Descriptive writing is not everyone’s cup of tea. In PSLE English composition, however, it is a prerequisite. This exam component tests your child’s creative ability to express thoughts and feelings. How can your child polish their creative writing skills and write compelling compositions in the PSLE English exam? There are several effective ways to achieve this ability.
5 Ways to Use Emotions & Expressive Phrases in Creative Writing
Creative writing may not be an innate quality for everyone. However, that doesn’t mean your child cannot learn this art and master it to perfection. It takes practice to hone creative writing skills in compositions. However, it takes more than just hours of continuous practice to make your child secure the highest grades.
- They must learn to master content and language skills.
- They should know to use the “right phrase” in the “right place.”
Sounds complicated? Here are some tips to improve your child’s ability to embellish the PSLE English composition with creative writing.
1. Polish up English skills.
PSLE English composition tests your child’s mastery of the language involving:
- Use of grammar and vocabulary
- Spelling and punctuation
- Sentence structure
- Connecting ideas
Above all, your child should be able to write and transform their imagination, feelings, and thoughts into well-worded sentences. This combination of language skills will help your child score desirable marks in PSLE English.
2. Categorise the descriptive phrases.
Descriptive phrases of feelings and emotions are divided into three categories:
- Outside description or what is physically visible. For example: “The sunset painted an orange hue on the horizon.”
- Inside description or attributes that you cannot visibly see in a character. For example: He was boiling with rage.
- Action or a physical reaction to an emotion. For example: She was shivering and shaking like a leaf in the biting cold.
Children who understand that emotions in a composition are a blend of the “outside”, the “inside”, and the “actions” know how, when, and where to use the phrases for maximum effect.
3. Identify the examiner’s requirements.
In PSLE English, the examiners will look for:
- Relevance of the story plot
- Connection of ideas
- Your child’s understanding of the core topic
- Ability to stay on track with the main plot
- Ability to fulfil the topic requirements
It is very likely that your child will score excellent marks in the English portion of PSLE if the composition checks all of these boxes.
4. Combine the character’s appearance, emotions & actions.
The sentences in your composition should “show” and not merely “tell”. Take this sentence, for example: “He was angry.” This sentence is as bland as it can be and doesn’t give the reader(the examiner) more information to picture the character in their minds.
The same emotion is better conveyed when the students combine the character’s looks, feelings, and actions in the sentence. For example: “ Get away from my orchard. Stop plucking my apples,” shouted Mr. Smith as he ran (action) towards the children who fled (action) when they heard his bellowing voice. When Mr Smith reached the spot, he was panting heavily (action). His face clouded (inside) when he saw that the children’s basket was full of apples.
5. Use phrases wisely.
Simple phrases that are short, concise, and straightforward add a whole new dimension to your composition- but only when used appropriately. The composition should be interspersed with simple and descriptive sentences to make for an enjoyable read. The main aim is to write for the reader’s enjoyment rather than to impress them. Here’s a list of simple phrases that adequately describe emotions.
1. Anger expressed through facial expressions:
- Nostrils flared in anger
- Face scrunched up in frustration
- Eyebrows furrowed in suspicion
2. Anger expressed through actions
- Tightly clenched fists
- Shook with anger
- Anger erupted from within
3. Anger expressed with similes
- Blood boiled with anger
- Anger swirled within her
4. Fear conveyed through facial expressions
- Eyes widened with fear
- Lips quivered uncontrollably
- Face froze with fear
5. Fear conveyed through actions
- Stood frozen on the ground
- Voice trembled with fear
- Breathing intensified, and my spine tingled
6. Fear conveyed with similes
- As timid as a mouse
- Fear clouded her face
- Scared as a deer in a lion’s den
7. Sadness with facial expressions
- Lip curled downwards
- Soulless eyes
- Tears pooled in her eyes
- Crestfallen face
Also Read : Tips to Handle PSLE English Exam
8. Sadness conveyed with actions
- Trudged reluctantly
- Shoulders slumped
- Tore himself away
9. Sadness conveyed with Similes
- Sad as a dog without a bone
- The room was silent as a grave
Writing a story that has the reader (in this case, the PSLE examiner) completely enthralled is a skill that’s easier said than done. However, it is not impossible. Seek the help of teachers and other resources to improve your child’s artistic expression of words.
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