I have two ways to write the same sentence:

  1. The writing sings.
  2. The writing is musical.

To me, the first sounds a lot better. It's better, I think, because I'm using a verb to describe what the writing is doing instead of an adjective to provide a more static description.

Is there a more formal term for what's going on here (i.e. using verbs to more-vividly describe inanimate objects?)

  • 1
    "The writing sings" is poetic. "The writing is musical" is mundane.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 9, 2020 at 22:32
  • Could you please provide context, by saying what type of writing this is - is it technical analysis, a critical review, literary criticism or what it it? Perhaps an extract of the piece of writing might also be helpful.
    – Tuffy
    Feb 9, 2020 at 23:09

1 Answer 1


This is a matter of rhetoric and style.

When we have non-humans (like writing) doing things that humans do (like singing), we call it personification.

As you might imagine, humans—self-centered creatures that they are—find personification stimulating.

If that rhetorical device helps you connect with your audience, do feel free to deploy it in your writing.

Just don't overdo a good thing.

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