LEOLEO: Literacy Education Online

Sensory Details


Using Specific, Concrete Details

RENNS Model of Details
Sensory Details

When writing a paper, try to avoid using ambiguous sentences. A paper with many vague or undetailed sentences will leave the reader lost and without a clear understanding of your topic. Instead, your writing should contain specific, concrete details to help the reader visualize what you are discussing and hold the reader's attention. Using the RENNS model, developed by Lynn Quitman Troyka, can help you make your writing more specific.

RENNS stands for Reasons,Examples, Names, Numbers,Senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch).The following examples illustrate how you can use this memory device.

REASONS (Why?)

General
Specific
Student parking is becoming an important issue on many college campuses.Because of the increasing numbers of students commuting to college,parking is becoming an important issue.

EXAMPLES (What?)

General
Specific
The handbook is a good guide for using documentation.The MLA handbook provides a guide for documenting works cited.

NAMES (Who?)

General
Specific
The governor of Minnesota enacted legislation that decreased the amount of aid available to college students. The governor of Minnesota, Arne Carlson, enacted legislation that decreased the amount of aid available to middle-income college students.

NUMBERS (How many?)

General
Specific
Even though many members of the student congress were absent, the motion still passed. Even though thirteen members of the student congress were absent, the motion still passed.
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SENSES

General
Specific
After we viewed the movie about nuclear destruction, we better understood the devastating effects of this type of warfare. After we viewed the enormous mushroom cloud produced by a nuclear bomb, we better understood the devastating effects of this type of warfare.
General
Specific
The music was very loud at the rock concert last night. My ears are still ringing today because the music was very loud at the rock concert last night.
General
Specific
Through the use of aromatherapy, many retail stores are trying to enhance their customers' moods to increase business. By using floral perfumes or outdoor scents, many retail stores are trying to make their customers feel like they are in a natural setting.
General
Specific
The university sponsored a festival which featured Japanese foods. The university sponsored a festival featuring hot, spicy, Japanese foods.
General
Specific
The Braille system of communication uses touch to convey a message. The Braille system of communication requires a person to touch a series of raised dots to convey a message.
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© 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 The Write Place

LEO: Literacy Education Online

This page was written by Becky Marchant for the Write Place, St. Cloud State University and may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.
Troyka, Lynn Quitman, Ann B. Dobie and Emily R. Gordon. Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers. 3rd Edition. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1993.

Last update: 20 August 1998

URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/sensorydetails.html