Posted on

Creative writing phrases to use

40 Useful Words and Phrases for Top-Notch Essays

To be truly brilliant, an essay needs to utilise the right language. You could make a great point, but if it’s not intelligently articulated, you almost needn’t have bothered.

Developing the language skills to build an argument and to write persuasively is crucial if you’re to write outstanding essays every time. In this article, we’re going to equip you with the words and phrases you need to write a top-notch essay, along with examples of how to utilise them.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and there will often be other ways of using the words and phrases we describe that we won’t have room to include, but there should be more than enough below to help you make an instant improvement to your essay-writing skills.

This article is suitable for native English speakers and those who are learning English at Oxford Royale Academy and are just taking their first steps into essay writing.

General explaining

Let’s start by looking at language for general explanations of complex points.

1. In order to

Usage: “In order to” can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument.
Example: “In order to understand X, we need first to understand Y.”

2. In other words

Usage: Use “in other words” when you want to express something in a different way (more simply), to make it easier to understand, or to emphasise or expand on a point.
Example: “Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they live on the land and in the water.”

3. To put it another way

Usage: This phrase is another way of saying “in other words”, and can be used in particularly complex points, when you feel that an alternative way of wording a problem may help the reader achieve a better understanding of its significance.
Example: “Plants rely on photosynthesis. To put it another way, they will die without the sun.”

4. That is to say

Usage: “That is” and “that is to say” can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise.
Example: “Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.”

5. To that end

Usage: Use “to that end” or “to this end” in a similar way to “in order to” or “so”.
Example: “Zoologists have long sought to understand how animals communicate with each other. To that end, a new study has been launched that looks at elephant sounds and their possible meanings.”

Adding additional information to support a point

Students often make the mistake of using synonyms of “and” each time they want to add further information in support of a point they’re making, or to build an argument . Here are some cleverer ways of doing this.

6. Moreover

Usage: Employ “moreover” at the start of a sentence to add extra information in support of a point you’re making.
Example: “Moreover, the results of a recent piece of research provide compelling evidence in support of…”

7. Furthermore

Usage:This is also generally used at the start of a sentence, to add extra information.
Example: “Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that…”

8. What’s more

Usage: This is used in the same way as “moreover” and “furthermore”.
Example: “What’s more, this isn’t the only evidence that supports this hypothesis.”

9. Likewise

Usage: Use “likewise” when you want to talk about something that agrees with what you’ve just mentioned.
Example: “Scholar A believes X. Likewise, Scholar B argues compellingly in favour of this point of view.”

10. Similarly

Usage: Use “similarly” in the same way as “likewise”.
Example: “Audiences at the time reacted with shock to Beethoven’s new work, because it was very different to what they were used to. Similarly, we have a tendency to react with surprise to the unfamiliar.”

11. Another key thing to remember

Usage: Use the phrase “another key point to remember” or “another key fact to remember” to introduce additional facts without using the word “also”.
Example: “As a Romantic, Blake was a proponent of a closer relationship between humans and nature. Another key point to remember is that Blake was writing during the Industrial Revolution, which had a major impact on the world around him.”

12. As well as

Usage: Use “as well as” instead of “also” or “and”.
Example: “Scholar A argued that this was due to X, as well as Y.”

13. Not only… but also

Usage: This wording is used to add an extra piece of information, often something that’s in some way more surprising or unexpected than the first piece of information.
Example: “Not only did Edmund Hillary have the honour of being the first to reach the summit of Everest, but he was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.”

14. Coupled with

Usage: Used when considering two or more arguments at a time.
Example: “Coupled with the literary evidence, the statistics paint a compelling view of…”

15. Firstly, secondly, thirdly…

Usage: This can be used to structure an argument, presenting facts clearly one after the other.
Example: “There are many points in support of this view. Firstly, X. Secondly, Y. And thirdly, Z.

16. Not to mention/to say nothing of

Usage: “Not to mention” and “to say nothing of” can be used to add extra information with a bit of emphasis.
Example: “The war caused unprecedented suffering to millions of people, not to mention its impact on the country’s economy.”

Words and phrases for demonstrating contrast

When you’re developing an argument, you will often need to present contrasting or opposing opinions or evidence – “it could show this, but it could also show this”, or “X says this, but Y disagrees”. This section covers words you can use instead of the “but” in these examples, to make your writing sound more intelligent and interesting.

17. However

Usage: Use “however” to introduce a point that disagrees with what you’ve just said.
Example: “Scholar A thinks this. However, Scholar B reached a different conclusion.”

18. On the other hand

Usage: Usage of this phrase includes introducing a contrasting interpretation of the same piece of evidence, a different piece of evidence that suggests something else, or an opposing opinion.
Example: “The historical evidence appears to suggest a clear-cut situation. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence presents a somewhat less straightforward picture of what happened that day.”

19. Having said that

Usage: Used in a similar manner to “on the other hand” or “but”.
Example: “The historians are unanimous in telling us X, an agreement that suggests that this version of events must be an accurate account. Having said that, the archaeology tells a different story.”

20. By contrast/in comparison

Usage: Use “by contrast” or “in comparison” when you’re comparing and contrasting pieces of evidence.
Example: “Scholar A’s opinion, then, is based on insufficient evidence. By contrast, Scholar B’s opinion seems more plausible.”

21. Then again

Usage: Use this to cast doubt on an assertion.
Example: “Writer A asserts that this was the reason for what happened. Then again, it’s possible that he was being paid to say this.”

22. That said

Usage: This is used in the same way as “then again”.
Example: “The evidence ostensibly appears to point to this conclusion. That said, much of the evidence is unreliable at best.”

23. Yet

Usage: Use this when you want to introduce a contrasting idea.
Example: “Much of scholarship has focused on this evidence. Yet not everyone agrees that this is the most important aspect of the situation.”

Adding a proviso or acknowledging reservations

Sometimes, you may need to acknowledge a shortfalling in a piece of evidence, or add a proviso. Here are some ways of doing so.

24. Despite this

Usage: Use “despite this” or “in spite of this” when you want to outline a point that stands regardless of a shortfalling in the evidence.
Example: “The sample size was small, but the results were important despite this.”

25. With this in mind

Usage: Use this when you want your reader to consider a point in the knowledge of something else.
Example: “We’ve seen that the methods used in the 19th century study did not always live up to the rigorous standards expected in scientific research today, which makes it difficult to draw definite conclusions. With this in mind, let’s look at a more recent study to see how the results compare.”

26. Provided that

Usage: This means “on condition that”. You can also say “providing that” or just “providing” to mean the same thing.
Example: “We may use this as evidence to support our argument, provided that we bear in mind the limitations of the methods used to obtain it.”

27. In view of/in light of

Usage: These phrases are used when something has shed light on something else.
Example: “In light of the evidence from the 2013 study, we have a better understanding of…”

28. Nonetheless

Usage: This is similar to “despite this”.
Example: “The study had its limitations, but it was nonetheless groundbreaking for its day.”

29. Nevertheless

Usage: This is the same as “nonetheless”.
Example: “The study was flawed, but it was important nevertheless.”

30. Notwithstanding

Usage: This is another way of saying “nonetheless”.
Example: “Notwithstanding the limitations of the methodology used, it was an important study in the development of how we view the workings of the human mind.”

Giving examples

Good essays always back up points with examples, but it’s going to get boring if you use the expression “for example” every time. Here are a couple of other ways of saying the same thing.

31. For instance

Example: “Some birds migrate to avoid harsher winter climates. Swallows, for instance, leave the UK in early winter and fly south…”

32. To give an illustration

Example: “To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s look at the case of…”

Signifying importance

When you want to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, there are several ways of highlighting it as such.

33. Significantly

Usage: Used to introduce a point that is loaded with meaning that might not be immediately apparent.
Example: “Significantly, Tacitus omits to tell us the kind of gossip prevalent in Suetonius’ accounts of the same period.”

34. Notably

Usage: This can be used to mean “significantly” (as above), and it can also be used interchangeably with “in particular” (the example below demonstrates the first of these ways of using it).
Example: “Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.”

35. Importantly

Usage: Use “importantly” interchangeably with “significantly”.
Example: “Importantly, Scholar A was being employed by X when he wrote this work, and was presumably therefore under pressure to portray the situation more favourably than he perhaps might otherwise have done.”

Summarising

You’ve almost made it to the end of the essay, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to end by wrapping up everything you’ve talked about, showing that you’ve considered the arguments on both sides and reached the most likely conclusion. Here are some words and phrases to help you.

36. In conclusion

Usage: Typically used to introduce the concluding paragraph or sentence of an essay, summarising what you’ve discussed in a broad overview.
Example: “In conclusion, the evidence points almost exclusively to Argument A.”

37. Above all

Usage: Used to signify what you believe to be the most significant point, and the main takeaway from the essay.
Example: “Above all, it seems pertinent to remember that…”

38. Persuasive

Usage: This is a useful word to use when summarising which argument you find most convincing.
Example: “Scholar A’s point – that Constanze Mozart was motivated by financial gain – seems to me to be the most persuasive argument for her actions following Mozart’s death.”

39. Compelling

Usage: Use in the same way as “persuasive” above.
Example: “The most compelling argument is presented by Scholar A.”

40. All things considered

Usage: This means “taking everything into account”. Example: “All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that…”

How many of these words and phrases will you get into your next essay? And are any of your favourite essay terms missing from our list? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch here to find out more about courses that can help you with your essays.

At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer a number of summer school courses for young people who are keen to improve their essay writing skills. Click here to apply for one of our courses today, including law, politics, business, medicine and engineering.

801+ Power Words That Pack a Punch & Convert like Crazy

Power words are like a “cheat code” for boosting conversion rates. Sprinkle in a few and you can transform dull, lifeless words into persuasive words that compel readers to take action.

And the best part?

You can use them anywhere.

In this post, you’ll learn how to use power words like a kung fu master. Specifically:

  • The definition of power words (and why they’re so powerful);
  • The 7 types of power words proven to increase conversions;
  • Examples of how bloggers, freelance writers, and businesses are using powerful words to boost conversions;
  • A huge list of power words you can use, bookmark, and reference (again and again).

Want to bring your ideas to life, to make them take up residence in the reader’s mind, lurking in the background, tugging, pulling, and cajoling their emotions until they think and feel exactly as you want?

Then you’re going to love this post.

What are Power Words?

Power words are persuasive, descriptive words that trigger a positive or negative emotional response. They can make us feel scared, encouraged, aroused, angry, greedy, safe, or curious. Authors, freelance writers, copywriters, and content marketers use “power words” to spice up their content and compel audiences to take action.

Let’s deconstruct an example from the great Winston Churchill. All the power words are underlined:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Power Words = Emotional Words Packed with Persuasion

Smart speakers, as well as their speechwriters, sprinkle their speeches with carefully-chosen power words drenched in sensory details, drawing the audience from one emotion to another as skillfully as any novelist or screenwriter.

And it goes beyond speakers and storytellers.

Email marketing messages, copywriting, infographics, step-by-step tutorials, sales pages, inspirational quotes, content marketing, case studies, calls to action, testimonials, tweets, and other social media posts are all designed to influence the reader (and prospective customers) in some way. You want to pass along information, yes, but you also want the reader to feel a certain way about that information.

Maybe you want to impress them, get them excited, make them cautious, get them angry, encourage them to keep going, spark their curiosity, build trust with them, or any number of emotions. The better a job you do at making them feel, the more influential you are, and the better your chances of getting what you want.

Maybe add a little personality or pizzazz — that extra little “oomph” that grabs your reader’s attention?

Then you need to expand your vocabulary and infuse your content with emotional power words.

The 7 Different Types of Power Words

We’ve organized our power words into seven different types, which all accomplish the same goal: Each elicits emotion in your reader.

Let’s go over each type and see why these words work.

1. Fear Power Words

Let’s do a little experiment.

Just for a moment, stop reading this post, turn on the television, and go to a major news channel. Watch it for five minutes, listening for the words below.

Chances are, you’ll hear dozens of them. Here’s why:

Fear is without a doubt the most powerful emotion for grabbing and keeping an audience’s attention. To make sure you don’t change the channel, news networks load up with fear words, making you worry you might miss something important.

Granted, you can overdo it, but in my opinion, most writers don’t use these types of words nearly enough. They really do connect with people.

How to Crank Up Emotion with Fear Words

Here’s an example of a blog post headline here at Smart Blogger that utilizes three different fear words:

Open it and you’re greeted by this fear-packed introduction:

Waves of pain unimaginable shot down my spine, causing every muscle in my body to contract as if I’d been shocked with 20,000 volts of electricity. My back arched up at an unnatural angle. My arms and legs began to shake.

One moment, I was on a webinar talking to a few hundred people about traffic, walking them through exactly how to start a blog and make it popular. The next, everything went dark. I was still conscious, but just barely.

Pretty effective, right?

Here’s another one:

If I’m working from home, will I lose my sanity if I don’t read this post? There’s only one way to find out. (Click!)

Want to sprinkle fear power words into your writing? Here are a bunch to get you started:

Agony Lunatic
Apocalypse Lurking
Armageddon Massacre
Assault Meltdown
Backlash Menacing
Beating Mired
Beware Mistake
Blinded Murder
Blood Nightmare
Bloodbath Painful
Bloodcurdling Pale
Bloody Panic
Blunder Peril
Bomb Piranha
Buffoon Pitfall
Bumbling Plague
Cadaver Played
Catastrophe Plummet
Caution Plunge
Collapse Poison
Corpse Poor
Crazy Prison
Cripple Pummel
Crisis Pus
Danger Reckoning
Dark Refugee
Deadly Revenge
Death Risky
Deceiving Scary
Destroy Scream
Devastating Searing
Disastrous Shame
Doom Shatter
Drowning Shellacking
Dumb Shocked
Embarrass Silly
Fail Slaughter
Feeble Slave
Fired Strangle
Fool Stupid
Fooled Suicide
Frantic Tailspin
Frightening Tank
Gambling Targeted
Gullible Teetering
Hack Terror
Hazardous Terrorist
Hoax Torture
Holocaust Toxic
Horrific Tragedy
Hurricane Trap
Injure Vaporize
Insidious Victim
Epidemic Cataclysmic
Bufoon Suffering
Reckoning Trauma
Dangerous Annihilate
Invasion Volatile
IRS Vulnerable
Jail Warning
Jeopardy Nerd
Lawsuit Wounded
Looming Cringeworthy
Last chance Fugacious
Worry Wreaking havoc

2. Encouragement Power Words

When they’re reading, most people aren’t exactly bouncing off the walls with energy and enthusiasm. They’re probably bored, maybe a little depressed, and almost definitely tired.

And they’re looking for something, anything, that’ll wake them up and make them feel better.

Your writing can do that for them.

How to Crank Up Emotion with Encouragement Words

Here’s an example email from Mirasee:

Amazing Jubilant
Ascend Legend
Astonishing Life-changing
Astounding Magic
Audacious Marvelous
Awe-inspiring Master
Awesome Mind-blowing
Backbone Miracle
Badass Miraculous
Beat Noble
Belief Perfect
Blissful Persuade
Bravery Phenomenal
Breathtaking Pluck
Brilliant Power-up
Celebrate Praise
Cheer Prevail
Colossal Remarkable
Command Revel
Conquer Rule
Courage Score
Daring Seize
Defeat Sensational
Defiance Spectacular
Delight Spine
Devoted Spirit
Dignity Splendid
Dominate Spunk
Effortless Staggering
Empower Strengthen
Epic Striking
Excellent Strong
Excited Stunning
Extraordinary Stunt
Eye-opening Supreme
Fabulous Surprising
Faith Terrific
Fantastic Thrive
Fearless Thwart
Ferocious Titan
Fierce Tough
Force Triumph
Fulfill Tremendous
Glorious Unbeatable
Glory Unbelievable
Graceful Unforgettable
Grateful Unique
Grit Unleash
Guts Uplifting
Happy Valiant
Heart Valor
Hero Vanquish
Honor Victory
Hope Win
Incredible Wonderful
Jaw-dropping Wondrous
Kudos Brighten
Lovable Radiant
Flawless Classy
Affable Stupendous
Virtuoso Cheery
Openhearted Jovial
Beauteous Logophile
Adorable

3. Lust Power Words

Just look at the men’s and women’s magazines in the checkout aisle, and you’ll see what I mean. Nearly every headline on the cover is either blatantly or indirectly about sex.

And it works, not just for headlines in men’s and women’s magazines, but for messages to your email list, subheads in your articles, ad copy — anything.

As a writer (or marketer), you can use words that inspire lust to make almost anything intriguing.

How to Crank Up Emotion with Lust Words

See if you can spot the lust words in this headline from Cosmopolitan:

Okay, the orange underlines probably give it away, but my hunch is you didn’t need them.

Power words like captivating and love jump off the page. And if you use them properly, they can stir all sorts of emotions in your readers’ heads. (Want to see your click-through rates soar? Add a lust word or two.)

Here’s a lascivious list of descriptive words to get you started:

Allure Naughty
Arouse Nude
Bare Obscene
Begging Orgasmic
Beguiling Passionate
Brazen Pining
Captivating Pleasure
Charm Provocative
Cheeky Racy
Climax Raunchy
Crave Risque
Delight Rowdy
Delirious Salacious
Depraved Satisfy
Desire Saucy
Dirty Scandalous
Divine Seduce
Ecstasy Seductive
Embrace Sensual
Enchant Sex
Enthralling Shameless
Entice Sinful
Entrance Sleazy
Excite Sleeping
Explicit Spank
Exposed Spellbinding
Fascinate Spicy
Forbidden Steamy
Frisky Stimulating
Goosebumps Strip
Hanker Sweaty
Heavenly Tantalizing
Hottest Taste
Hypnotic Tawdry
Impure Tease
Indecent Tempting
Intense Thrilling
Intoxicating Tickle
Itching Tight
Juicy Tingle
Kinky Turn on
Kiss Unabashed
Lascivious Uncensored
Lewd Untamed
Lick Untouched
Lonely Urge
Longing Voluptuous
Love Vulgar
Pleasurable Charismatic
Riveting Obsession
Mouthwatering Compelling
Magnetic Enchanting
Lovely Engaging
Intriguing Fascinating
Flirt Alluring
Lure Wanton
Luscious Wet
Lush Whip
Lust Wild
Mischievous X-rated
Mouth-watering Yearning
Naked Yummy
Sneak peek Promiscuous

4. Anger Power Words

Not for the fun of it, mind you, but because someone is doing something wrong, and the community needs to take action to correct it.

The problem is, with wrongdoing, most people are pretty apathetic — they’ll wait until the situation becomes entirely intolerable to do anything, and by then, it’s often too late.

So, we have to fan the flames.

How to Crank Up Emotion with Anger Words

The authors of this Forbes headline don’t pull any punches:

I didn’t realize some people get angry over business jargon, but apparently it’s a thing. And this headline, undoubtedly, had such people frothing at the mouth.

If you want to connect with people’s anger and slowly but surely work them into a frenzy, use the power words below.

Just be careful who you target. Lawyers can eat you alive if you pick on the wrong person.

Abhorrent Money-grubbing
Abuse Nasty
Annoying Nazi
Arrogant No good
Ass kicking Obnoxious
Backstabbing Oppressive
Barbaric Pain in the ass
Bash Payback
Beat down Perverse
Big mouth Pesky
Blatant Pest
Brutal Phony
Bullsh*t Pissed off
Bully Pollute
Cheat Pompous
Clobber Pound
Clown Preposterous
Cocky Pretentious
Corrupt Punch
Coward Punish
Crooked Rampant
Crush Ravage
Curse Repelling
Debase Repugnant
Defile Revile
Delinquent Revolting
Demolish Rotten
Desecrate Rude
Disgusting Ruined
Dishonest Ruthless
Distorted Savage
Evil Scam
Exploit Scold
Force-fed Sick and tired
Foul Sink
Freaking out Slam
Full of sh*t Slander
Greedy Slap
Gross Slay
Harass Smash
Hate Smear
High and mighty Smug
Horrid Sniveling
Infuriating Snob
Jackass Snooty
Kick Snotty
Kill Spoil
Knock Stuck up
Knock out Suck
Know it all Terrorize
Lies Trash
Livid Trounce
Loathsome Tyranny
Loser Underhanded
Lying Up to here
Maul Useless
Broke Stink
Fear Raise hell
Sneaky Screw
Rant Miff
Diatribe Vicious
Weak Diminish
Provoke Hostile
Morally bankrupt Worst
Thug B.S.
Agitate Boil over
Annoy Violent
Misleading Violate
Lollygag Quixotic

5. Greed Power Words

The legendary copywriter Gary Halbert once said, “If you want people to buy something, stomp on their greed glands until they bleed.” Graphic, yes, but also true.

Skim through good digital marketing copy on an e-commerce site, and you’ll find a lot of power words based on vanity or greed. Many of them are so overused they’ve become cliché, but that doesn’t stop them from working.

The truth is, nearly every human being on the planet is interested in making money (or saving money).

How to Crank Up Emotion with Greed Words

Its explicit and implicit use of greed words makes this popular book from Dave Ramsey a great example:

Source: Amazon (affiliate link)

“Money” is hard to miss — it’s probably the ultimate greed word and it’s sitting there in capital letters.

But a title like “Total Money Makeover” also implies another greed word (even though it doesn’t directly state it): money-saving.

(It also gets bonus points for using alliteration and the safety power word “proven”, which we’ll discuss in a moment.)

If you want to stomp (which is also an excellent example of onomatopoeia, by the way) on your readers’ greed glands, use these power words:

Bank Jackpot
Bargain Lowest price
Best Luxurious
Billion Marked down
Bonanza Massive
Booked solid Money
Cash Money-draining
Cheap Money-saving
Costly Nest egg
Discount Pay zero
Dollar Prize
Double Profit
Explode Quadruple
Extra Reduced
Feast Rich
Fortune Savings
Don’t miss out Fast
Giveaway While they last
Instantly Expires
Never again Premiere
Final More
Hurry Sale ends soon
Value Monetize
Big Save
New Deadline
Handsome Noteworthy
Kick ass Moneymaking
Knockout Lucky
Notable Amplify
At the top Attractive
Wealthy Ahead of the game
Legendary Beautiful
Optimal Good-looking
Successful Bold
Fortunate Sassy
Smart Elegant
Gorgeous Clever
Foxy Quick-witted
Genius Effective
Elite Drop-dead
Crowned Dazzling
You Turbo charge
Bright Super-human
Brassy Booming
Boss Unbeaten
Undefeated Boost
Exclusive / Exclusivity Frugal
Special Price break
Before Running out
Upsell Bonus
Free Six-figure
Freebie Skyrocket
Frenzy Soaring
Prosperous Surge
Gift Treasure
Golden Triple
Greatest Waste
High-paying Wealth
Inexpensive Whopping
Cheat sheet

6. Safety Power Words

Greed isn’t the only emotion you want buyers to feel. You also want to make them feel safe.

They need to trust both you and your product or service. They need to have confidence you’ll deliver, and they need to believe they’ll get results.

Of course, building that kind of trust starts with having a quality brand and reputation, but the words you use to describe yourself and your product or service also matter.

How to Crank Up Emotion with Safety Words

On the landing page for one of our Smart Blogger courses, we use power words to make sure our potential customers feel safe:

In addition to “legitimate” and “guaranteed” in the screenshot above, our landing page is sprinkled with numerous safety words:

  • Money-back
  • Results
  • Refund
  • Proven
  • Risk-free

They work for us, and they can work for you.

Help your customers feel safe by using as many of these power words as possible:

Above and beyond Privacy
Anonymous Professional
Authentic Protected
Automatic Proven
Backed Recession-proof
Bankable Refund
Best-selling Reliable
Cancel anytime Research
Certified Results
Clockwork Risk-free
Endorsed Rock-solid
Foolproof Science-backed
Guaranteed Scientific
Moneyback Bona fide
Recognized Authority
Studies show Because
Scientifically proven Genuine
Worldwide Authoritative
Safety Accredited
Fully refundable Case study
Well respected Dependable
Improved Ensured
Expert According to
Track record Approved
Ironclad Secure
Legitimate Sure-fire
Lifetime Survive
Money-back Tested
No obligation That never fails
No questions asked Thorough
No risk Trustworthy
No strings attached Try before you buy
No-fail Unconditional
Official Verify
Permanent World-class
Guilt-free Don’t worry

7. Forbidden Power Words

Remember when you were a kid, and someone told you NOT to do something? From that point on, you could think about little else, right? Curiosity always got the better of us.

The truth is, we’re all fascinated by the mysterious and forbidden. It’s like it’s programmed into our very nature.

So why not tap into that programming?

How to Crank Up Emotion with Forbidden Words

This Ahrefs article tempts you with its headline:

What’s the “secret”? Only one way to find out.

Whenever you want to create curiosity, sprinkle these power words throughout your writing, and readers won’t be able to help being intrigued:

Ancient Lost
Backdoor Never seen before
Banned Off the record
Behind the scenes Off-limits
Black Market Outlawed
Blacklisted Private
Bootleg Restricted
Censored Sealed
Remote Be the first
Ridiculous Become an insider
Secrets Bizarre
Shocking Class full
Ssshhh. Closet
Spoiler Elusive
Supersecret Hilarious
Thought-provoking Illusive
Top secret Incredibly
Trade secret Insane
Uncharted Interesting
Unconventional Invitation only
Undiscovered Key
Unexplained Login required
Unexplored Members only
Unheard of Myths
Unsung Odd
Untold On the QT
Unusual Priceless
Wacky Privy
Zany Psycho
Classified Secret
Cloak and dagger Smuggled
Concealed Strange
Confessions Tried to hide
Confidential Unauthorized
Controversial Uncensored
Covert Under wraps
Cover-up Undercover
Exotic Underground
Forbidden Under-the-table
Forgotten Undisclosed
From the vault Unexpected
Under the table Unlock
Hush-hush Unreachable
Illegal Unspoken
Insider Unveiled
Little-known Withheld
Hidden

Now that we’ve looked at the different types of power words (and gone over a few quick examples), let’s go over all the different places you can use them:

Powerful Words in Action: 14 Places Where Strong Words Can Help You

  1. Headlines
  2. Subheads
  3. Email Subject Lines
  4. Opt-In Boxes
  5. Homepage
  6. Business Names/Blog Names
  7. Product Names
  8. Sales Pages
  9. Testimonials
  10. Bullet Lists
  11. Button Copy (Call to Action)
  12. Author Bios
  13. YouTube Videos
  14. Book Titles

1. Using Power Words in Headlines

Any writer or blogger who’s been in the game for a while knows the headline is the most important part of writing your blog post.

Its purpose, after all, is to entice the reader to read the rest of your content. If your headline fails to get attention, potential readers will ignore it when it shows up in their tweets and social media feeds.

And just one or two power words in your headline is usually enough to make it stand out.

Just look at this headline from BuzzFeed:

The word choice of “Unveiled” makes it feel like a secret is being exposed, and the word “Breathtaking” makes you curious to see what the photo looks like.

Here’s another example from BoredPanda:

People generally love anything adorable, so this headline will easily catch attention. (The fact that it refers to snakes will only make people more curious.)

The headline then drives it home by using the powerful verb “Conquer.”

Here’s one from BrightSide:

While one or two power words are often enough, this headline proves you can use more when it fits.

This headline has four powerful words, but they feel natural in the headline, which keeps it from feeling like over-the-top clickbait.

Here’s one from Smart Blogger:

Greed (“best”) and anger (“not-so-good”) words highlight the headline for Smart Blogger’s recent review of SiteGround.

This headline from our How to Make Money Writing: 5 Ways to Get Paid to Write in 2022 post incorporates two greed words: “money” and “get paid.”

It’s one of our most popular posts, and its headline’s use of power words is a big reason why.

2. Using Power Words in Subheads

Too many writers overlook the value of subheads, which is a mistake. Once people click on your headline, most will scan the post first to see if it looks worthy of their attention.

Adding some power words to your subheads is a good way to make your post look like an interesting read.

For example, here are three subheads from our post on E-book mistakes:

See how the power words in these subheads grab your attention and make you want to read the text that follows?

Power words can help with SEO too. Adding one or two power words to your subheads will compel readers to stick around longer, which will increase your dwell time — a big deal in Google’s eyes.

3. Using Power Words in Email Subject Lines

Having an email list is of little use if only a handful of readers bother to open your emails.

And these days, most people’s inboxes are flooded, so they’re selective in which emails they open.

You can stand out in their inbox and raise your open rates by including power words in your subject lines.

Just look at this one from Ramit Sethi:

blogging platform like Medium which doesn’t allow them — you should have opt-in forms scattered across your website.

You can place them on your homepage, at the end of your posts, in your sidebar, in a popup, or anywhere else.

But no matter where you place them, your opt-in boxes must catch people’s eye and make them want to share their email address with you. Because they won’t give it away to just anyone.

(Remember, their inboxes are already flooded, so they’re not necessarily eager to get even more emails.)

Fortunately, you can use power words to make your offer more enticing.

As an example, here’s an old popup from Cosmopolitan:

This popup had power words everywhere, but it avoided feeling like overkill. I bet it converted like crazy.

Here’s a slightly more subtle example from Betty Means Business:

It’s understated, but still quite effective.

Again, you don’t have to overdo it with the power words on these. A little can go a long way.

Here’s one final example from Renegade Planner:

“Nerds,” “Misfits,” and “Mutants” are unusual power words that work well for Nerd Fitness’ target audience. These words immediately separate it from all the other fitness blogs out there.

But they push it even further with “Strong,” “Healthy,” and “Permanently.”

Here’s another value proposition from MainStreetHost’s homepage:

It’s quite minimal, isn’t it? They just wrote down three power words and follow it up with a service they provide.

Of course, you don’t have to limit your use of power words to the top of your homepage.

You can use it in other parts of the homepage too, as Ramit Sethi does here in his list of what you’ll get when you sign up for his email list:

Go look at your homepage now and see if you can find any areas you can spruce up with some power words.

6. Using Power Words in Business Names/Blog Names

Having a forgettable name is poison to your website’s growth. So when you start a blog, you want to make sure you have a name people can easily recall.

If you haven’t chosen your blog name yet (or if you’re thinking about rebranding), you should use a power word to give it some punch. The right word will make you stand out from all the boring, forgettable brands out there.

Just take a look at the collection of blog names below and see how well they’ve incorporated power words:

7. Using Power Words in Product Names

Just like you can use power words to spruce up your blog name, you can also use them to make your product names pack more of a punch.

It can make the difference between your potential customers thinking, “Ooh, this product sounds cool!” and them thinking, “Meh.”

Just check out this subscription product from Nerd Fitness:

It has such a powerful name that you’d almost want to sign up without learning anything else about it. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a community of rising heroes?

Here’s another good example from Pat Flynn:

It’s a powerful name for his podcasting course that instantly informs you of the benefit.

So if you’re about to launch a product (or if you’ve launched a product with a tepid name), consider giving it a power word to make it pack a punch.

8. Using Power Words on Sales Pages

You can also use power words to spruce up the copywriting on your sales pages and make them more effective at selling your e-commerce products or services.

They will grab people’s attention when they arrive on the page, they will keep their attention as they scroll down, and they’ll help seduce readers before they reach your “buy” button.

Just look at this headline on Ramit Sethi’s sales page for his product 50 Proven Email Scripts (which also has a power word in its name):

And as you scroll down, you see he keeps using power words throughout his sales page.

His headline is followed by emotion-packed subheads:

And he even uses power words in his guarantee:

9. Using Power Words in Testimonials

Power words are also tremendously effective in testimonials.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you change people’s testimonials to include power words. But you can certainly select the ones that already use them to great effect.

Just look at this example from Betty Means Business:

Or look at this one from Farideh’s blog:

And here’s another example from Renegade Planner:

All these testimonials will lend extra credibility and excitement due to their power words and phrases.

10. Using Power Words in Bullet Lists

Many sales pages include a list of benefits of the product they’re selling. Many opt-in forms include a huge list of reasons you should sign up to their email list. And many case studies use bullet lists to quickly summarize information.

You can use power words in these lists to inspire more excitement in your reader as they read through them.

Here’s one example from Ramit Sethi’s sales page for his How to Talk to Anyone course:

And here’s another example from an opt-in form on Restart Your Style:

Without these power words, these lists wouldn’t convince nearly as many readers to buy or subscribe.

11. Using Power Words in Button Copy and CTA (Call to Action)

Yep, you can use power words in your button copy too — even if you only have a few words you can fit in there.

One of the most common power words used in buttons is “Free” (as in the example below):

But you can be more creative with buttons than you might think.

Takes this button from the sales page for the book The Renegade Diet:

“Immediate,” “Money Back,” and “Guarantee” are all incredibly powerful words, and the author manages to squeeze them all into one button.

Here’s an example from Tim Ferris:

He could’ve used “Send Me the List” as most people would do, but “Unlock” makes it sound a lot more intriguing — like you’re getting access to something that’s been kept hidden away.

Now take a look at the buttons on your site.

Do you see any opportunities to spruce them up with a power word?

12. Using Power Words in Author Bios

Your author bio is another extremely important part of your marketing.

When you guest post for another blog (or write a paid article as a freelancer), your author bio has the difficult job of making readers want to know more about you so they click through to your site.

That means your author bio needs to spark attention and interest. And you usually only get three sentences, so you need to carefully consider the words you use.

As an example, here’s the author bio from Henneke Duistermaat in her post on overcoming writer’s block:

Henneke’s author bio is full of power words. It shows her uniqueness and makes her stand out from other copywriters.

You can tell she has carefully picked each perfect word for maximum impact.

Here’s another example from Sarah Peterson’s post on blog ads:

She opens strong immediately by mentioning her guides are insanely useful. And just the name of her report alone is full of power words: “Free,” “Reveal,” and “Begging.”

Makes you want to get your hands on that report, doesn’t it?

13. Using Power Words on YouTube Videos

If you’re publishing videos on YouTube and you want to get more views, you should use power words in your titles.

All the biggest YouTube channels do this.

They understand most of their views will come from their subscribers finding them in their feeds, and from people finding them in the sidebar of other videos.

In both cases, you’re competing with many other videos for their attention. If you want your video to stand out and be the one they choose to watch, your title has to be captivating.

See how Philip DeFranco does it below:

“Disgusting,” “Punishment,” and “Controversy” are all attention-grabbing words (and that’s besides the attention-grabbing names of Brock Turner, Star Wars, and Kim Kardashian).

Note also how he has capitalized “Disgusting.” It’s another smart trick many YouTube channels use to stand out more in YouTube’s lists of video suggestions.

Style vlogger Aaron Marino often does it as well:

By capitalizing the power words “Don’ts” and “Stupid,” his title catches a lot more attention (as you can see for yourself by the millions of views it’s received).

14. Using Power Words in Book Titles

If you’re interested in writing your own book, adding power words to your titles will help it sell better.

With all the competition in the book market these days, you need a title that grabs people’s attention and makes them want to peek inside.

Here are a few quick grabs from Amazon’s list of bestsellers in the self-help niche:

Source: Amazon (affiliate link)

I’m sure you’ve seen this title before.

You might say Stephen Covey’s use of power words in his title has been highly effective. (See what I did there?)

Source: Amazon (affiliate link)

Mark Manson’s bestselling title is packed with power.

The power word “Subtle” juxtaposes well with the F-bomb in the title, and his use of “Counterintuitive” will spark some interest as well.

Source: Amazon (affiliate link)

Lastly, Jen Sincero’s encouraging book title makes you want to flip it open and read it in one go.

The use of “Badass” alone will make it stand out in the self-development section, but her use of “Greatness” and “Awesome” in the subtitle truly seals the deal.

Go Ahead and Tell Me. What Powerful Words Did I Miss?

They’re known by many names…

Emotion words. Good words. Strong words. Powerful words, creative words, sensory words, trigger words, persuasive words, descriptive words, impactful words, interesting words, positive words, unique words, action words, and even — yes, seriously — awesome words.

But whatever you call them; smart, attractive people such as yourself have mastered the strategic use of power words and use this valuable communication skill every day to pack their writing with emotion so they can increase conversions.

Yes, this is an enormous list of words, but with so many power words and power phrases available, you’d need a thesaurus or Word of the Day dictionary to catch every single word on the first pass. (Plus, new words seem to be added to the English language every day.)

What are some other good words that seem to have that extra little spark of emotion inside them? Do you have favorite power words?

Best Descriptive Writing Sites Describing the beauty of nature

This post is a collection of some of the best sentences from 10 of my blog posts. They can also be found in my new book ‘Writing with Stardust’. To see the book and its accompanying workbook, just click the title: Writing with Stardust.

I hope you enjoy the post and I will upload another selection soon. With luck the sentences will inspire ideas for your writing. Take care for now. Liam.

1. It was womb quiet by the stream and even the moth-flutter had died down.

2. Pebbles whisked about in the underwash like little pieces of glitter.

3. A galaxy of dragonflies fizzed through the beams of light, wings a-glirr in the magical space between river and air.

1. The river was a fragile, universe-blue colour, like the subtle sweep of a painter’s brush.

2. The trout arced into the air, his body glistening, performing the ballet of the river. With a plunking sound, he darted back to the shadowed depths, his catch already safe in his spotted belly.

3. The mist faded, allowing the Technicolor of nature to be turned up like a light switch.

THUNDER AND LIGHTNING:

1. The autumn sky was as bright as Zeus’ eyes. Nary a cloud blemished its bliss-blue complexion and the sun was like a glowing medallion pinned to a sheet of white paper.

2. Branched lightning lit up the Stygian sky. It was like liquid, golden ore streaks were being forged into forks above my head.

3. Wriggling and writhing with the pain of its existence, it flashed once, glossy and polished, like the cold, gold prongs of the Apocalypse.

DESCRIBING CHRISTMAS:

1. The fire’s lambent light stole away the velvet-black shadows dancing on the wall.

2. Thyme-filled turkeys sizzled on the oven foil.

3. An angel was perched on top of the tree, glittering with its flash-silver lustre.

LOST AT SEA:

1. The emptiness in my soul matches the spiritless sky and the featureless waterscape around me.

2. I am floundering in a sea of divine-blue quicklime and there’s no escape.

3. The moon casts down splinters of Solomon-gold, making the sea-crests sparkle like elf light.

DESCRIBING AUTUMN:

1. Fog-tinted fairy trees stand alone in fields, noosed by coils of dragon breath.

2. Owl light replaces daylight as autumn comes to a close. The seething energy of the forest becomes vow silent as promises to nature are kept.

3. A weak pitter-patter is heard, but is not the sound of children’s feet. It is the centuries-old, hissing drip of raindrops in caves.

THE BEACH AT DAWN:

1. The horizon seemed to be stitched with a line of silver.

2. The seagulls wheeled and arced, their raucous cries ringing off the cliff. There was a strange glamour to their timeless call as they soared between the wands of God-goldened light.

3. A single yacht bobbed and lolled in the incoming tide, like a toy in a bath. Its lights winked saucily as the wave-crests rose gently.

DESCRIBING A LAKE:

1. A broad span of Tuscany-blue sky was slashed above the lake, making it appear like nature’s amphitheatre.

2. Tolkein-esque ferns swayed beside a brook that spiralled down from a turf moor.

3. At the bottom, smooth-edged stones glowed amber with a witchery uncommon to the modern world.

DESCRIBING SPRING:

1. Spring is glee. It’s a fizzy tonic, like a slowly overflowing bottle of bubbling joy.

2. Thumb-plump bumblebees, wings a-thrum, loot from honeypots of mustard-yellow flowers.

3. Overhead, an exodus of banished birds appears as if out of a Celtic fairytale.

DESCRIBING SUMMER:

1. A sol-fa of song erupts as the stars fade away, the ancient alchemy of the dawn chorus.

2. The perpetual skies of summer are buckled with clouds and they flare up in a luminous, neon-blue when the mood takes them.

3. A goulash of scents twirls above the satin soft petals and the pear sweet taste in the air is a blessed joy.

Now here are 10 of my favourite words to use in an essay on nature. Some words just ‘do’ it for you. Having said that, they have a pleasing sound also. This is called a ‘phonoaesthetic’ quality. I had to put in ‘wood sorrel’. For some reason, it’s always fascinated me. Maybe it is because it’s an edible plant. Anyway, here are the words. You can also look up my hundred favourite words to use in an essay by clicking here: https://descriptivewriting.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/ioo-beautiful-words/

(……and my favourite word of all time is frazil-silver. Frazil is the old word for the ice crystals tumbling down a mountain stream.) It’s difficult to beat that.

To get the most comprehensive descriptive book on the market, click here and all will be revealed: Writing with Stardust.