How to Write a Descriptive Essay: Full Guide With Tips
In this article, we examine the descriptive essay and present a step-by-step writing guide. Stick around for helpful writing tips near the end! Also, check out custom writers at EssayPro — political science essay service, if you need private tutoring or essay editing.
What is a Descriptive Essay?
The definition of a descriptive essay is a type of composition or paper which describes an object, person, process, or event. The writer’s goal is to create a vivid reading experience, or to show instead of tell (metaphorically).
Descriptive writing usually appeals to the five senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. (Ex: Jack’s coffee mug exploded into tiny shards of glass, catching the attention of everyone at the office.) Always appealing to the senses is key to writing a good descriptive essay.
When writing a descriptive essay, your goal will be to paint a comprehensive picture for the reader by appealing to the five senses. Last but not least, your work should have a purpose. It could be anything from a lesson you learned from an experience, to a story of how an object impacted your life. It’s all about making your bright ideas come to life.
Difference Between a Description and a Descriptive Essay
When writing this type of paper, you should know the difference between a description and a descriptive essay. A description can be just a simple paragraph, or several ones with no specific structure, meanwhile, a descriptive essay has five or more paragraphs and a clear and complete structure. A descriptive essay is usually written coherently, has a good thesis statement at the end of the introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A description however, does not necessarily have a structure. Its main purpose is to just describe an object, or something else, without having any extra academic layers.
The Issues that Could be Described in Your Paper
- A person. In this paper, you can talk about a person. It can range from simply writing about their appearance to more complex descriptions like actions, behaviours, mood, and qualities of your chosen individual.
- A place. The main thing you should do when describing a place in your work is to describe it interestingly and originally. Your reader(s) should feel, for example, the beauty of your chosen cities—perhaps New York or Rome.
- An event. Here you need to describe the story of what happened. It can be your last vacation, concert, wedding, anniversary, summer music festival, graduation day, or so on.
- An animal. In this type, you need to describe the animal. It may be its appearance, behaviour, or biology.
- An occupation. Here you need to write about a job or occupation.
- A behaviour. This is the type of descriptive writing you should go for if you would like to write about someone’s behaviour. Perhaps you want to describe the strange behaviour of your friend, or highlight how certain people act under different conditions.
Bring your descriptions to life with EssayPro . Our team can help you create vivid, immersive descriptive essays that captivate the senses. Describe scenes, emotions, and experiences like never before.
Two Classic Approaches to the Descriptive Essay
1. Personal Essay
Here you need to describe an experience using your feelings and responses. This work can awake empathy in readers. It can also be vague and disorganized. If you want to write a good personal essay, you should try to focus only on those aspects that most fully express your experience. Do not shy away from vivid, evocative language in this type of assignment.
A few examples of personal essay topics might be:
- Describing the experience of swimming in the azure sea in summer
- Explaining your favourite movie and its impact on you
- Reflecting on your birthday and all the things that have shaped you in the past
2. Formal Description
This type of descriptive writing resembles an argumentative essay. Your main goal should be communicating a set of key points or describing something in detail—according to a clear structure. Rather than focusing on your own experience, you need to use specific categories of information to provide the fullest possible portrait of what you are describing. This approach can also be engaging, especially when the reader is more curious about the subject of the paper than the writer's response to it. Still, try not to make it dull with too formal language.
Topics for formal descriptions can include:
- A descriptive essay about climate change, politics, or historical events.
- A news story that provides a summary of an event or information about the place where it occurred.
Descriptive Essay Topics & Ideas
Finding descriptive essay topics isn’t hard. You can describe pretty much anything—from your favourite car to today’s weather. We’ve gathered some ideas to help you get started. Hopefully, you’ll find good descriptive essay topics to spark your imagination.
Descriptive Essay Topics: People
Exploring the essence of individuals through this type of writing can be both engaging and insightful. Here are ten distinctive essay topics centered on people that go beyond the ordinary:
- The Eccentric Street Performer Who Danced with Shadows
- A Glimpse into the Daily Routine of a Lighthouse Keeper
- The Mysterious Antique Shop Owner: Guardian of Forgotten Tales
- A Day in the Life of a Vintage Jazz Club's Bartender
- The Tattooed Wanderer: Stories Etched in Ink
- A Conversation with the Urban Gardener Transforming Cityscapes
- Portrait of a Silent Mime Artist: Communicating Without Words
- A Chef's Culinary Odyssey: Exploring Flavor on a Plate
- The Whimsical World of a Puppeteer: Strings of Imagination
- Life Beneath the Spotlight: A Theatrical Makeup Artist's Secrets
Descriptive Essay Topics: Place
Places possess a unique ability to evoke emotions and tell their own stories through descriptive essay writing. To transport your readers to captivating destinations, consider these ten distinct topics, each offering a glimpse into a one-of-a-kind locale:
- The Forgotten Underground Catacombs: A Subterranean Labyrinth of Secrets
- Serenity by the Secluded Cliffside Cottage: Echoes of Solitude
- A Day in the Life of an Abandoned Amusement Park: Whispers of Laughter
- The Enchanted Forest: A Realm of Ancient Mysteries
- A Fishing Village Frozen in Time: Life on the Shores of Nostalgia
- The Rooftop Gardens of Babylon: Urban Oases in the Sky
- The Hidden Café of Lost Conversations: Where Coffee and Stories Brew
- A Night at the Desert Oasis: Starlit Mirages and Mirage Stars
- The Echoing Halls of the Sunken Ship: A Submerged Voyage into History
- The Neon Glow of the Midnight Arcade: Dreams Illuminated in Pixels
Descriptive Essay Topics: Memories
Memories offer a rich tapestry of experiences waiting to be woven into your descriptive essays. Dive into the realms of nostalgia and introspection with these topics, each drawing upon the power of recollection:
- The Unfading Echoes of Childhood Hideouts: Adventures in the Past
- A Forgotten Diary's Pages: Secrets of Lost Sentiments
- The Last Summer Before College: Sunsets of Transition
- The Old Family Recipe Book: Savoring Generations in Every Dish
- Ghosts of Prom Nights Past: The Dance of Teenage Dreams
- The Antique Music Box: Tunes That Unravel Time's Veil
- Letters from the Front Lines: Ink-Stained Testaments of Courage
- The Forgotten Album of Polaroids: Snapshots of Precious Moments
- Ancestral Attic Treasures: Relics of Heritage and Identity
- The Whispers of a Childhood Blanket: Comfort Woven in Threads
Creating a Descriptive Essay Outline
When thinking about descriptive essay writing, remember that a structured paper outline is your golden ticket. Not only does it help you organize thoughts, but it will also help your essays flow better.
A descriptive essay outline is composed of the following:
- An introduction
- Hook sentence
- Context/Background information
- Thesis statement
- Body paragraphs
- Topic sentence
- Sensory details
- Actual details
- A conclusion
- Summary of all main points
- Clincher Statement
It is important to spend enough time considering the victim of description because all of your illustrations will be based around it.
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The introduction serves to introduce your subject to the reader and give them enough context to fully understand your work—but keep it brief and interesting for the reader(s). When learning how to write a descriptive essay introduction, remember – the first paragraph of your paper is the part that can make your descriptive essay stand out from the others.
As with any college paper, a descriptive essay introduction must contain the following points:
- Hook Sentence: Although the entire paper should be full of exciting and vivid descriptions, grabbing the reader's attention from the very beginning is ideal.
- Context/Background Information: Tell the reader what you’re about to describe and explain why it is crucial to you. Give them a brief context for your paper.
- Thesis Statement: The descriptive essay thesis should be a short yet concise summary of the work. It must include the subject of your description, and your purpose for describing it.
For further information on how to write a thesis for a descriptive essay, check out the examples below.
Place. If you were to write about Buckingham Palace: “Even though the monarchy is long gone, Buckingham Palace serves to remind us of the aesthetic beauty which that era had built.” Person. For describing Spider-Man: “The defining characteristics of Spider-Man are his youthfulness, New York City, and the fact that he talks to himself more than Hamlet.” Emotion. A piece about a personal experience of fear: “For many reasons, the dark forest is my greatest fear, though not a fear which I would necessarily like to venture into.”
There are usually three body paragraphs in a paper. They cover three different points or arguments. How many body paragraphs to include in your descriptive essay is entirely up to you—or your professor. Sometimes it only takes a paragraph to tell a story, while other times it takes books.
How to write a body paragraph:
- Start with a topic sentence. ex. The orange looks familiar; it is a round citrus fruit whose colour matches its name.
- Add sensory details. When describing the orange, appeal to relatable senses.
- Include actual details. Always include descriptive information within your body paragraphs. Finish a body paragraph by introducing the next. Transition sentences are essential because they create immersion within your writing. Your writing will become better and it won’t appear as if you are reading a list of facts.
The descriptive essay is one type of 5 paragraph essay , which is the most common type of essay a student may encounter.
According to the descriptive essay format, your conclusion should be a summary of all of the main points in the body text. It is a good idea to write a final sentence that relates to the main point of your paper. Once this is done, the paper is now complete. We advise that you proofread your descriptive essay to correct any grammatical errors.
Try to incorporate the following into your conclusion:
- The first thing to do at the end is to reflect on the initial purpose of the work. Spill the beans on why you decided to write about this subject, and how this subject has affected your life. An article about reflection paper may also be helpful to you.
- Signify the Importance of the Details: Go over some key moments of the paper. Give a summary of what you have covered, and prepare the audience for the clincher statement.
- Clincher Statement: The clincher is the final sentence that reinforces your paper’s overall purpose or leaves your audience with an intriguing thought, question, or quote. You’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking of a hook to pull the audience in. Do not allow the paper to escape your audience’s thoughts right after they have finish reading it.
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Writing and Reviewing Your Descriptive Paper Writing
Writing the paper consists of the following stages:
- Pre-writing stage. Here you need to examine all of the sources you have and define if they all offer important information on the topic of your choice.
- Writing the beginning. You should start your paper with a powerful, engaging hook that will grab the readers' attention. It may include an unusual metaphor or an interesting literary quote.
- Creating the first draft of your descriptive essay. Here is where you just need to write down all of the words that come to your mind; you'll have a chance to narrow down your ideas later.
- Adding details to your paper with the help of enriched English vocabulary and online dictionaries. Use your English vocabulary to add missing feelings, like hearing, to help make the descriptive essay leave a lasting impression.
- Revising and editing the paper with the help of different free online grammar checking tools.
Let’s talk in detail about the final step here: reviewing your paper. After you finish writing, take a break. It’s always best to clear your mind before editing your paper.
When you come back to your descriptive essay, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Have you provided enough context in the introduction?
- Is the paper easy to read?
- Does the thesis relate to the content of the paper?
- Does the paper feature vivid, descriptive language?
- Will the clincher statement leave a lasting impact?
- Are there enough details to make it possible for your readers to obtain a full and vivid perception of your description?
- Does each section of your work focus on one aspect of your description?
- Does your paper possess any unnecessary details in your description that can be thrown away or replaced by more meaningful information?
- Overall, if you were the reader, does this paper make sense to you?
- Are there any problems with grammar and punctuation?
Sometimes web applications like Grammarly or the Hemingway app can help you sort your grammar. However, it’s always best to master the rules of grammar yourself and become the best writer you can be. Once you’re convinced you have the final draft, read it out loud or give it to a friend to read. Sometimes you need some constructive criticism to tie up loose ends in your writing. You can also trust the professionals and buy cheap essay on EssayPro service.
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Descriptive Essay Examples
Embracing the art of descriptive writing isn't always a natural gift for everyone. For those seeking inspiration and guidance, we prepared an example of a descriptive essay which is a valuable resource. Meanwhile, we acknowledge that not everyone may possess the innate talent for painting vivid word pictures. If you find yourself in need of assistance with more intricate endeavors, such as dissertations, rest assured that our team comprises writers who possess the innate ability to weave eloquent prose that breathes life into your ideas.
Example 1: 'The Enchanted Library: A Gateway to Forgotten Realms'
In this descriptive essay example, the author masterfully employs a wide array of descriptive tools, deftly painting a vivid picture of 'Bibliotheca Mirabilis.' Through metaphor, personification, and sensory details, the library comes to life, almost becoming a character within the narrative. The author's choice of words and careful descriptions immerses the reader in the enchanting setting, creating a captivating journey through the realms of imagination.
The writer of this descriptive essay example explains how there was a lot of life before humans existed. The world was full of Blue Jays and North Cardinal birds that most probably ate pansy seeds as a stable diet. In this example, it is clear that the writer has put himself/herself in the perspective of someone in the far future. He/she describes how we were in the 21st century, and how we used the poles as communication portals.
Example 2: 'The Forgotten Watchmaker: Crafting Timepieces of Elegance'
In this essay, the author adeptly employs a variety of descriptive tools to transport the reader into the heart of the potter's workshop. Through carefully chosen words, the workshop's ambiance, from the earthy scent of clay to the warmth of the kiln, becomes palpable. The rustic charm and ceramics in different stages of creation evoke a strong sense of tradition and dedication. The potter emerges as a central figure, their expertise and passion clearly portrayed. This essay immerses the reader in a world of craftsmanship, where each piece of pottery carries a unique narrative, and the art of creation is celebrated with profound reverence.
In the eyes of the untrained, a rugby game is just a bunch of huge individuals senselessly fighting one another, struggling to move an oval ball inch by inch down a field full of mud towards the goal line of the opposing team. Players don’t put on pads or get a timeout in the event of injuries. Yet rugby is a different thing, a gentleman’s sport—to those who understand it. While rugby appears rough, its players maintain good respect toward both teammates and opponents.
For those who may find writing a challenging endeavor, rest assured that it's a skill that can be developed over time. If you're looking for expert guidance or assistance with your academic life, our team includes experienced wordsmiths who can even help with dissertation writing. Whether you're working on essays, stories, or any writing project, we're here to support your creative journey and help you convey your ideas more effectively.
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How to Write a Descriptive Essay
Last Updated: February 8, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,493,485 times.
A good descriptive essay creates a vivid picture of the topic in the reader’s mind. You may need to write a descriptive essay as a class assignment or you may decide to write one as a fun writing challenge. Start by brainstorming ideas for the essay. Then, outline and write the essay using vivid sensory details and strong descriptions. Always polish your essay and proofread it so it is at its best.
Brainstorming Ideas for the Essay
- You could also choose a fictional person to write about, such as a character in a book, a story, or a play. You could write about a character on your favorite TV show or video game.
- Another take on this option is to write about a made-up place or object, such as the fantastical school in your favorite book or the magic wand from your favorite TV show.
- You could also choose a more specific emotion, such as brotherly love or self-hatred. These emotions can make for powerful descriptive essays.
- For example, if you were writing about a person like your mother, you may write down under “sound” : “soft voice at night, clack of her shoes on the floor tiles, bang of the spoon when she cooks.”
Writing the Essay
- If you are writing the essay for a class, your instructor should specify if they want a five paragraph essay or if you have the freedom to use sections instead.
- For example, if you were writing a descriptive essay about your mother, you may have a thesis statement like: “In many ways, my mother is the reigning queen of our house, full of contradictions that we are too afraid to question.”
- For example, if you were writing the essay about your mom, you may start with: “My mother is not like other mothers. She is a fierce protector and a mysterious woman to my sisters and I.”
- If you were writing an essay about an object, you may start with: "Try as I might, I had a hard time keeping my pet rock alive."
- You can also use adjectives that connect to the senses, such “rotting,” “bright,” “hefty,” “rough,” and “pungent.”
- For example, you may describe your mother as "bright," "tough," and "scented with jasmine."
- You can also use similes, where you use “like” or “as” to compare one thing to another. For example, you may write, “My mother is like a fierce warrior in battle, if the battlefield were PTA meetings and the checkout line at the grocery store.”
- For example, you may write about your complicated feelings about your mother. You may note that you feel sadness about your mother’s sacrifices for the family and joy for the privileges you have in your life because of her.
- For example, you may end a descriptive essay about your mother by noting, “In all that she has sacrificed for us, I see her strength, courage, and fierce love for her family, traits I hope to emulate in my own life.”
Polishing the Essay
- You can also read the essay aloud to others to get their feedback. Ask them to let you know if there are any unclear or vague sentences in the essay.
- Be open to constructive criticism and feedback from others. This will only make your essay stronger.
- If you have a word count requirement for the essay, make sure you meet it. Add more detail to the paper or take unnecessary content out to reach the word count.
Outline for a Descriptive Essay
You Might Also Like
- ↑ http://www.writeexpress.com/descriptive-essay.html
- ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 24 July 2020.
- ↑ https://www.iup.edu/writingcenter/writing-resources/organization-and-structure/descriptive-writing.html
- ↑ https://spcollege.libguides.com/ld.php?content_id=10168248
- ↑ http://www.butte.edu/departments/cas/tipsheets/style_purpose_strategy/descriptive_essay.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/descriptive_essays.html
- ↑ https://vln.school.nz/groupcms/view/845349/descriptive-writing
About This Article
To write a descriptive essay, start by choosing a topic, like a person, place, or specific emotion. Next, write down a list of sensory details about the topic, like how it sounds, smells, and feels. After this brainstorming session, outline the essay, dividing it into an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Open with a vivid introduction that uses sensory details, then introduce your thesis statement, which the rest of your essay should support. Strengthen your essay further by using metaphors and similes to describe your topic, and the emotions it evokes. To learn how to put the finishing touches on your essay, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Write a Descriptive Essay | Example & Tips
Published on July 30, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 14, 2023.
A descriptive essay gives a vivid, detailed description of something—generally a place or object, but possibly something more abstract like an emotion. This type of essay , like the narrative essay , is more creative than most academic writing .
Table of contents
Descriptive essay topics, tips for writing descriptively, descriptive essay example, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about descriptive essays.
When you are assigned a descriptive essay, you’ll normally be given a specific prompt or choice of prompts. They will often ask you to describe something from your own experience.
- Describe a place you love to spend time in.
- Describe an object that has sentimental value for you.
You might also be asked to describe something outside your own experience, in which case you’ll have to use your imagination.
- Describe the experience of a soldier in the trenches of World War I.
- Describe what it might be like to live on another planet.
Sometimes you’ll be asked to describe something more abstract, like an emotion.
If you’re not given a specific prompt, try to think of something you feel confident describing in detail. Think of objects and places you know well, that provoke specific feelings or sensations, and that you can describe in an interesting way.
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The key to writing an effective descriptive essay is to find ways of bringing your subject to life for the reader. You’re not limited to providing a literal description as you would be in more formal essay types.
Make use of figurative language, sensory details, and strong word choices to create a memorable description.
Use figurative language
Figurative language consists of devices like metaphor and simile that use words in non-literal ways to create a memorable effect. This is essential in a descriptive essay; it’s what gives your writing its creative edge and makes your description unique.
Take the following description of a park.
This tells us something about the place, but it’s a bit too literal and not likely to be memorable.
If we want to make the description more likely to stick in the reader’s mind, we can use some figurative language.
Here we have used a simile to compare the park to a face and the trees to facial hair. This is memorable because it’s not what the reader expects; it makes them look at the park from a different angle.
You don’t have to fill every sentence with figurative language, but using these devices in an original way at various points throughout your essay will keep the reader engaged and convey your unique perspective on your subject.
Use your senses
Another key aspect of descriptive writing is the use of sensory details. This means referring not only to what something looks like, but also to smell, sound, touch, and taste.
Obviously not all senses will apply to every subject, but it’s always a good idea to explore what’s interesting about your subject beyond just what it looks like.
Even when your subject is more abstract, you might find a way to incorporate the senses more metaphorically, as in this descriptive essay about fear.
Choose the right words
Writing descriptively involves choosing your words carefully. The use of effective adjectives is important, but so is your choice of adverbs , verbs , and even nouns.
It’s easy to end up using clichéd phrases—“cold as ice,” “free as a bird”—but try to reflect further and make more precise, original word choices. Clichés provide conventional ways of describing things, but they don’t tell the reader anything about your unique perspective on what you’re describing.
Try looking over your sentences to find places where a different word would convey your impression more precisely or vividly. Using a thesaurus can help you find alternative word choices.
- My cat runs across the garden quickly and jumps onto the fence to watch it from above.
- My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above.
However, exercise care in your choices; don’t just look for the most impressive-looking synonym you can find for every word. Overuse of a thesaurus can result in ridiculous sentences like this one:
- My feline perambulates the allotment proficiently and capers atop the palisade to regard it from aloft.
An example of a short descriptive essay, written in response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” is shown below.
Hover over different parts of the text to see how a descriptive essay works.
On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.
My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.
With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…
Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.
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The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.
Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.
If you’re not given a specific prompt for your descriptive essay , think about places and objects you know well, that you can think of interesting ways to describe, or that have strong personal significance for you.
The best kind of object for a descriptive essay is one specific enough that you can describe its particular features in detail—don’t choose something too vague or general.
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Drafting a descriptive essay is a popular creative writing exercise that often requires you as the writer to tap into one or more of the five human senses – sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. The senses you focus on will depend on your chosen topic.
For example: If you’re describing a delicious and beautifully prepared meal, you would likely focus on the senses of taste, smell and sight. If you’re describing a walk around your neighbourhood, you could focus on sight, hearing, smell and maybe touch as well.
Why we write descriptive essays
The purpose of a descriptive essay is to create a picture in the reader’s mind, by describing your topic (this could be a place, a person, an object or an event) in a detailed and creative way.
The structure of a descriptive essay
A descriptive essay should be structured as follows:
- Introduction (one paragraph)
- Main body (three to five paragraphs)
- Conclusion (one paragraph)
Your introduction is the place to include the main theme or idea of your essay (which we call your ‘thesis’). Start off by introducing your topic with two or three descriptive sentences. This first paragraph should capture the reader’s attention and set the mood for the rest of the essay. Don’t get into in-depth detail yet; save that for the main body of your writing.
Note: The thesis (main idea) of a descriptive essay shouldn’t be contradictory or controversial. This type of essay isn’t intended to prove an argument, but rather to share your description and give the reader a vivid experience.
After hooking your reader’s attention in the introductory paragraph, you are free to delve into a more detailed description of your topic. The length of your essay will depend on how long your description is.
Conclude your essay by returning to the main idea from your introduction, and summing up your topic.
Different types of descriptive essays
A descriptive essay may fall into one of these main categories, depending on the topic you are writing about
- Personal descriptive essay: You describe something based on your own experience.
Example: Write about your favourite place to take a walk.
- Imaginative descriptive essay: You use your imagination to describe something you have not experienced.
Example: Describe the experience of an astronaut travelling to the moon in a rocket.
- Conceptual descriptive essay: You describe a more abstract topic, like an emotion.
Example: Write about the feeling of loss.
Read our previous essay guide: How To: Write a Narrative Essay .
Using figurative language
When writing a descriptive essay, you can use creative figures of speech to bring your topic to life and “paint a picture using words” for your readers. Here are some common examples of figurative language you can use:
- Simile: Compares one thing to another, using the word “like” or “as”.
Example: The surface of the lake sparkled like diamonds.
- Metaphor: Compares one thing to another, without using the word “like” or “as”.
Example: Her smile is sunshine.
- Hyperbole: A big exaggeration or overstatement, to emphasise a point or add humour to your description.
Example: Mom’s Christmas dinner could feed an army!
- Personification: Gives human traits to an object, to make it more relatable.
Example: The old wooden bench protested loudly as I put my weight on it.
- Onomatopoeia: Describes or closely mimics a sound.
Example: Tick-tock, tick-tock went the grandfather clock.
Remember to proofread and edit your essay after writing, to make sure all your descriptions make sense and accurately paint a picture of the topic.
Read an example of a descriptive essay online to see descriptive writing in action.
- Tips for writing a descriptive essay. https://www.essayjack.com/blog/tips-for-writing-a-descriptive-essay
- Scribbr – Knowledge Base. How to write a descriptive essay | example & tips. 2020. https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/descriptive-essay/
- How to write a descriptive essay in 7 steps. 2020. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-a-descriptive-essay#how-to-write-a-descriptive-essay
- Types of figurative language (with examples). 2021. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/figurative-language-examples
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How to write a Descriptive Essay? With Outline & Examples
Are you a newbie to descriptive essay? Searching for expert guide on “how to write a descriptive essay”? Wants to have the best of all? Want to be safe from the pitfalls? Are you really worried about writing the best of all? Do not worry! We got this for you. Continue reading this if you want answers to all of these.
An academic career always require writing a good descriptive essay. This essay is considered good when the details provided are vivid and introduce some sensory information to “show” the readers rather than “tell” them. Still wondering what is a description essay and how to write a descriptive essay? Keep on reading as we are about to delve into this in some detail below.
Table of Contents
What Is A Descriptive Essay?
Such an essay is described as an essay which gives details of an event, person,place, etc., using figurative language and sensory information. After reading a descriptive essay, the audience clearly understands the topic, having a bit of detail about what the writer has written, Such as Writing a descriptive essay about a place. But remember, figurative, vivid and sensory details play the most crucial role in such an essay.
Examples of descriptions
Examples of description are:
Research articles etc.
What Is The Purpose Of A Descriptive Essay?
The purpose of any descriptive essay is to describe something first of all. However, a descriptive essay tends to give a clear cut picture to the audience so that they walk away after reading the essay like watching something and feeling them through their own senses.
It helps to improve vocabulary. Such as; When a person write such an essay, he must refer to some tools and techniques for writing good description such as Grammarly, meanings, synonyms, punctuation etc. This will help him form strong basis for error free writing in other forms of writings too and not just the descriptive. Hence, it proves to be effective.
This will help him form strong basis for error free writing in other forms of writings too and not just the descriptive. Hence, it proves to be effective.
How To Write A Descriptive Essay?
in the start, there are some steps that needs to be followed properly to make an essay longer with words. Such steps are as follows:
Select an essay topic of your choice
Organize the information.
Choose a person, place or event to describe
Select tone or emotion
Listing sensory details to add
Let’s discuss these in a brief detail now. Here you go:
Pick a particular point at the start. It is crucial to choose the motivation behind the paper before you start illustrating or composing. For example, it could be proper to sum up your primary thought in a proposition explanation. In these papers, your focus should be less about your perspective and more about highlighting the data that should establish the prevailing connection in your reader’s brain.
The best papers are with detail—names, times, fundamental qualities, foundation data, and tactile data that can help embed your central matters in your scholar’s brain. Gather these subtleties, and afterward, use note cards to bunch them into explicit classes of data that you can pull up on a case-to-case basis.
Brainstorming is the art of mind mapping ideas and information in imagination and jotting these ideas down if necessary. The experts’ advice is to jot these ideas down because when there are lots of them, they can’t be remembered all at the same time when you will be adding them into the original essay.
Choose A Person, Place Or Event To Describe
Choose one in the list. One good option is to write an introduction paragraph about a person you admire the most. It could be anyone; parents, instructor, first love, the person you hate the most, and many more including the fictional personalities in movies, books, novels, etc. But, before writing, you have to make sure that lots of information and ideas are in mind about that person so as to complete the requirements of the word count too. And not just the word count, but overall a small description would not work well
One have to be brief while writing such a long essay because it is not just about describing, it is about showing what you feel.
Likewise, second good option is to write about a place. It can be any place either you have visited or you just want to describe it because you love it or hate it. Such as Bermuda triangle, a good vocational spot, the most haunted place etc. Make sure to use enough sensory details to sound good. You can also describe an object likewise.
An event can also be described based on either personal experience or just a historical or generic event. Such as, your visit to a mall, World War II, the speech of a renowned personality, the scene at the station after a bomb blast etc.
Select Tone Or Emotion
A tone of an essay is the main thing you need to consider. This will make your essay the best or the worst. Hence, while choosing a tone for your essay, make sure you give consideration to it from every angle. A good tone is the one which is friendly, connecting and well established throughout the essay.
Likewise, the emotions you use in the essay matter a lot. This connects you with the audience or the readers. Emotions such as happiness, sadness, desire, rage etc., are used in an essay. Professional essay writers can also build the emotions to describe his own experience with the topic under discussion, Such as writing about descriptive essay about sadness, which describes the writer’s emotion on that particular topic.
Listing Sensory Details To Add
Here comes the most important part of this essay. After done with the above initial steps, now is the time to plan for sensory details to be integrated into the essay. It could take the same form as that of the brainstorming ideas. Make a list of these details about the topic.
By drafting, we mean the rough essay that resembles the same original essay you will finalize at the end of the process. Rough drafting help purify choices and the essay itself. While rough drafting, never think of an idea as silly and do not stop. Keep going and add every bit of an idea that you have brainstormed.
This draft may contain lots of errors and mistakes but it will help you write the final draft free of these thingies. Hence, draft the essay before a final write-up and do consider reviewing it twice before moving ahead with your final draft to help minimize errors and purify ideas.
How to write a descriptive essay introduction?
Introduction for this essay is an important part of the essay. It captures reader’s attention, prepares them for the type of information they will get in the essay and also whets their appetite.
It is important that you introduce what your essay will be about in just a few sentences, this way people know whether or not they want to read it. This introduction should mention some key points in order to attract readers.
For example, if you are writing an essay about something you love or something that impacted your life, mention it in the introduction so people know it’s coming up later on in the text.
A good opening sentence may be “I love ice cream” or “The event that changed my life was when my dad died”
How to write a conclusion for a descriptive essay?
The conclusion of a descriptive paper or essay is an opportunity to summarize what you’ve written and to provide a sense of closure for the reader.
When writing a conclusion for this essay, it is important to reiterate the main points of your paper. You should also summarize what you have learned from the experience and how you have grown as a person. Finally, wrap up by stating your opinion on whether or not you would do something similar again in the future.
Descriptive Essay Outline
The outline for descriptive essay is stated in here. It has the same basic structure of any essay i.e.
However, it integrates many elements into its structure and the outline for it is as follows in the descriptive essay outline example.
Background information with sensory details
Thesis statement with integrated details
Topic sentence related to the paragraph
Detail description of the object, event or person integrating sensory details
Topic sentence and transition from the previous paragraph
Here you have to write a good descriptive essay conclusion summing all the essay. The best answer to how to end a descriptive essay is to state your opinion on whether or not you would do something similar again in the future.
Summarize the whole discussion about the event, object or place.
Restate your thesis statement
Close with a clincher statement or a happy ending
Your engaging composition should be coordinated. For example, gathering your primary concerns into sole body paragraphs or passages, every one of which ought to be a sub-classes of your essay’s principal theme.
This is a perfect descriptive outline example according to the topic. You can also check out more descriptive essay examples online to improve your writing.
Introduction of the essay
A decent start on a paragraph can be a guide for your whole piece. The best presentations start with a trick like a non-serious inquiry or a strong assertion. Then, after your surprise, give worldwide setting and blueprint questions that your paper will try to handle. Finally, your essay proclamation should come toward the finish of the presentation.
Each body passage should start with a topic sentence that secures the consideration of your readers and mentions to them what’s in store from the section. Be just about as explicit as conceivable without overpowering the reader’s mind with data. Exact models consistently establish a more incredible amount of a connection than speculations.
Concluding or Summarized Paragraph
Sum up the article in the finishing up section.
Your decision is the catch on the whole article.
- Use it to repeat the primary thoughts you set up in the central section and contact back on critical subtleties from body passages.
- Try not to utilize this passage to present groundbreaking thoughts fascinatingly.
- On the off chance that you understand you actually have significant themes to incorporate, make another body passage.
Features Of Descriptive Writing
A descriptive writing has the following characteristics:
- Use of colorful language
- Integrating the senses
- Making a clear impression
Let’s discuss these in detail now:
A good description is the one having a stream and flowy transition from one ideas to another. Organize your writing starting from a good introduction leading its way through conclusion. Write a good introduction, starting from hook statement, adding background details and at its end the thesis statement of the essay.
The body paragraphs should be such that it displays all the details and requirements of the description adding sensory details into it as well.
Also, unnecessary and irrelevant details should be avoided to make sure there is no ambiguity left. The conclusion at the end should be such that it summarize all the description of the above all essay. It should restate the thesis and end with a good clincher. Also, ensure you essay is fully organized so to be easily understood.
Use Of Colorful Language
The important thing about a description is that, the writer has to show the readers and just telling might not work. Such as when describing a day as a cloudy day, telling like “cloudy the blue sky is” might not work. You have to show the readers “the sky was surrounded by huge cotton candies like clouds in different colors with its massive structure indicating a shower of rain is to occur”.
Use good vocabulary and colorful language just like the one given in university essay examples so to give details and connect to the readers. Crystal clear eyes are a better word when describing blue eyes. Figurative language i.e. metaphors, similes, etc. make the description even colorful. Figurative language is also useful to be appealing to the audience.
Integrating The Senses
Sensory details make the entire essay of this sort. The writer has to integrate them to show the audience how something sound, taste, smell, look like etc. These details should be such that the readers develop a vivid picture in their mind and imaginations. The reader should feel it when you describe the sparkling stars, the sourness of the lemon, the spices of the soup, the loudness of the thunder etc.
Well! You might be aware now after these examples that how such details work. Let’s move ahead.
Making A Clear Impression
Make sure the reader has clearly understood what you have integrated into the essay. By clear impression, we mean that after reading your essay, the reader should know how the bell rings, how spicy the dish was, how tasty the cake was, how colorful the cotton candies were and details like these.
Remember! You have to impress the readers to an extent that they want more of it. Leave them in cravings for more. This is what makes a good description work.
You might have understood now, how the integration of senses, figurative language, organize piece of writing and good description work to make a perfect essay.
Search for approaches to breathe life into your language
Before you consider your paper total, please go through it and search for where unique tactile distinctions may upgrade a description. Search for freedoms to recount a story as opposed to present records. Expressive language and artistic instruments will keep your paper in your persuader’s psyche long after they’ve completed the process of perusing.
A Descriptive essay may seem to be a sort of an essay, but it has distinct qualities. Because it has a purpose, composing pattern, proper body structure, and ending.
Readers prefer to read, as it works as an escape from them for peace of mind. It is way too engaging.
It doesn’t let them get distracted, and they find their time well utilized.
Also, a tremendous healthy strategy from the writer’s perspective too.
Descriptive Essay Example
Now that you are familiar with all the processes of descriptive writing, let’s move now to some examples to show you how these all things work. So, let’s move from theory to application:
This is all the required information for a good descriptive essay on our side. But in case of queries regarding this, or you are looking for something that is not discussed here, the perfect essay writing services are all yours.
The feature of descriptive essay are:
These features ensure a good descriptive essay by proper structuring, use of figurative language and sensory details, and flashing a clear picture of the details on the audience.
Following topics are narrow enough to be the subject of a descriptive essay:
- Vintage computers
- Personal computers
- Laptop computers
- Computers etc.
To write a descriptive essay thesis:
- Plan through brainstorming
- Look through the main idea of the essay
- Keep it brief and relevant
- Keep it specific to the subject
- Reflect it in the entire essay
To start a descriptive essay about a place:
- Plan for the hook to catch the attention of your reader about the subject.
- Give some background details to reflect the essay about the place
- Use sensory detail to provoke the response of audience
- Insert a good and strong thesis statement that will reflect the entire discussion of the place represented throughout the essay.
- Sum up the essay in the conclusion
- Your decision is the catch on the whole essay.
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Descriptive Essay - A Complete Guide
10 min read
Published on: Aug 18, 2018
Last updated on: Nov 15, 2023
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Have you ever found yourself struggling to paint a vivid picture with your words, to capture the essence of a scene, person, or experience in your writing?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many writers face this challenge when tasked with crafting descriptive essays.
For that, MyPerfectWords.com has come up with a solution!
In this blog, you’ll get easy steps to write good descriptive essays. Along with a step-by-step guide, you’ll also get impressive example essays to learn from.
With expert examples and helpful tips, you'll discover the secrets to crafting captivating descriptive essays.
So let’s get into it!
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What Is a Descriptive Essay?
According to descriptive essay definition,
“It is a type of essay that is used to describe an event, a place, a person, or anything in detail.”
In a descriptive essay, you're not merely telling the reader about something; you're showing it to them. You're using your powers of observation and imagination to transport your audience to the scene you're describing.
Whether it's a bustling city street, a serene natural landscape, a beloved childhood memory, or a complex character in a novel, a well-crafted descriptive essay can make the subject come alive in the reader's mind.
Purpose of a Descriptive Essay
The purpose of a descriptive essay is to evoke a strong, sensory experience in the reader's mind.
Unlike other forms of writing that may aim to inform, persuade, or argue, the primary objective of a descriptive essay is to create a detailed and vivid portrayal of a subject.
Whether you're describing a person, place, object, or experience, the goal is to transport your audience to that specific moment or location.
This allows them to feel as if they are seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling what you're describing.
Here’s a short video that explains descriptive writing:
Types of Descriptive Essay
Descriptive essays come in various forms, each serving a unique purpose and style of writing.
Here are some common types of descriptive essays:
- Spatial Descriptive Essays
These essays focus on describing a specific location or setting. Whether it's a serene beach, a bustling city street, spatial descriptive essays transport the reader to a particular place, allowing them to visualize it vividly.
- Personal Descriptive Essays
In these essays, writers delve into their personal experiences, memories, and emotions to create a connection with the reader. They often describfge a significant moment in their life, a cherished memory, or a transformative event.
- Object Descriptive Essays
These essays revolve around the detailed description of a particular object. It could be a family heirloom, a work of art, a unique gadget, or any item that holds personal or historical significance.
- Character Descriptive Essays
These essays offer a comprehensive portrayal of a character's physical appearance, personality, motivations, and development within the narrative.
- Process Descriptive Essays
These essays break down a complex process into a step-by-step description. Whether it's a cooking recipe, a scientific experiment, or an artistic technique. Process descriptive essays help readers understand how something is done.
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Elements of a Descriptive Essay
There are five basic features of descriptive essay:
- Sensory Details
A descriptive essay involves arousing the emotions of the readers and creating an association with them. Sensory details paint a picture of the subject for the reader and engage their senses like sight, touch, smell, and taste.
- Figurative Language
Using figurative language is one of the main elements of a descriptive essay. The use of metaphors, similes, adjectives, and adverbs, etc. creates the character sketch of the subject.
This sketch helps the readers feel what the writer felt about the subject and helps him visualize the subject.
- Central Theme
The central theme shapes and directs the essay’s content and helps organize the details. It should be well defined and focused on a single point.
- Precise Language
The effect of your essay depends on the type of language that you have used in it. The language should emphasize the main theme and aim of the essay. Therefore, avoid using vague and ambiguous words.
- Organized Ideas
An organized structure is an essential element of this essay. Also, the chronology, spatial location, and order play an important role.
How to Write a Descriptive Essay? 6 Steps
Writing an effective descriptive essay involves topic selection, creating an outline of parts of the descriptive essay, organizing ideas, and adding relevant information into the essay.
The following is the process of descriptive writing.
Step# 1. Choose an Engaging Topic
Selecting the right topic is the crucial first step in writing a descriptive essay. Your topic should be captivating, drawing the reader in and keeping them engaged throughout the essay.
A well-chosen topic sets the stage for an immersive and memorable descriptive experience.
Step# 2. Craft a Detailed Outline
Crafting an outline is essential to ensure your descriptive essay flows cohesively. It serves as a roadmap, helping you organize your thoughts and sensory details in a logical sequence.
An effective outline keeps you on track to include all the necessary elements that make your description come alive.
Here's the typical descriptive essay structure for you to follow:
Explore this blog about creating a structured descriptive essay outline for organized essay writing.
Step# 3. Begin with a Compelling Introduction
The essay introduction sets the tone for your descriptive essay. It not only introduces the central theme but also incorporates a strong, captivating opinion that makes an initial impact on the reader.
In this section, you provide a concise preview of what the essay will explore, leaving your readers eager to delve further into your descriptive narrative.
Step# 4. Craft an Informative Thesis Statement
A thesis statement defines the scope and purpose of the essay. It is a narrow subject line, which should be clear and precise. Write the statement in a creative way and choose descriptive words for it.
Creating mystery in your thesis statement attracts the reader to the body of your essay.
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Step# 5. Writing the Body Paragraphs
To create good body paragraphs for your essay, start each one with a topic sentence that relates to your thesis statement.
Then, use evidence to support your point and explain how it backs up your argument. Make sure your paragraphs are well-organized, especially if you're talking about personal experiences or memories.
Finally, summarize the main points in each paragraph to keep your essay easy to follow and well-structured. This will help your essay flow smoothly and support your main idea.
Step# 6. Ending with a Strong Descriptive Essay Conclusion
Crafting a strong essay conclusion is your final opportunity to make a lasting impression on your reader.
This section should effectively tie together the key elements of your essay. Begin by using appropriate transition words like "to finish with," "in conclusion," or "lastly" to signal the end of your essay.
Moreover, offer insightful closing thoughts that resonate with the reader, whether it's a thought-provoking idea or a call to action.
Descriptive Essay Topics
Whether you are writing about a person or a place, your topic should have good supporting points that explain the topic.
Choosing an engaging topic will develop curiosity and hook the reader to the last bit of the essay. Here we have prepared a list of amazing descriptive essay topics for you.
- A Place of Childhood Memories: Describe your favorite childhood location.
- The Perfect Sunset: Depict a mesmerizing evening sky.
- A Walk in the Enchanted Forest: Explore the depths of a magical forest.
- A Day at the Beach: Capture the sights, sounds, and sensations of a beach day.
- An Abandoned House: Describe the mysterious allure of an abandoned building.
- The Art of Street Photography: Portray the life and characters of a city street.
- A Significant Family Heirloom: Tell the story of a cherished family keepsake.
- A Visit to a Cultural Festival: Share the experience of a vibrant cultural event.
- A Place of Solitude: Describe a location where you find peace and tranquility.
- A Family Reunion: Capture the joy of a memorable gathering with family members.
- My High School Cafeteria: Recount the bustling atmosphere and diverse interactions in the high school cafeteria.
Descriptive Essay Examples
You should read some good essay examples before writing your own essay. An essay example would help you demonstrate, compile, and organize your essay in a structured form.
Below we have provided some amazing examples to help you know the process.
A School Lunch Hall Descriptive Essay Example
The Weekend Market Descriptive Essay Sample
Descriptive Essay on Historical Place
Descriptive Essay on a Teacher that I Remember
Descriptive Essay on my Village
My Favorite Place Descriptive Essay
5 Paragraph Essay - Descriptive Essay PDF
Descriptive Essay about a person
Descriptive Essay Example about a place
The ultimate aim of this practice is to identify and learn different techniques for writing an impressive descriptive essay. Find more descriptive essay examples here to read and learn from.
Tips for Writing an Effective Descriptive Essay
Writing a compelling descriptive essay requires more than just describing a subject; it demands the skill to make your readers truly see, feel, and experience what you're portraying. Here are some valuable tips to help you craft an effective descriptive essay:
- Choose an Engaging Topic: Start with a captivating subject that resonates with you and your audience. The more connected you are to the topic, the more vividly you can describe it.
- Create a Detailed Outline: Plan the structure of your essay. Identify the key elements and sensory details you want to include in your description. A well-organized outline will keep your essay coherent.
- Use Vivid Language: Your words are the paintbrush for your reader's imagination. Employ descriptive adjectives, strong verbs, and figurative language to create a vivid picture. Paint with words.
- Engage the Senses: Appeal to all five senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. This immersive approach helps readers connect with your narrative on a deeper level.
- Show, Don't Tell: Rather than telling your readers about a subject, show it to them through sensory descriptions and tangible experiences. Let them draw their own conclusions.
- Use Metaphors and Similes: Comparing your subject to something familiar can enhance the reader's understanding. Metaphors and similes create memorable images.
- Organize Your Description: Present your sensory details logically. Consider the order in which you introduce them, ensuring a smooth flow that makes sense to the reader.
- Engage Emotions: Your description should evoke emotions in the reader. Describe not only what is visible but also the feelings and atmosphere surrounding the subject.
Summing it up,
Descriptive essay writing is a skill that requires thorough practice. It involves the ability to craft an engaging story with vivid descriptions, sounding as realistic as possible.
The above-mentioned steps and examples are a great way for students to learn how to write a descriptive essay.
However, if you still need expert help to write a flawless essay, we’ve got your back.
You can hire an expert descriptive essay writer at MyPerfectWords.com. Our Write My Essay service is your go-to choice for all types of essay writing help.
Moreover, we provide non-plagiarized essays and high-quality papers based on your custom requirements. So contact our descriptive essay writing service now to get the best essay help at an affordable price.
Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)
Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.
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