Writing Concrete Details Greenville County Schools
What are Concrete Details? • Specific details that form the backbone or skeleton of your body paragraphs • Synonyms for concrete details include: facts, examples, quotations, specifics, descriptions, illustrations, support, proof
When should concrete details be written? • Concrete details must be included in every essay • Include enough concrete details to support each point (in general, three separate details will be the minimum needed to support one point)
Why should concrete details be written? • Support your thesis • Give reasons for your audience to agree with your position
How should concrete details be written? • For beginners, include a minimum of two concrete details to support each point you are trying to make. • Introduce your concrete detail with transition words, such as - For example… - Furthermore… - Finally… • For intermediate writers, include a minimum of three concrete details for every point
A paragraph without concrete details Young children are difficult to teach, but they still like learning. Their minds have not yet developed the necessary skills to solve complex or even simple problems. Even so, they live surrounded by unbounded mysteries and wonder. We could learn about life from children. - http://www.uoflife.com/wc/creative/concrete.htm
Same paragraph with 2 concrete details Young children are difficult to teach, but they still love learning. For example, when a toddler will experiment with a model tool bench, he cannot grasp that the square peg will not fit into the round hole. He must try to fit the peg himself, which results hours of fun. This means that while he may not grasp a concept quickly, he wants to understand it. Even when they are frustrated by what they don’t understand, toddlers live surrounded by wonder. A young child will reach out his arms to grab everything within reach at a store, and those objects are immediately placed in the mouth. This shows that toddlers have incredible curiosity. Even when they don’t understand the use for something, their instinct is to learn as much about it as possible. These examples show a love of knowledge that comes through experimentation rather than formal learning.
What Makes Concrete Details Difficult • You have to have a purpose – know your thesis and understand it. Each detail you choose should help support that thesis • You have to do some research. If you’re writing a research paper, this is obvious. If you’re writing a literary analysis, this means you go back to the text and look for your specific examples
Concrete Details are not… • Abstract – you can find them, see them, touch them on a page or take a photograph of them, etc. • General – you should be as specific as possible in your writing
Model What principles discussed in these lessons on concrete details are at work in the following excerpt from Jeff Bigger's essay, “Searching for El Chapareke”?
THIS WAS THE DAY the canyon walls of Cusarare, a Tarahumara Indian village tucked into the Sierra Madres, bloomed with women in colorful skirts, legions of children trailed by dogs, men in their white shirts and sombreros, all cascading down the pencil-thin trails toward the plaza. The women — shifting babies saddled on their backs in rebozos — sat in groups by the mission walls, wordless for hours, drinking the weekly Coke, watching as the faithful went to attend mass, young men shot hoops, and the older men hovered around benches at the back of the plaza. Pigs wandered down the road in idle joy, and the dogs fought on cue outside the small shop.