travel.

Said no one…ever.

How the travel bug is not a world-wide infectious disease baffles me. (baffle=completely confuse) However, I must keep my open-mind and accept that not everyone has the same interests and passions. I will say though, that I am where I am today, only because of the adventures I’ve taken in the past. I cannot even begin to imagine where my life would be had I not been intrigued by the idea of studying abroad when the study abroad fair was on my college campus. Luckily, the Australian application was due that same day, otherwise…maybe I wouldn’t have gone later on, in 2009, and met the hubs.

Anyways, how perfect was the idea to study abroad? Experience a new place, new culture, new food, new people, new…EVERYTHING. What better way to learn? I’ll let you in on a secret, experience is much more interesting than a book 😉 The only thing I had to do was convince my family of this amazing idea. Big THANK YOU for their support from the beginning.

San Sebastian, Basque Country (Northern Spain *sorry to anyone I upset calling it either place*) was my first real abroad experience. Well, except for the week exploration adventure in Madrid where I made dear friends and unforgettable memories. Toledo, cathedrals, museums, El Prado, Valley of the Fallen, El Escorial, Royal Palace…and those are just the places off the top of my head. In San Sebastian, I lived with Mertxe, the sweetest 77 year old woman. Immediately submerging me into the culture, as she did not speak 1 word in English. We watched movies, TV, and could eventually have long conversations over lunch and dinner. It was definitely one of the better choices to live with a host family.

Looking back, something I would have changed…and a BIG recommendation for students, or anyone else going to study abroad.

Surround yourself in the language and culture as much as you can.

Being my first time out, I will admit I spent most of the time with Americans. That said, mi espanol es muy malo. My spanish is very bad. However, no regrets!

It was there that the travel bug bit me. I loved hearing different stories and meeting new people. I loved doing things that would be impossible from my own city. I took advantage of my time in Europe, and the incredibly cheap flights and eurail passes between the countries and spent weekends visiting new places, and explored 6 weeks after my course with a backpack. Upon returning home, I finished school and was faced with a very important question: Do I continue studying, start working, or do more exploring? The answer seemed so clear. So, how does a recent graduate with no money explore the world? Easy…find a place that will allow you to work! Australia. Working-Holiday Visa.

The rest, is history. Met my man, fell in love…and since then have explored New Zealand, Thailand, and lived in Brazil. In fact, I am in Brazil right now. Spending time with my friends and family, enjoying some World Cup excitement, and really, in my mind, living the dream.

I’ve learned so much along the way, and look forward to continuing to expand my mind….broaden my perspective, and hopefully, with this post, inspire others to do the same.

So, please share some experiences with me!

Have you had any eye-opening travel experiences? Have you defeated narrow-mindedness and broadened your perspective? Where is next on your list of travel destinations? What is your favorite part of travel? What is your favorite memory? What advice can you give to someone who’s scared to take the travel leap?

 

Words 1 & 2 of the Weekend: Pack & Rearrange

Why are they useful?

Packing is something you will definitely do in your life, if you haven’t already. You’ll pack for a vacation, when you move to a new place, your child’s lunch, or diaper bag, the list could go on. While you’re doing this, chances are, you’ll need more room because things won’t fit. So, what will you do? You’ll rearrange your luggage/box/bag! This is something I am currently doing, getting ready for our big trip today!

EX: Even though I packed my suitcase early, I forgot about some things I need to bring. I had to rearrange my clothes to create some extra space.

When’s the last time you had to rearrange what you had already packed?

 

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Courtesy: Merriam Webster Learner’s Dictionary

Word 2 of the weekend: wanderlust

Word 2 of the weekend: wanderlust  Why is it useful? It’s a word you can use to describe your passion. Traveling is another way to learn and experience what you can’t from home. It’s also a great way to learn a language 😉

wanderlust

courtesy: Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary
Around the world….

Around the world….

Traveling around the world is a dream for so many people. Some people are fortunate enough to achieve this dream, while some of us dream through films, TV shows, documentaries, surfing the web, looking through old photos, or anyway that … Continue reading

Around the World…

Around the World…

What was the most interesting or surprising thing you learned about your partner’s country? (Jennifer’s classroom activity) Blog readers and followers, what is the most interesting or surprising thing you’ve learned while being abroad? ♥ Be sure to read other … Continue reading