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Like the other questions, this one's value depends upon the spirit in which you use it. On the most superficial level, it might yield only a word or two: "this guy I know" or `Aunt Ginny." But answering the question that way is almost like not answering it at all. Getting beyond the surfaces of people-their names, labels, sizes-takes some time and concentration, but adds vital information and force to your writing. The list below contains only a few examples of the kinds of information you can provide under the heading of "who."

Subtopics for Exploring the Question of Who


Physical Attributes Personality Traits Personal History Characteristic Possessions
weight sense of humor religious books
height temper educational home furnishings
bone structure friendliness medical athletic equipment
hair honesty economic collections
eyes generosity military pets
musculature leadership geographic home
coordination competitiveness family clothing
body language compassion professional records
complexion self-assurance ethnic automobile


This list isn't meant to be complete. Probably you've already thought of possibilities, even entire categories, that could be included. You may also have seen that many subtopics could be broken down further and discussed at length, "clothing," for instance.

When you see this, you're starting to understand what it means to ask and answer the question of "who."