Some teachers encourage the use of good phrases in composition, while others frown upon them.

The important point to note is, students should not simply memorise good phrases and try to use as many of them in their compositions as possible for the sake of using them.

Teachers will not be impressed.

What teachers are looking for in a piece of good composition is a well-developed content that is clearly and descriptively expressed with a wide range of suitable vocabulary.



“Xin Yu finds it easy to start her writing now. She already used it to write her two school assignments. Also the good phrases, she used them too and her school teacher commented ‘good use of phrases’!”

~ Parent of Xin Yu (P3)

Using Good Phrases in English Compositions

One way to widen your range of vocabulary is to learn more good phrases.

Naturally, the more phrases you have in your vocabulary bank, the more word choices you will have when you need to describe something in your compositions.

Some students use the same word or phrase multiple times in a composition. That is usually due to a lack of vocabulary. It is not enjoyable to read this kind of writing.

Students should know a wide range of words or phrases, so that they are able to pick and choose the more appropriate ones in their descriptions.



good phrases for composition

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Your child can use these phrases in his or her compositions.

Good Phrases To Describe Emotions

Here are just some of the good phrases to describe emotions that we teach our students.

Describing Sadness: 

  • eyes brimmed with tears
  • wailed in sorrow
  • on the verge of tears
  • tears welled up in her eyes
  • face etched with misery

Describing Anger

  • eyes narrowed with contempt
  • seething with rage
  • glared at me with dagger-like eyes
  • stood there with her arms akimbo

Describing Fear / Shock

  • terror gripped my heart
  • a chill ran down my spine
  • trembling with fear
  • heart was pulsating wildly

Describing Happiness

  • a smile spread across her face
  • face lit up with joy
  • whistling a merry tune

Describing Anxiety

  • pacing up and down
  • glanced at his watch for the twentieth time
  • hands turned cold and clammy

Describing Pain 

  • a sharp pain surged through
  • howled in agony
  • cried in excruciating pain

The examples above are some of the good phrases for composition that we teach our students. A child who knows more phrases is at a greater advantage than one who has limited vocabulary.

However, knowing good phrases is just the first step. Students need to understand and apply the phrases correctly to make their compositions interesting. Click here to read some of our students’ compositions.


Find out more about how our Writing Coaches mark our students’ English compositions here.


“Hong Yun has shown improvement in SA1 compared to his SA2 last year.  I have read through his SA1 compo and I was surprised that he could use a number of good sentences and there were only very few grammatical errors, mainly in punctuation. In fact, his compo was one of those that his English teacher read out to the entire class upon return of the paper for checking. In my parents’ meeting with teacher, the teacher commended him for his effort and asked him to continue with the good practice of writing regularly. I could see the vast improvement he made so far in his writing this half a year and I think the regular writing helps.” 

~ Parent of Hong Yun (Primary 4)


Visit our FREE resources page to get more resources for primary school English composition.