Telling: My mother likes books.
Showing: I can often find my mother curled up in a chair in our living room reading a novel, the shelves behind her overflowing with classics, household guides, self-help manuals, and old college textbooks.
Telling: He was proud of his appearance.
Showing: He looked at himself in the mirror, ran a hand through his hair, and smiled.
Telling: It was a lovely day.
Showing: The sky was a deep, cloudless blue. Birdsongs drifted to me in the breeze.
Telling: She looked thoughtful.
Showing: As she studied the handout, she bit the tip of her pencil.
Telling: He was nervous.
Showing: His face was bright red and his hands shook.
Telling: The child spoke up boldly.
Showing: Molly's small but steady voice interrupted the adults' conversation.
Telling: The letter made her angry.
Showing: She tore the letter into tiny pieces.
Telling: Things were never easy between my father and me.
Showing: Every day, my father drove me home from track practice in silence.
Telling: Upon returning they discovered a bear had made a mess of the campsite.
Showing: When they reached their tents, they discovered their equipment strewn all over the clearing. Large tracks made chaotic patterns in the dirt.
Learn more about showing vs. telling.