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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 .

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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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How to Write a Descriptive Essay

4-minute read

  • 26th February 2020

A descriptive essay, as the name may suggest, is an essay in which you describe something. The idea is to create a vivid picture of something – a person, object, place or experience – for your reader.

But how do you write a descriptive essay? We have a few helpful tips to share.

1. Brainstorming and Organizing Your Ideas

Your first step should be to brainstorm ideas . Think about the qualities of what you’re describing. As well as physical qualities, make notes about any thoughts, memories, and emotions you associate with your subject matter.

This brainstorming will give you the raw material for your descriptive essay. The next step is to create an essay outline. Typically, this will include:

  • An Introduction – An outline of what you will describe and the “thesis” for your essay (i.e., a key theme that will run through your essay and guide your description). For instance, if writing about an inspirational teacher, you could mention the importance of education in the introduction.
  • Main Body – A series of paragraphs in which you describe your subject. Each paragraph should cover a single main point, then lead neatly on to the next one, adding to the overall picture you’re creating for the reader.
  • Conclusion – A final paragraph where you summarize your overall essay. This is also a good place to reaffirm your essay thesis, emphasizing how your description reflects this.

Before you start writing, then, make some notes about what each paragraph in your essay will include. This will then guide the drafting process, making sure your essay has a clear structure.

2. Use Vivid, Sensory Language

A descriptive essay should paint a picture for your reader. And this means you need to use vivid, exciting language rather than a formal, academic tone. Ideas for making your essay more linguistically engaging include:

  • Using sensory language to evoke how something looked, smelled, etc.
  • Writing in the present tense to make the situation feel immediate.
  • Describing feelings and thoughts elicited by the subject of your essay.
  • Looking for dynamic adjectives and adverbs to use (e.g., you could say something made you “happy,” but “elated” or “delighted” may be stronger).
  • Using metaphors, similes, and other literary techniques .

Keep your introduction in mind while writing. The language you use should serve the “thesis” you set out there, drawing the reader’s attention to specific aspects of the thing you’re describing.

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3. Show, Don’t Tell

“Show, don’t tell” refers to a technique used by authors to make their writing more engaging. Essentially, all this means is using action, description, and dialogue to paint a picture for the reader rather than simply stating something in plain language. We can see the difference below:

Telling: Miss Hardy was an engaging speaker.

Showing: When Miss Hardy spoke, everyone listened. Her voice bubbled with enthusiasm, bringing even the most mundane subjects to life.

In the first sentence, we simply tell the reader that Miss Hardy was an engaging speaker. But in the second, we try to help the reader picture being in her class, listening to her speak. And by engaging the reader’s imagination like this, we can make our description more memorable.

4. Editing and Proofreading Your Descriptive Essay

Once you have a first draft, you’ll be ready to start editing. The idea here is to go back over your essay – at least once, but possibly multiple times – to look for ways you could improve it. This drafting process may involve:

  • Making sure your writing is clear, well structured, and impactful.
  • Rewriting passages that feel clichéd or that could be stronger.
  • Reading your essay out loud to see how well it flows.
  • Ensuring that the central theme of your essay is present throughout.

And when you’ve finished redrafting, go through the essay one more time to remove any typos that remain. Alternatively, you can submit your descriptive essay for proofreading . With the expert eye of a professional editor on your side, you can be confident your writing is the best it can be.

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Descriptive Essay

Descriptive Essay Writing

Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023

How To Write An Impactful Descriptive Essay?

By: Cathy A.

12 min read

Reviewed By: Melisa C.

Published on: Dec 17, 2019

Descriptive Essay

Wondering how to write an impressive descriptive essay? Writing a descriptive essay is both fun and challenging. You need to describe the main topic in detail and by engaging the five senses of the readers.

Students usually get this type of essay in high school and college. Writing a descriptive essay is different from other essays.

You need to focus on describing a certain person, place, or event.

Luckily for you, the following blog post will provide some helpful tips on how to create an engaging essay.

Continue reading to learn how to write an A-worthy descriptive essay.

Descriptive Essay

On this Page

What is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a detailed paper that describes a place, person, situation, object, or emotion. Different people have different points of view and your job is to explain yours in detail.

You may be asked to write a descriptive essay about the beach or forest or about a person or situation. The purpose of this essay is to test the writer’s ability in expressing and explaining their experiences.

Descriptive writing should create a picture in the reader’s mind. You may be required to write a descriptive essay as a high school or college essay assignment.

For a compelling essay, using adjectives and adverbs, details, and figurative language is fundamental. Without proper usage of words, you will not be able to invoke the readers' emotions.

What is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay?

The purpose of a descriptive essay is to describe a person, place, or personal experience in vivid detail so that the reader can create a picture in his mind.

The descriptive essay is written to get the reader to understand by using descriptive language. It is different from narrative essays, where the writer tells the story about someone else. Usually, it starts with a real-life event and then the content follows the author's imagination.

Descriptive essays are not intended to persuade the reader or show facts and figures to prove something. Descriptive essays are like word paintings that contain personal and descriptive details and these are mostly assigned to students of creative writing.

How to Start a Descriptive Essay

A strong start for your descriptive essay is essential. Analyze your topic from every angle and document the following details:

Analyze the main subjects in detail and observe minute things.

  • Start with observing all the possible aspects of the subject.
  • Don't just observe the object but also its surroundings.
  • Focus on details and features of the subject and develop opinions about them.
  • Be thoughtful; this first step will be the basis for the essay.

Physical Settings

Describing the physical settings is a must in a descriptive essay. When describing, keep the following points in mind.

  • Focus on the subject's position and observe nearby objects
  • Note the time of day and kind of lighting: natural or imitated
  • Physical settings: all the basic and decorative elements
  • The position and shape of the objects
  • Alignment and any other observable information

Physical Features

When describing the physical features of the subject, living or nonliving, consider the following points.

  • Living or nonliving; describe the features in detail
  • The subject's skin color, texture, smoothness, expression, and age
  • The features of inanimate objects in the picture, color, surface, and texture

Create Drama

Storytelling and drama are the life and blood of a good descriptive essay. It turns your essay into an exciting and interesting piece of writing. However, be subtle about adding drama to your sentence structure and add it to complement your story only.

Focus On Your Feelings

Focus on how you feel about the particular topic or person and stick to it. It is easy to get involved when working on the essay. But, focus on your own feelings and write an essay based on them.

Use Of Specific Vocabulary

Vocabulary is important. Select the best words for describing an action or object. Don't always use the first word that comes to mind.

Write slowly and thoughtfully, and use specific words to convey your thoughts.

Psychological Aspects

Writing about a certain situation or behavior of a person focuses on the mental aspects and emotions involved in them.

For Example, describe your emotions when your friend misplaced your notes right before the exam.

You may have had several emotions in that incident. Maybe you were prepared for exams, but this situation put you under pressure and made you feel frustrated and hurt.

Explore those emotions and describe the feelings they aroused. Describe the body language also, if relevant.

Ask Yourself, WHY?

This is the most valuable tip for students. When you are looking at a particular subject, and having difficulty analyzing its aspects, ask yourself "WHY".

  • Why is the subject the way it is?
  • Why does the person you are describing have such a deep-set and cold eyes?
  • Why is the animal so wounded and terrified?
  • Why is this particular place famous?

It is a good practice and after some time you will do it naturally. Knowing the why is important if you want to describe your topic properly.

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How To Write A Descriptive Essay?

When you write a descriptive essay, you help your readers visualize an event, a person, or a story. It is written to make your readers feel what you feel about the respective subject.

A descriptive essay seeks to appeal to some or all of the audience’s five senses. Some key things to consider are:

  • Discussing your subject thoroughly
  • Focusing on details and adding them in your essay
  • Sharing your personal feelings and experience about the subject
  • Observing and describing all sensory details of your subject

Here are the steps to write a descriptive essay easily.

1- Choose an Engaging and Focused Essay Topic

An important step that all strong descriptive essays share is having a focused topic. Before you make the outline, identify the purpose of your essay and use it to create an appropriate thesis statement.This type of paper does not require much personal opinion from you. Its main goal should be focusing on information that will make a dominant impression in readers' minds instead.

2- Research and Gather Important Details

When writing a descriptive essay, it is important to make sure you include as many details and sensory information as possible. This helps your reader fully understand the images that are being presented in their mind's eye.You can organize these ideas into categories so they're easy for you to access when needed.

3- Create an Outline of Your Essay

Your essays must be organized by having subheadings that are clear and concise. Group your main points into individual body paragraphs, each of which should only cover one idea or topic at a time.

4- Write your Essay’s Introduction

A good introductory paragraph is much like a road map because it provides direction to your readers.

It provides relevant background information before diving into more specific details related to how something works or why something happens. These could include statistics or stories from real-life scenarios.

5- Write the Main Body Section of Your Essay

Each body paragraph should start with a topic sentence that keeps the reader hooked on what you are saying. Use specific details instead of making generalized statements, and make sure to give examples if necessary.

6- End with a Strong Conclusion

The conclusion of an essay is the final paragraph, and it should summarize all that you have said throughout. It's a good idea to restate the main points and key details from the essay in this section.

It is important so the reader has everything they need for better understanding before ending off on something new.

If necessary be sure not to introduce anything odd or unusual, to avoid any confusion.

7- Proofread and Revise the Essay Carefully

Once you are done writing the essay, proofread and revise it carefully. Make sure that it is free from all kinds of errors.

Descriptive Essay Outline

Like all the other essays, a descriptive essay also follows the usual 5-paragraph essay structure and format.Before starting, it is important to create an outline. Following are the fundamental elements of your descriptive essay outline:

Descriptive Essay Introduction

The introduction sets the footing for the entire essay. Before heading towards the body section, the reader will come across the introduction.

It is the first impression of your work. It is very important to write an engaging introduction so that the readers read the essay till the end.

Start the essay in an easy-to-understand way and language. Provide background information on your topic so they can understand it and its importance.

To make sure the reader feels your emotions and decides to continue reading further, incorporate the following points in your introduction.

The following tips will guide you on how to write a good introduction for a descriptive essay.

  • Attract the reader's attention with an interesting fact, phrase, or quote
  • Don't bombard them with information
  • Go straight to the main pointsInclude enough information to introduce the topic and its significance.
  • Summarize the argument and the main topic and craft your thesis statement

Descriptive Essay Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is an integral part of your essay. It focuses on the argument and the writer’s main idea, which is to be discussed in the essay.

This statement also provides the writer with a chance of explaining the purpose and scope of the topic. It is intriguing and engaging.

A thesis statement is written at the end of the introduction, it is mainly a single sentence that describes the essay objective. The thesis statement should act as a guide to the reader on what to expect in the essay body. It is like a table of contents of a book, to the reader on contents you will get an idea of what the book is all about so you get to understand it better.

It is like a table of contents of a book. By reading it, you will get an idea of what the book is all about.

A good thesis should contain the following things:

  • Define the essay scope - it should narrow down all the points to clarify its purpose.
  • Avoid using common words - you should be creative with your choice of words.
  • Create suspense - it should attract the reader to the body paragraphs of the essay.

For further information on how to write a thesis for a descriptive essay, check out the following examples.

  • Descriptive essay example about a Place

“Even though monarchy is long gone, Buckingham Palace is here to remind us of the aesthetic beauty of that era.”

  • Descriptive essay example about a Person

“One of the characteristics of Spider-Man is his youthfulness, and the fact that he talks to himself more than Hamlet.”

  • Descriptive essay example about an Emotion

“For numerous reasons, the dark forest is my greatest fear, though not a fear which is necessarily smart to face.”

Descriptive Essay Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs of the essay come next after the introduction and thesis statement. It is the main part that continues your essay.

Usually, an essay consists of three body paragraphs but you can add more if needed.

Don't add more than one central idea in one paragraph. Fusing different ideas will confuse the reader.

Build your paragraphs according to the thesis and introduction.

  • Start each body paragraph with the main sentence
  • Use transitions to move between paragraphs smoothly
  • Each paragraph should be five to six sentences long

Descriptive Essay Conclusion

The concluding paragraph is the last part of an essay, and probably your last chance to impress your reader.

The last part that the reader can keep in mind is the conclusion, which is as important as the rest of the essay.

To make it interesting and thought-provoking, include the following points:

  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Summarize the main points
  • Add an intriguing closing statement

After writing the conclusion, make a review of your essay, identify the mistakes and maintain a good tone throughout the essay.

Descriptive Essay Format Sample

Here is the descriptive essay format to help you understand how you can write a winning descriptive essay.

DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY FORMAT (PDF)

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Descriptive Essay Topics Ideas

Descriptive essay topics are often related to physical settings, locations, living beings, and objects.

Make sure that your essay includes the five senses, touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing, or at least one of them. It depends on the topic and the kind of feeling that you want to arouse.

Below are some descriptive essay ideas and ways to achieve them.

Living Beings

When you want to write about a person like a family member, consider the following elements:

  • Gender, age, complexion, and expressions
  • Physical features
  • Height, body type, and approximate weight
  • Kind of clothes

These details will add depth to the description and your readers will actually see your narrative.

When animals are the subject, you can add the above points plus the following details:

  • Species and animal
  • Size, weight, color
  • Behavior patterns
  • Temperament
  • Trained or wild?
  • Real or fictional?

Inanimate Subjects

Geographic locations and structures.

When your subject is a place or a building, add the following points:

  • Research about the place and its historical background
  • The color and the building's type
  • A famous place or landmark to draw a comparison and inspire interest

Human behavior and psychology is a compelling descriptive essay subject. When writing about it:

  • Describe the consequences of a particular behavior
  • Discuss the emotional dimension of the topic and how you perceive it personally

Event Or Travel Experience

A travel experience makes a good descriptive essay since you have experienced the event first hand.

Give a detailed description of the place, people at the venue, and the atmosphere of the location.

Idea, Concept, or Occupation

When writing on such topics, focus on how an idea or concept affects society and its different aspects.

Example Descriptive Essay Topics for Students

Choosing a topic for your descriptive essay is quite interesting. You get to choose something that you have an emotional connection with.

When writing a descriptive essay about a person or place, adding their personal traits will be helpful.

Some examples of descriptive essay topics include:

  • Compose a detailed descriptive essay about your best friend.
  • Describe a fancy place that you have created.
  • Describe your dream vacation destination.
  • Describe your favorite mall or store.
  • Describe your childhood home.
  • Descriptive essay about nature.
  • Descriptive essay about a place you visited.
  • Describe the personality of your Maths teacher.
  • Discuss the main characters of your favorite movie.
  • Descriptive essay about chocolate.
  • Write an essay using unique Words to describe yourself.
  • What makes me unique?
  • My first love.

Descriptive Essay Examples

Study these descriptive essay examples and sample papers to understand the main idea, structure, and purpose of descriptive essays.

DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY ON MARKET (PDF)

DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY EXAMPLE PERSON (PDF)

To help you understand how to write a great descriptive essay, we have a whole blog post dedicated to it. We know that talking about something is one thing and demonstrating it is completely different.

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5StarEssays.com academic writing professionals are ready to help you. They read the essay details before writing and make sure that they incorporate all the details in it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the features of a descriptive essay.

A descriptive essay provides a perfect opportunity for writers to express their feelings on any subject. Descriptive writing has rich sensory details which appeal to all of your senses.

How do you start a descriptive essay introduction?

The introduction to the descriptive essay should set the scene and introduce the main topic. You can use these sensory details to get a sense of what the essay is all about.

What are the two types of descriptive essays?

There are two types of descriptive essays. The first type deals with people, and the second one is about objects.

What are the elements of a descriptive essay?

Here are the key elements of a descriptive essay.

  • Sensory details
  • Figurative language
  • Central and main theme
  • Precise and clear language
  • Proper organization of ideas

What makes good descriptive writing?

Good and effective descriptive writing consists of vivid sensory details that appeal to all senses including the sense of sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste. Moreover, these essays also explain people’s feelings in writing.

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Ultimate guide to writing a descriptive essay, carla johnson.

  • June 14, 2023
  • Essay Topics and Ideas , How to Guides

If you want to get better at writing, you should definitely learn how to write a descriptive essay. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at what a descriptive essay is, why it’s important to write one, and what you can expect to learn from this guide.

– Definition of a descriptive essay: It is a type of academic writing that tries to give a vivid picture of a person, place, thing, or event by using sensory details, figurative language, and other literary techniques.

– Importance of writing a descriptive essay: It’s important to write such essays because they help writers improve their descriptive skills, which are important in many fields like creative writing, journalism, and marketing.

– Purpose of the guide: The purpose of this guide is to provide you with a step-by-step framework for writing a successful essay, from choosing a topic to revising and editing your final draft. By following this guide, you’ll be able to write descriptive essays that are engaging, effective, and memorable.

What You'll Learn

Understanding the Elements of a Descriptive Essay

To write a successful descriptive essay, it’s important to understand the key elements of this type of writing. Here are some of the essential elements to keep in mind:

1. Description of the subject or topic : The heart of a descriptive essay is the description of the subject or topic. This should be a detailed and evocative description that captures the essence of the subject or topic.

2. Sensory details: To make the description more vivid and engaging, a descriptive essay should incorporate sensory details, such as sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Sensory details help the reader to experience the subject or topic in a more immersive way.

3. Organization and structure : A descriptive essay should be well-organized and structured to ensure that the description flows smoothly and logically. This can be achieved through the use of descriptive subheadings, transitions, and other organizational tools.

4. Importance of vivid language: Finally, a descriptive essay should use vivid language and literary techniques, such as metaphors, similes, and personification, to bring the subject or topic to life and make it more memorable and engaging.

Choosing a Topic for a Descriptive Essay

Choosing a good topic is essential to writing a successful descriptive essay. Here are some tips to help you choose a topic:

1. Importance of selecting a good topic: A good topic is one that is interesting, relevant, and meaningful to you as a writer. It should also be a topic that you feel confident writing about.

2. Tips for choosing a topic: To choose a good topic, start by brainstorming a list of potential subjects or topics that you find interesting or important. Then, narrow down your list by considering factors such as feasibility, relevance, and potential for descriptive detail.

3. 50 Descriptive essay topics: Here are some topic ideas to inspire your descriptive essay writing:

– A favorite childhood memory

– Your first love

– A memorable trip or vacation

– Your favorite place in nature

– A special possession or object

– A person who has had a significant impact on your life

– A favorite food or meal

– A significant life event

– The inside of a favorite room or building

– A work of art that inspires you

– A favorite book or movie

– The view from a favorite spot

– A unique hobby or passion

– An important historical or cultural site

– A special moment in time

– A favorite animal or pet

– A childhood game or toy

– A favorite sport or athletic activity

– A dream or aspiration

– A favorite holiday or celebration

– A special talent or skill

– A favorite season or weather event

– A significant life lesson

– A favorite song or piece of music

– A favorite color or aesthetic

– A favorite smell or taste

– A significant relationship or friendship

– A favorite type of architecture or design

– A moment of personal growth or transformation

– A favorite mode of transportation

– A favorite element of nature (e.g. water, fire, wind)

– A favorite type of plant or flower

– A favorite type of weather phenomenon (e.g. thunderstorm, snowfall)

– A favorite type of landscape (e.g. mountains, beach, desert)

– A favorite type of cuisine or food culture

– A favorite type of clothing or fashion trend

– A favorite type of technology or gadget

– A favorite type of musical instrument

– A favorite type of literature or genre

– A favorite type of film or television genre

– A favorite type of art or artistic style

– A favorite type of vehicle or machine

– A favorite type of recreational activity

– A favorite type of job or profession

– A favorite type of building or structure

– A favorite type of holiday or celebration

– A favorite type of animal or pet

By choosing a topic that is interesting and relevant to you, and by incorporating descriptive details and sensory language, you can create a memorable and engaging descriptive essay that captures the essence of your chosen subject or topic.

Research and Gathering of Information

Research is an important part of writing a successful descriptive essay. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when conducting research for your essay:

1. Importance of research in writing a descriptive essay: Research can help you to gather information and insights that will support and enhance your descriptive essay. It can also help you to find interesting and engaging details that will make your essay more memorable and impactful.

2. Sources of information for research: There are many different sources of information you can draw upon when researching your descriptive essay. These might include books, articles, interviews, personal experiences , and observations.

3. Evaluating sources: It’s important to evaluate your sources carefully to ensure that they are reliable and trustworthy. When evaluating a source , consider factors such as the author’s credentials, the publication’s reputation, and any potential biases or limitations.

Creating a Descriptive Essay Outline

Creating an outline is an important step in the writing process , and can help you to organize your thoughts and ideas in a clear and logical way. Here’s what you need to know about creating a descriptive essay outline:

1. Importance of creating an outline: An outline can help you to structure your essay , ensuring that you cover all the key points and details you want to include. It can also help you to identify any gaps or weaknesses in your argument, and to revise and refine your essay more easily.

2. Elements of a descriptive essay outline: A descriptive essay outline typically includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Within each of these sections, you may include subheadings or bullet points to further organize your ideas.

3. Examples of a descriptive essay outline: Here’s an example of a basic descriptive essay outline:

I. Introduction

   A. Hook

   B. Thesis statement

   C. Background information

II. Body Paragraphs

   A. Topic sentence

   B. Sensory details and description

   C. Supporting evidence and examples

   D. Analysis and interpretation

III. Conclusion

   A. Summary of main points

   B. Restatement of thesis

   C. Final thoughts and implications

By using an outline to guide your writing, you can create a descriptive essay that is well-organized, engaging, and impactful.

Writing the Introduction of a Descriptive Essay

The introduction of a descriptive essay is an important part of the writing process. Here’s what you need to know about writing a strong introduction:

1. Importance of an introduction: The introduction sets the tone for your essay and provides readers with an overview of what they can expect to read. A strong introduction can grab the reader’s attention and make them want to keep reading.

2. Elements of an introduction: A strong introduction should include a hook to grab the reader’s attention, background information to provide context, and a thesis statement that previews the main points of your essay .

3. Examples of a descriptive essay introduction: Here’s an example of an introduction for a descriptive essay about a favorite place:

“Standing at the edge of the cliff, I look out over the vast expanse of blue water below. The sun is just beginning to dip below the horizon, casting the sky in shades of pink and orange. This is my favorite place in the world, a place where I feel at peace and in awe of the beauty around me. In this essay, I will share my experiences and emotions about this special place, exploring the sensory details that make it so memorable.”

Developing the Body Paragraphs of a Descriptive Essay

The body paragraphs of a descriptive essay are where you will provide the bulk of your descriptive details and analysis. Here’s what you need to know about developing strong body paragraphs:

1. Importance of body paragraphs: The body paragraphs are where you will provide the sensory details and descriptions that bring your essay to life . They should be well-organized and focused, with each paragraph covering a single main point or idea.

2. Elements of body paragraphs: Each body paragraph should include a topic sentence that previews the main point of the paragraph, sensory details and descriptions that support that point, and analysis and interpretation that help to explain the significance of those details.

3. Examples of a descriptive essay body paragraphs: Here’s an example of a body paragraph for a descriptive essay about a favorite place:

“The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks below is one of the things that makes this place so special to me. It’s a rhythmic, soothing sound that seems to wash away all my worries and cares. As I stand here, I can feel the mist from the waves on my face, and I can taste the salty air on my tongue. These sensory details help to create a vivid, immersive experience that makes this place feel real and tangible to me. But it’s not just the sensory details that make this place special – it’s also the memories and emotions that are associated with it. Every time I come here, I feel a sense of peace and contentment that I can’t find anywhere else.”

By developing strong body paragraphs that incorporate vivid sensory details and analysis, you can create a descriptive essay that is engaging, memorable, and impactful.

Crafting the Conclusion of a Descriptive Essay

The conclusion of a descriptive essay is the final impression you leave on your reader. Here’s what you need to know about crafting a strong conclusion:

1. Importance of a conclusion: The conclusion should provide closure to your essay and leave a lasting impression on the reader. It should summarize the main points of your essay and leave the reader with a sense of significance and importance.

2. Elements of a conclusion: A strong conclusion should include a summary of the main points of your essay , a restatement of your thesis statement, and a final thought or reflection that leaves the reader with something to think about.

3. Examples of a descriptive essay conclusion : Here’s an example of a conclusion for a descriptive essay about a favorite place:

As I stand here, watching the sunset over the water, I am reminded of the beauty and wonder that exists in the world around us. This place, with its sensory details and memories, has become a part of who I am and what I value. It is a reminder to slow down, to appreciate the simple things in life, and to find beauty in the unexpected. As I leave this place, I carry with me the sense of peace and contentment that it brings, and I am grateful for the memories and experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today.

Editing and Revising a Descriptive Essay

Editing and revising are essential steps in the writing process. Here’s what you need to know about editing and revising your descriptive essay:

1. Importance of editing and revising : Editing and revising can help you to identify and correct errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as well as to refine and improve the overall quality of your essay . This process ensures that your essay is polished and ready for submission.

2. Tips for editing and revising: Some tips for editing and revising your descriptive essay include taking a break between writing and editing, reading your essay out loud to catch errors and inconsistencies, and getting feedback from others to identify areas for improvement.

3. Examples of edited and revised descriptive essays: Here’s an example of an edited and revised paragraph from a descriptive essay about a favorite place:

Original: “The beach was beautiful. The sand was warm and the water was blue. I liked going there.”

Edited and Revised: “As I walked along the shoreline, the warm sand between my toes and the cool water lapping at my ankles, I felt a sense of peace and tranquility that I couldn’t find anywhere else. The sun was setting behind me, casting the sky in shades of pink and orange, and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore was rhythmic and soothing. This was my favorite place in the world, a place where I could escape from the pressures of everyday life and just be. I will always cherish the memories and experiences I have had here, and I look forward to returning again and again.”

By taking the time to edit and revise your descriptive essay, you can ensure that it is polished, engaging, and impactful.

Frequently Asked Questions about Descriptive Essays

1. what is a descriptive essay.

A descriptive essay is a type of essay that uses vivid language and sensory details to describe a person, place, object, or event. The goal of a descriptive essay is to create a vivid and immersive experience for the reader.

2. What are the elements of a descriptive essay?

The elements of a descriptive essay include a description of the subject or topic, sensory details, organization and structure, and the importance of vivid language.

3. How do I choose a topic for a descriptive essay?

To choose a topic for a descriptive essay, consider your personal experiences and interests , focus on sensory details, and consider the audience you are writing for.

4. What is the structure of a descriptive essay?

The structure of a descriptive essay typically includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Within each of these sections, you may include subheadings or bullet points to further organize your ideas.

5. What is a descriptive essay thesis?

A descriptive essay thesis is a statement that previews the main points or ideas that will be covered in the essay. It typically appears at the end of the introduction and helps to guide the organization of the essay .

6. What are some common mistakes to avoid in writing a descriptive essay?

Some common mistakes to avoid in writing a descriptive essay include using vague language, overusing adjectives and adverbs, and failing to provide sufficient sensory details.

10 Inspiring Descriptive Essay Examples

1. “The Beauty of Autumn” by John Keats

2. “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson

3. The Grand Canyon” by John Muir

4. The Eiffel Tower at Night” by Ernest Hemingway

5. “The Great Barrier Reef” by David Attenborough

6. “The Northern Lights” by Jack London

7. My Childhood Home” by Maya Angelou

8. The Streets of New York City” by E.B. White

9. “The Serengeti Plains” by Jane Goodall

10. “The Taj Mahal” by Rabindranath Tagore

These 10 inspiring descriptive essays showcase the power of vivid language and sensory details to create a memorable and immersive experience for the reader. Each essay offers a unique perspective on its subject, from the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon to the bustling streets of New York City.

Lessons to be learned from these examples include the importance of using sensory details to create a vivid and immersive experience for the reader, the power of language to evoke emotion and convey meaning, and the value of personal experiences and perspectives in shaping our understanding of the world around us.

In conclusion , writing a descriptive essay requires careful attention to detail, a focus on sensory details and language, and a clear and well-organized structure. By following the guidelines outlined in this guide, you can create a descriptive essay that engages and immerses your readers in the subject matter. Remember to choose a topic that resonates with you, use sensory details to create a vivid experience for your readers, and revise and edit your work to ensure that it is polished and impactful.

Whether you’re describing a favorite place, a meaningful experience, or a unique perspective on the world, a descriptive essay can be a powerful tool for communicating your thoughts and ideas. By taking the time to craft a well-written and engaging essay , you can inspire and connect with your readers in meaningful ways.

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descriptive essay writing structure and techniques

How to Write a Descriptive Essay

descriptive essay writing structure and techniques

Working on a descriptive essay is like handing your reader a pair of magical glasses – it allows them to see, feel, and experience what you're describing. It's not just about listing facts – it's about immersing your reader in a sensory adventure. Fun fact: Studies show that our brains respond to vivid imagery as if we're actually experiencing the described scene. So, by painting a detailed picture with your words, you're not just telling a story – you're triggering a sensory response in your reader's brain, making the whole experience more memorable and engaging. It's like turning your essay into a mini-vacation for your reader's mind. In this article, students who haven’t delegated their tasks to essay writers yet will find a detailed explanation of descriptive writing with the definition, tips, and examples. Stay tuned!

What Is a Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay is a form of writing that employs vivid language and sensory details to create a vivid picture or experience for the reader. Unlike other types of essays that may focus on analyzing, persuading, or narrating, the primary goal of this type of an essay is to paint a compelling and detailed picture in the reader's mind. It often involves the writer using descriptive words, metaphors, and other literary devices to convey a sensory experience, allowing the reader to visualize, feel, hear, smell, and taste what is being described. The purpose is to evoke a strong emotional response and engage the reader's imagination, making them feel like they are part of the depicted scene or moment.

In a descriptive essay, the writer carefully selects and organizes details to convey a specific impression or mood. The subject matter can range from a personal experience to observing a place, event, or object. The effectiveness lies in the writer's ability to create a vivid and immersive experience, enabling the reader to connect with the described subject on a deeper level. Ultimately, a well-executed descriptive essay leaves a lasting impression by bringing words to life and making the reader experience the depicted elements in a tangible and memorable way. You can also consult a reflection paper example for additional writing hints.

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Description vs. Descriptive Essay

Description and descriptive essays are related concepts, but they differ in scope and form. Description is a broader term that refers to the act of detailing the characteristics or features of something, someone, or a specific situation. It can be a component of various types of writing, not limited to essays. Description can be found in narratives, expository writing, and even technical or scientific writing, where clarity and precision in detailing are crucial. In essence, description is a tool used in writing to enhance understanding and create a vivid mental image.

On the other hand, a descriptive essay is a specific genre of writing that focuses entirely on painting a comprehensive and detailed picture using descriptive language. It is a more concentrated form of expression, where the writer's primary objective is to engage the reader's senses and emotions. Our custom writers suggest that a descriptive essay typically centers around a particular theme, experience, or subject, and it employs vivid imagery, figurative language, and sensory details to create a captivating narrative. Unlike a simple description, a descriptive essay has a more structured and narrative-oriented format, often with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Description vs. Descriptive Essay

What to Describe in Your Essay

In a descriptive essay, you have the opportunity to portray a particular subject vividly, and the key is to engage the reader's senses and imagination. Here are some ideas on what you can describe:

  • Scenic Locations. Transport your reader to a specific place – a serene beach, a bustling city street, a lush forest, or an ancient castle. Describe the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings associated with that location.
  • Memorable Experiences. Share a personal experience that left a lasting impression on you. It could be a significant event, a life-changing moment, or even a routine activity that holds special meaning.
  • People. Describe a person who has had a profound impact on your life or someone you find intriguing. Focus not only on their physical appearance but also on their personality, quirks, and the emotions they evoke.
  • Objects. Choose a specific object, whether it's a cherished possession, a historical artifact, or something mundane yet interesting. Explore its significance and how it makes you feel.
  • Seasons and Weather. Capture the essence of a particular season or weather condition. Whether it's the warmth of a summer day, the crispness of autumn, or the sound of raindrops on a window – make the reader feel the atmosphere.
  • Animals or Pets. Bring to life a beloved pet or an encounter with a fascinating animal. Describe their appearance, behavior, and the emotions they evoke in you.
  • Cultural Events. Attend a cultural event, festival, or celebration, and describe the vibrant colors, sounds, and traditions. Explore how these events make you feel and their cultural significance.
  • Art and Creativity. Choose a piece of art, a sculpture, or a creative work that captivates you. Dive into the details, uncovering the emotions it evokes and its impact on your perception.

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Two Approaches to Writing a Descriptive Essay

Two Classic Approaches to the Descriptive Essay

There are generally two primary approaches to writing a descriptive essay, each emphasizing a different aspect of the subject. These approaches help shape the overall tone and purpose of the essay:

Objective Approach. In the objective approach, the writer strives to provide a detailed and accurate portrayal of the subject without injecting personal emotions or opinions. This method is often employed in academic and technical writing. The focus is on presenting an unbiased, factual description that allows readers to form their own opinions. For example, if describing a historical monument, the writer would focus on architectural details, historical context, and other observable features without interjecting personal feelings.

Subjective Approach. Conversely, the subjective approach encourages the writer to infuse personal experiences, emotions, and opinions into the description. This approach is often used in creative writing, personal narratives, or essays that aim to evoke specific emotions in the reader. When using a subjective approach, the writer might vividly describe how the subject makes them feel, drawing on personal memories and sensory experiences. For instance, if describing a favorite childhood place, the writer might delve into nostalgic emotions and memories associated with that location.

The choice between these approaches depends on the writer's goals and the intended impact on the reader. Some essays may even blend elements of both approaches, providing factual details while also conveying the writer's emotional connection to the subject. The key is to be intentional in choosing the approach that best serves the purpose of the descriptive essay. Or, you can buy cheap essay to avoid the trouble now and save valuable free time.

Descriptive Essay Topics

Choosing topics for descriptive essay can greatly benefit students by helping them improve their writing skills and unleash their creativity. These assignments allow students to dive deep into a subject and practice using colorful language, vivid descriptions, and creative imagery. By focusing on details, students learn to observe the world around them more closely and appreciate the nuances of their surroundings. 

Exploring various topics also allows students to expand their knowledge and understanding of different cultures, experiences, and environments, fostering empathy and a broader perspective. In essence, descriptive essay topics provide students with a valuable opportunity to develop their writing abilities while gaining a deeper appreciation for the power of language and observation.

Descriptive Essay

  • A day at the beach.
  • My favorite childhood memory.
  • The cozy corner of my room.
  • A rainy day in the park.
  • The bustling farmer's market.
  • An unforgettable family gathering.
  • The charming old bookstore.
  • My pet's quirky habits.
  • The perfect pizza slice.
  • Sunrise over the city.
  • A peaceful forest glade.
  • The hectic school cafeteria.
  • A quiet Sunday morning.
  • Exploring a hidden trail.
  • The enchanting winter wonderland.
  • The lively street fair.
  • Inside Grandma's kitchen.
  • A colorful autumn day.
  • My favorite room in the house.
  • The first day of school.
  • A historic landmark in my town.
  • Sunset on the lakeshore.
  • The adorable neighborhood coffee shop.
  • A vibrant street art mural.
  • My most comfortable outfit.
  • The quaint village square.
  • A walk through the botanical garden.
  • The excitement of a carnival.
  • A quirky antique shop.
  • Sunday afternoon picnic.

If you need more ideas, consult our guide on narrative essay topics .

Descriptive Essay Outline

An outline for a descriptive essay serves as a roadmap for organizing and structuring the content of your essay to ensure a coherent and engaging narrative. Here's a simple breakdown of the typical components of a descriptive essay outline:

Descriptive Essay Introduction

  • Hook. Begin with a captivating opening sentence to grab the reader's attention.
  • Thesis Statement. Clearly state the main idea or purpose of your essay.

Body Paragraphs (usually three to four)

  • Topic Sentence. Start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main point.
  • Details and Descriptions. Elaborate on the topic sentence by providing vivid and specific details, using sensory language to engage the reader's senses.
  • Transitions. Use smooth transitions between paragraphs to maintain the flow of the essay.
  • Restate Thesis. Recap the main idea of the essay without introducing new information.
  • Summarize Key Points. Briefly revisit the main details discussed in the body paragraphs.
  • Closing Statement. End with a concluding thought that leaves a lasting impression or provokes further reflection.

Review and Revise

  • Check for Consistency. Ensure that your descriptions are consistent and align with the overall theme.
  • Grammar and Style. Review your essay for grammatical errors and refine your writing style.
  • Peer Review. If possible, seek feedback from others to gain different perspectives on your essay.

Remember, this is a flexible descriptive essay writing framework, and the number of body paragraphs can vary based on the specific requirements of your assignment. The key to how to write a descriptive essay is to maintain a logical and organized structure that guides the reader through a rich and immersive experience of the subject you're describing.

Stages of Writing a Descriptive Essay

Writing a descriptive essay involves several stages, each crucial to the development of a vivid and engaging narrative. Here's an overview of the key stages:

Stages of Writing a Descriptive Essay

  • Choose a Topic. Select a subject that is meaningful, interesting, and conducive to detailed description.
  • Brainstorming. Generate ideas related to the chosen topic, jotting down sensory details, emotions, and specific experiences associated with it.
  • Thesis Statement. Develop a clear thesis statement that conveys the main purpose or impression you want to leave with your readers.
  • Introduction. Craft an engaging introduction that hooks the reader and includes the thesis statement.
  • Body Paragraphs. Develop each paragraph around a specific aspect of your topic, providing detailed descriptions and utilizing sensory language.
  • Organization. Arrange your paragraphs logically, using a chronological, spatial, or thematic structure to guide the reader through the experience.
  • Transition Sentences. Use transitional sentences to ensure a smooth flow between paragraphs and ideas.
  • Content Review. Evaluate the effectiveness of your descriptions, ensuring they contribute to the overall theme and purpose of the essay.
  • Clarity and Coherence. Check for clarity and coherence in your writing, ensuring that readers can follow your narrative easily.
  • Sensory Language. Enhance the use of sensory language, making sure that your descriptions evoke vivid images and engage the reader's senses.
  • Thesis Refinement. Fine-tune your thesis statement to reflect any adjustments made during the drafting process.

Editing and Proofreading

  • Grammar and Punctuation. Review your essay for grammatical errors, punctuation issues, and proper sentence structure.
  • Consistency. Check for consistency in tense, point of view, and overall writing style.
  • Word Choice. Ensure that your vocabulary is precise and contributes to the richness of your descriptions.
  • Final Check. Conduct a final proofread to catch any remaining errors, typos, or formatting issues.
  • Peer Review. If possible, seek feedback from peers or instructors to gain additional perspectives on your essay.
  • Structure. Ensure your essay has a clear structure with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  • Font and Font Size. Adhere to any specific formatting guidelines provided by your instructor, including font type and size.
  • Margins and Spacing. Check and adjust margins and line spacing according to the formatting requirements.
  • Title and Headings. If required, include a title and headings, making sure they are appropriately formatted.
  • Citations. If using sources, ensure proper descriptive essay format according to the citation style (APA, MLA, etc.).

By following these stages, you can systematically develop and refine your essay, creating a compelling and immersive experience for your readers.

Descriptive Essay Examples

A descriptive essay example is like a practical guide for students, showing them how to write in a way that really grabs people's attention. They help students see how to use colorful language and organize their thoughts. By looking at the examples, students can understand how to make their writing more engaging and bring their ideas to life. They also inspire students to get creative and find their own unique style. Examples are like a roadmap, navigating students who google ‘ do my homework ’ through the writing world and making them more confident and expressive communicators.

Example 1: "A Tranquil Morning at Sunrise Cove"

This descriptive essay paints a vivid picture of the enchanting Sunrise Cove, capturing the serene and captivating atmosphere that unfolds during the early morning hours. From the magical transformation of the landscape bathed in the warm hues of dawn to the melodic symphony of nature's sounds, the cove emerges as a tranquil haven untouched by the hustle and bustle of modern life. Beyond its picturesque beauty, Sunrise Cove provides a space for introspection and reflection, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the peaceful ambiance and find solace in the quietude of the moment. Ultimately, the essay celebrates the profound beauty and respite offered by this hidden sanctuary as the sun continues its journey across the sky, leaving the cove awash in warmth and tranquility.

Example 2: "The Enchanting Serenity of Moonlit Beaches"

This descriptive essay explores the enchanting beauty of moonlit beaches. It vividly depicts the scene of a beach illuminated by the soft glow of the moon, emphasizing the visual, auditory, and emotional elements that contribute to its allure. The essay is structured into three main paragraphs: the silvered canvas, the symphony of silence, and a tapestry of emotions. Each paragraph delves into a specific aspect of the moonlit beach experience, from the shimmering reflections on the sand and water to the peaceful silence that reigns during the night and, finally, the emotional resonance that the scene evokes. The overall theme highlights the transformative and serene nature of moonlit beaches, portraying them as a timeless sanctuary for introspection and contemplation.

Learning how to compose descriptive essays is a powerful tool that empowers students to express themselves vividly, sharpen their observational abilities, and communicate with precision. The ability to create a sensory-rich experience on paper not only enhances academic performance but also cultivates a lifelong skill set essential for effective communication in various aspects of life.

They encourage students to delve into their surroundings, tap into their creativity, and paint a detailed picture with words. The process of carefully selecting and arranging descriptive details not only refines their writing abilities but also hones their critical thinking skills. As students engage in this form of expression, they learn to appreciate the nuances of language, fostering a deeper connection to the written word. Need help with this assignment? Use our descriptive essay writing service right now!

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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

What is a descriptive essay?

The descriptive essay is a genre of essay that asks the student to describe something—object, person, place, experience, emotion, situation, etc. This genre encourages the student’s ability to create a written account of a particular experience. What is more, this genre allows for a great deal of artistic freedom (the goal of which is to paint an image that is vivid and moving in the mind of the reader).

One might benefit from keeping in mind this simple maxim: If the reader is unable to clearly form an impression of the thing that you are describing, try, try again!

Here are some guidelines for writing a descriptive essay.

  • Take time to brainstorm

If your instructor asks you to describe your favorite food, make sure that you jot down some ideas before you begin describing it. For instance, if you choose pizza, you might start by writing down a few words: sauce, cheese, crust, pepperoni, sausage, spices, hot, melted, etc. Once you have written down some words, you can begin by compiling descriptive lists for each one.

  • Use clear and concise language.

This means that words are chosen carefully, particularly for their relevancy in relation to that which you are intending to describe.

  • Choose vivid language.

Why use horse when you can choose stallion ? Why not use tempestuous instead of violent ? Or why not miserly in place of cheap ? Such choices form a firmer image in the mind of the reader and often times offer nuanced meanings that serve better one’s purpose.

  • Use your senses!

Remember, if you are describing something, you need to be appealing to the senses of the reader. Explain how the thing smelled, felt, sounded, tasted, or looked. Embellish the moment with senses.

  • What were you thinking?!

If you can describe emotions or feelings related to your topic, you will connect with the reader on a deeper level. Many have felt crushing loss in their lives, or ecstatic joy, or mild complacency. Tap into this emotional reservoir in order to achieve your full descriptive potential.

  • Leave the reader with a clear impression.

One of your goals is to evoke a strong sense of familiarity and appreciation in the reader. If your reader can walk away from the essay craving the very pizza you just described, you are on your way to writing effective descriptive essays.

  • Be organized!

It is easy to fall into an incoherent rambling of emotions and senses when writing a descriptive essay. However, you must strive to present an organized and logical description if the reader is to come away from the essay with a cogent sense of what it is you are attempting to describe.

What is a Descriptive Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

What is a Descriptive Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

A descriptive essay is a type of creative writing that uses specific language to depict a person, object, experience, or event. The idea is to use illustrative language to show readers what the writer wants to convey – it could be as simple as a peaceful view from the top of a hill or as horrific as living in a war zone. By using descriptive language, authors can evoke a mental image in the readers’ minds, engaging readers and leaving a lasting impression, instead of just providing a play-by-play narrative.

Note that a description and descriptive essay are not the same thing. A descriptive essay typically consists of five or more well-written paragraphs with vivid imagery that can help readers visualize the content, as opposed to a description, which is typically one or more plain paragraphs with no particular structure or appeal. If you are still unsure about how to write a compelling descriptive essay, continue reading!

Table of Contents

What is a descriptive essay, types of descriptive essay topics.

  • Characteristics of descriptive essays

How to write a descriptive essay using a structured outline

Frequently asked questions.

A simple descriptive essay definition is that it is a piece of writing that gives a thorough and vivid description of an object, person, experience, or situation. It is sometimes focused more on the emotional aspect of the topic rather than the specifics. The author’s intention when writing a descriptive essay is to help readers visualize the subject at hand. Generally, students are asked to write a descriptive essay to test their ability to recreate a rich experience with artistic flair. Here are a few key points to consider when you begin writing these.

  • Look for a fascinating subject

You might be assigned a topic for your descriptive essay, but if not, you must think of a subject that interests you and about which you know enough facts. It might be about an emotion, place, event, or situation that you might have experienced.

descriptive essay writing structure and techniques

  • Acquire specific details about the topic

The next task is to collect relevant information about the topic of your choice. You should focus on including details that make the descriptive essay stand out and have a long-lasting impression on the readers. To put it simply, your aim is to make the reader feel as though they were a part of the experience in the first place, rather than merely describing the subject.

  • Be playful with your writing

To make the descriptive essay memorable, use figurative writing and imagery to lay emphasis on the specific aspect of the topic. The goal is to make sure that the reader experiences the content visually, so it must be captivating and colorful. Generally speaking, “don’t tell, show”! This can be accomplished by choosing phrases that evoke strong emotions and engage a variety of senses. Making use of metaphors and similes will enable you to compare different things. We will learn about them in the upcoming sections.

  • Capture all the different senses

Unlike other academic articles, descriptive essay writing uses sensory elements in addition to the main idea. In this type of essay writing, the topic is described by using sensory details such as smell, taste, feel, and touch. Example “ Mahira feels most at home when the lavender scent fills her senses as she lays on her bed after a long, tiring day at work . As the candle melts , so do her worries” . It is crucial to provide sensory details to make the character more nuanced and build intrigue to keep the reader hooked. Metaphors can also be employed to explain abstract concepts; for instance, “ A small act of kindness creates ripples that transcend oceans .” Here the writer used a metaphor to convey the emotion that even the smallest act of kindness can have a larger impact.

  • Maintain harmony between flavor and flow

The descriptive essay format is one that can be customized according to the topic. However, like other types of essays, it must have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The number of body paragraphs can vary depending on the topic and available information.

It is crucial to remember that a descriptive essay should have a specific topic and goal, such as sharing personal experiences or expressing emotions like the satisfaction of a good meal. This is accomplished by employing exact language, imagery, and figurative language to illustrate concrete features. These language devices allow the writer to craft a descriptive essay that effectively transmits a particular mood, feeling, or incident to readers while also conjuring up strong mental imagery. A descriptive essay may be creative, or it may be based on the author’s own experiences. Below is a description of a few descriptive essay examples that fit into these categories.

  • Personal descriptive essay example

A personal essay can look like a descriptive account of your favorite activity, a place in your neighborhood, or an object that you value. Example: “ As I step out of the front door, the crisp morning air greets me with a gentle embrace; the big chestnut tree in front, sways in the wind as if saying hello to me. The world unfolds in a symphony of awakening colors, promising a day filled with untold possibilities that make me feel alive and grateful to be born again”.

  • Imaginative descriptive essay example

You may occasionally be required to write descriptive essays based on your imagination or on subjects unrelated to your own experiences. The prompts for these kinds of creative essays could be to describe the experience of someone going through heartbreak or to write about a day in the life of a barista. Imaginative descriptive essays also allow you to describe different emotions. Example, the feelings a parent experiences on holding their child for the first time.

Characteristics of descriptive essay s

The aim of a descriptive essay is to provide a detailed and vivid description of a person, place, object, event, or experience. The main goal is to create a sensory experience for the reader. Through a descriptive essay, the reader may be able to experience foods, locations, activities, or feelings that they might not otherwise be able to. Additionally, it gives the writer a way to relate to the readers by sharing a personal story. The following is a list of the essential elements of a descriptive essay:

  • Sensory details
  • Clear, succinct language
  • Organized structure
  • Thesis statement
  • Appeal to emotion

descriptive essay writing structure and techniques

How to write a descriptive essay, with examples

Writing an engaging descriptive essay is all about bringing the subject matter to life for the reader so they can experience it with their senses—smells, tastes, and textures. The upside of writing a descriptive essay is you don’t have to stick to the confinements of formal essay writing, rather you are free to use a figurative language, with sensory details, and clever word choices that can breathe life to your descriptive essay. Let’s take a closer look at how you can use these components to develop a descriptive essay that will stand out, using examples.

  • Figurative language

Have you ever heard the expression “shooting for the stars”? It refers to pushing someone to strive higher or establish lofty goals, but it does not actually mean shooting for the stars. This is an example of using figurative language for conveying strong motivational emotions. In a descriptive essay, figurative language is employed to grab attention and emphasize points by creatively drawing comparisons and exaggerations. But why should descriptive essays use metaphorical language? One it adds to the topic’s interest and humor; two, it facilitates the reader’s increased connection to the subject.

These are the five most often used figurative language techniques: personification, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, and allusion.

  • Simile: A simile is a figure of speech that is used to compare two things while emphasizing and enhancing the description using terms such as “like or as.”

Example: Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving – Albert Einstein

  • Metaphor: A metaphor are also used to draw similarities, but without using direct or literal comparisons like done in similes.   

Example: Books are the mirrors of the soul – Virginia Woolf, Between the acts

  • Personification: This is the process of giving nonhuman or abstract objects human traits. Any human quality, including an emotional component, a physical attribute, or an action, can be personified.

Example: Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world – Louis Pasteur

  • Hyperbole: This is an extreme form of exaggeration, frequently impractical, and usually employed to emphasize a point or idea. It gives the character more nuance and complexity.

Example: The force will be with you, always – Star Wars

  • Allusion: This is when you reference a person, work, or event without specifically mentioning them; this leaves room for the reader’s creativity.  

Example: In the text below, Robert Frost uses the biblical Garden of Eden as an example to highlight the idea that nothing, not even paradise, endures forever.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay

– Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost (1923)

Descriptive essays need a combination of figurative language and strong sensory details to make the essay more memorable. This is when authors describe the subject matter employing senses like smell, sound, touch, and taste so that the reader can relate to it better.

Example of a sensory-based descriptive essay: The earthy fragrance of freshly roasted chestnuts and the sight of bright pink, red, orange fallen leaves on the street reminded her that winter was around the corner.

  • Word choice

Word choice is everything in a descriptive essay. For the description to be enchanting, it is essential to utilize the right adjectives and to carefully consider the verbs, nouns, and adverbs. Use unusual terms and phrases that offer a new viewpoint on your topic matter instead of overusing clichés like “fast as the wind” or “lost track of time,” which can make your descriptive essay seem uninteresting and unoriginal.

See the following examples:

Bad word choice: I was so happy because the sunset was really cool.

Good word choice: I experienced immense joy as the sunset captivated me with its remarkable colors and breathtaking beauty.

  • Descriptive essay format and outline

Descriptive essay writing does not have to be disorganized, it is advisable to use a structured format to organize your thoughts and ensure coherent flow in your writing. Here is a list of components that should be a part of your descriptive essay outline:

  • Introduction
  • Opening/hook sentence
  • Topic sentence
  • Body paragraphs
  • Concrete details
  • Clincher statement

descriptive essay writing structure and techniques

Introduction:

  • Hook: An opening statement that captures attention while introducing the subject.
  • Background: Includes a brief overview of the topic the descriptive essay is based on.
  • Thesis statement: Clearly states the main point or purpose of the descriptive essay.

Body paragraphs: Each paragraph should have

  • Topic sentence: Introduce the first aspect or feature you will describe. It informs the reader about what is coming next.
  • Sensory details: Use emphatic language to appeal to the reader’s senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell).
  • Concrete details: These are actual details needed to understand the context of the descriptive essay.
  • Supporting details: Include relevant information or examples to improve the description.

Conclusion:

  • Summarize key points: Here you revisit the main features or aspects of the subject.
  • Restate thesis statement: Reinforce the central impression or emotion.
  • Clincher statement: Conclude with a statement that summarizes the entire essay and serve as the last words with a powerful message.

Revision and editing:

  • Go over your essay to make sure it is coherent, clear, and consistent.
  • Check for logical paragraph transitions by proofreading the content.
  • Examine text to ensure correct grammar, punctuation, and style.
  • Use the thesaurus or AI paraphrasing tools to find the right words.

A descriptive essay often consists of three body paragraphs or more, an introduction that concludes with a thesis statement, and a conclusion that summarizes the subject and leaves a lasting impression on readers.

A descriptive essay’s primary goal is to captivate the reader by writing a thorough and vivid explanation of the subject matter, while appealing to their various senses. A list of additional goals is as follows: – Spark feeling and imagination – Create a vivid experience – Paint a mental picture – Pique curiosity – Convey a mood or atmosphere – Highlight specific details

Although they both fall within the creative writing category, narrative essays and descriptive essays have different storytelling focuses. While the main goal of a narrative essay is to tell a story based on a real-life experience or a made-up event, the main goal of a descriptive essay is to vividly describe a person, location, event, or emotion.

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How to Write a Descriptive Essay

Last Updated: February 24, 2024 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. 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 1,513,741 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

Step 1 Choose a person to describe.

  • 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.

Step 2 Pick a place or object to describe.

  • 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.

Step 3 Select an emotion to describe.

  • You could also choose a more specific emotion, such as brotherly love or self-hatred. These emotions can make for powerful descriptive essays.

Step 4 Make a list of sensory details about the topic.

  • 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

Step 1 Outline the essay in sections.

  • 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.

Step 2 Create a ...

  • 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.”

Step 3 Write a strong introduction.

  • 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."

Step 4 Describe the topic with vivid adjectives.

  • 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."

Step 5 Use metaphors and similes.

  • 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.”

Step 6 Discuss your emotions and thoughts about the topic.

  • 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.

Step 7 Wrap up the essay with a strong conclusion.

  • 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

Step 1 Read the essay out loud.

  • 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.

Step 2 Show the essay to others.

  • Be open to constructive criticism and feedback from others. This will only make your essay stronger.

Step 3 Revise the essay for clarity and length.

  • 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

descriptive essay writing structure and techniques

Expert Q&A

Jake Adams

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Write an Essay

  • ↑ https://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
  • ↑ https://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

About This Article

Jake Adams

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

How to Write a Descriptive Essay

descriptive essay writing structure and techniques

This could be something as simple as your favorite flavor of ice cream or as complicated as the politics of 13th century Vienna. Different than a simple description, a descriptive essay allows the writer to really show off both their imagination as well as their writing skills.

What is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a type of academic writing that asks the writer to fully describe a place, person, situation, event, or thing. They can be simple or they can be very complex depending on the subject matter and audience written for. These types of essays train a writer’s ability to express themselves accurately as well as build compelling sentences and arguments.

Descriptive Essay Ideas

There is no exhaustive list of things that can be described, but these are some of the most common things you may be asked to write about. 

A Location - The goal of writing about a place is to make the reader feel as if they are there. Words, similes, and metaphors that ignite the reader’s imagination are essential. Try and immerse the reader in the sights, smells, and sounds of the place you are describing. Examples could be a city, a view, a particular building like your house, etc. 

A Time Period - Similar to writing about a location, the goal is to make the reader lose themselves in the time you are describing. This requires great research to be able to describe physical characteristics as authentically and as well as possible. This could include how you felt a year ago, an ancient time period, or the future.

An Event - The goal of describing an event is to explain a series of interesting circumstances. Typical storytelling elements like describing the plot, setting, and characters are useful, but make sure you focus on the chain of events.

An Emotion - The goal of describing an emotion is to make the reader feel the sentiments of the character you are describing. Metaphors and similes are very useful when trying to evoke an emotion in a reader along with physical descriptions that express the emotion. 

A Person - The goal of writing about a person is to make the reader understand something about that person. This includes physical descriptions of what they look like, what kind of clothing they wear, a sense of the physical presence along with their profession,  as well as how they behave. 

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Descriptive Essay Outline and Structure

Though a descriptive type of essay is quite different from a typical academic paper, it still follows a classic 5 paragraph format. Always follow any directions though, sometimes you may need more or fewer body paragraphs. This is a general structure you should keep in mind for this type of essay.

Introduction

  • Introduction/background information

Body Paragraphs

  • Topic Sentence
  • Sensory Information
  • Physical Descriptions
  • Transition Sentence
  • Summary of the main points
  • Restate the thesis

An outline is always a good idea for any kind of writing, but it is particularly useful for this type of essay because it collects your thoughts and makes sure your essay stays on track. 

Introduction 
  • Hook - The sting of salty water, the hypnotic crash of the waves, the breathtaking sunsets, the best vacation spot?
  • Background information - Everyone is different and everyone likes different types of things. When it comes to vacations though, there is a place that almost everyone enjoys.
  • Thesis - In my opinion, the beach is the best possible vacation spot because of the variety of ways one can enjoy it. 
Body Paragraph 1 
  • Topic Sentence - The beach has many kinds of natural beauty
  • Sensory information - The unlimited expanse of the ocean combined with glorious sunrises and sunsets.
  • Physical descriptions -The crunch of sand below your bare feet and the crash of waves on your body.
  • Transition sentence - There’s more than just natural beauty though, there are physical activities to enjoy as well 
Body Paragraph 2
  • Topic Sentence - The beach has unlimited activities for physical enjoyment.
  • Sensory information - The thrill of battling with the ocean, the joy of falling on the sand, the wind streaming through your hair, and the pleasant tingling of the sun on bare skin.
  • Physical descriptions - Water sports like surfing, jet skiing, and the like allow you to exercise in one of the most fun ways possible. Not to mention sports like frisbee, volleyball, beach soccer, and more.
  • Transition sentence - If you just want to relax, the beach is perfect for that too!
Body Paragraph 3
  • Topic Sentence - The beach is ideal just to relax, destress, and take it easy. 
  • Sensory information - To relax as you are massaged by either human hands or the sun is a pleasure. Lazing around might be frowned upon, but the beach is the ideal place to spend some time taking care of yourself and letting the stresses of the world melt away.
  • Physical description - Whether it’s reading a book, or enjoying a refreshing beverage with umbrellas in it, you can get taken care of on the beach. Building sandcastles, painting, and meditating are other activities easily and freely enjoyed. 
  • Transition sentence - The beach has so much to offer.
  • Summary of the main points - Whether it’s nature, physical exercise, or simple relaxation, the beach can offer all of that and more. 
  • Restate the thesis - That’s the main reason that a beach is the ideal vacation spot, it allows for diverse ways of having fun. 
  • Closing statement/Clincher - Think about the last time you went to the beach, don’t you want to go again?

What is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay?

It should leave the reader with a clear idea of the topic of the essay. The goal is to explain things in a comprehensive and interesting way so that the information stays with the reader. Let’s go into the details of how to accomplish this. 

Did you like our inspiring Descriptive Essay Guide?

For more help, tap into our pool of professional writers and get expert essay editing services!

Writing Process & Descriptive Essay Examples

It may seem challenging to write a successful essay of this type, but if you follow the advice below, it will be a breeze. 

How to Start a Descriptive Essay

Making sure you choose the right topic is the first hurdle to cross. A topic for a descriptive essay is vital because it is the main subject you will be writing about. Spend at least 20 minutes brainstorming different topic ideas and make sure you choose a topic that you know well.

Next, create an outline to better structure your thoughts and figure out the pieces of information you need to find out more about. The more time you spend creating a well-researched outline, the better your endpaper is going to be, and you’ll end up spending less time on actually writing the paper. Now you can move on the writing the descriptive essay introduction.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay Thesis

A thesis statement is the main argument you are trying to make in your paper. It is the main point you are trying to describe. A good thesis statement for descriptive essay is particular without being too brief. It should include not only just what the topic is, but also mention why the topic is important.

How to Write Body Paragraphs

You can have as many body paragraphs as you think are necessary to achieve the goal of describing something clearly. This means you could have just one body paragraph, the standard three, or more. 

Start every paragraph with a topic sentence that explains what the main purpose of the paragraph is. Next fill in sensory details, describing the emotions before moving on to describing the actual physical details. End each body paragraph with a transition sentence that helps each paragraph flow into the other. Not only does this make your writing stronger, but it also helps you create an immersive experience.

How to Write the Conclusion 

Summarize the main points of your essay and make sure that you reiterate the thesis statement. This reminds people of the point of your essay and ensures that when writing, you don’t stray too far from the point. 

Descriptive Essay Format 

There are 3 main formats of citation types for essays. Though the most common one is MLA, it is possible that you may have to use APA or Chicago Style citations. 

MLA stands for Modern Language Association and is used primarily for the arts and humanities.  MLA uses in-text parenthetical citation in the format of (Author, Page). The page at the end that contains all the sources is called the Works Cited page. The format of these entries is unique to MLA but is easy to make with a citation generator. 

APA stands for American Psychological Association and is used mostly for the sciences and social sciences. APA uses in-text parenthetical citations in the format (Author, Date). The page at the end that contains all the sources is called the References section

Chicago Style is used primarily for Business, History, and the Fine Arts. In-text citation can be either as footnotes or parenthetical citation in the format (Author, Date). The page at the end that contains all the sources is called the Bibliography. 

Most descriptive essays will follow the MLA style of citation, but if you need any more help, find a guide on Studyfy.com for more information about citation styles in general. 

Descriptive Essay Topics

The topic is crucial, because all the research you do, and the entire paper, will specifically be about describing the topic. Here are some descriptive essay prompts to inspire you!

The person you’ve most admired in your life
A movie scene that made you feel strong emotions
The time period you would travel to if you had a time machine
Why a beach is better than the mountains for a vacation (or vice versa)
The taste of a drink when you are incredibly tired
An author that inspired you 
Your favorite cuisine
The best place in the world to be by yourself
The best Christmas morning you’ve ever had
An accent that you really enjoy 
A time when you wanted something so much it burned
Describe the day in the life of your favorite celebrity 
The joy of escaping into a video game
What dancing means to you 
A life philosophy you believe in 
The feeling of holding a baby in our arms
The sound of crashing waves
Standing in front of a gorgeous view
A vacation that was meaningful 
Why fireworks are magical 
The first time you cosplayed 
How it feels to listen to music that you hate 
The best thing you have ever eaten in your life
What would it be like to live 100 years in the future
Why hearing people laugh is beautiful 
A day in the life of your favorite animal 
A strange superstition you believe in
The strangest person you’ve ever met
Your favorite tv show 
Playing your favorite sport 
What it’s like to be in love

Descriptive Essay Tips

Before we end, let’s go over some of the key points of information in this article.

  • Use figurative language including metaphors and similes 
  • Use your senses
  • Choose appropriate words
  • Show don't tell 
  • Focus on specific details
  • Spend time choosing the right topic
  • Create a detailed outline
  • Forget about the purpose of the essay
  • Submit your first draft
  • Make it too complicated
  • Ignore your audience 
  • Ignore any directions

In addition to the information provided in this article, there are various resources available to help with your writing needs. If you are struggling to write your descriptive essay, you can turn to professional writers and editors for assistance. You may consider hiring a research paper writing service or seeking help from dissertation writers .

Additionally, if you need someone to " write my admission essay ", there are various options available. You can hire a writer for a custom writing service or seek help from online tutors and teachers. Furthermore, if you need to write a strong admission essay, there are services available that specialize in providing guidance and assistance with this type of writing.

It is important to note that before submitting any work, it should be proofread and edited thoroughly to ensure its quality. Studyfy offers a range of services to help with this, including professional proofreaders and editors who can check your work for grammatical errors and ensure that it meets academic standards.

In summary, there are various resources available to help with your writing needs, including professional writing services, proofreaders, and editors. By utilizing these resources and following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can write a successful descriptive essay that effectively conveys your ideas and engages your readers.If you are looking for the query " I need someone to write an essay for me ", Studyfy has got you covered

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Descriptive Essay Writing: Definition, Structure & Examples

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A descriptive essay is a form of writing that seeks to vividly depict a person, place, object, event, emotion or experience. By incorporating sensory details encompassing sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch, it paints a vivid image within the reader's imagination. The primary objective of a descriptive writing is to evoke emotions, captivate the reader's senses, and offer a comprehensive and immersive portrayal of the chosen subject.

A descriptive essay, akin to a narrative essay , allows for a heightened level of creativity beyond traditional academic writing . It grants the writer the liberty to express their own perspective, or assume the role of a character within the narrative. These types of essays serve as a means to assess your language proficiency by crafting an original and imaginative portrayal of the subject in hand.

Table of Content

  • Importance of descriptive writing
  • When to write descriptive essays
  • Descriptive essay topics
  • Tips for writing a descriptive essay
  • Descriptive essay structure

Descriptive essay example

Descriptive Writing | Using 5 Senses | EssaysOnDemand

Importance of Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing plays a crucial role in various forms of communication, including literature, journalism, advertising, and storytelling. Its importance lies in its ability to transport readers to different places, evoke emotions, and create a lasting impression. Through descriptive writing, authors can paint a vivid and memorable picture, allowing readers to connect deeply with the subject matter.

When to Write Descriptive Essays

Descriptive essays are frequently assigned as writing assignments in high school and composition classes, developing students' creative writing skills and fostering their ability to vividly convey experiences and ideas through words. There are numerous scenarios where students are being asked to write descriptive essays, such as:

  • Describing a personal experience about a memorable trip, important life event, or personal achievement.
  • Portraying a character by describing their appearance, behavior, personality traits, and motivations.
  • Analyzing and describing objects or artifacts, exploring their visual features, functionality, historical significance, and overall impact.
  • Elaborating on historical events or significant moments by providing detailed and immersive descriptions.
  • Presenting nature or the natural world through sensory details and vivid language.
  • Describing abstract concepts or emotions to effectively convey ideas like love, fear, happiness, or freedom.

Descriptive Essay Topics

When it comes to writing descriptive essays, choosing the right topic or understanding the topic of your assignment is crucial for creating a well-structured and engaging piece of writing. Brainstorming your topic is one of an effective steps of the essay writing process. Whether you are tasked with a personal reflection or an analysis, being aware of the prompt's requirements is the key. Let’s take a look at some of the examples of descriptive essay prompts often used in real life essays.

How has overcoming a significant challenge shaped your perspective on resilience?

Describe a mentor or role model who has had a profound impact on your life and explain why.

Use poetic language to describe the depth of love and devotion between two individuals.

Convey the sensory experience and overwhelming emotions associated with facing a deep-rooted fear.

Describe the awe-inspiring beauty of a mountain range, highlighting its towering peaks and lush valleys.

Immerse readers in the intricate web of life within a coral reef, showcasing its vibrant biodiversity.

Transport readers to a pivotal moment in history, vividly depicting its significance.

Provide a moving description of a personal or societal event that evoked strong emotions.

Describe a renowned painting, examining its intricate details and underlying symbolism.

Explain the workings and significance of a groundbreaking scientific instrument.

Describe the bustling streets and vibrant culture of your favorite city.

Paint a vivid picture of a tranquil forest scene, exploring the sights, sounds, and scents.

Explore the complexities of a flawed protagonist and their journey of self-discovery.

Provide a vivid portrayal of an antagonist and their sinister motivations.

Tips for Writing an Effective Descriptive Essay

When it comes to writing a descriptive essay, the choice of words plays a crucial role in creating a captivating and immersive experience for the reader. Here are some valuable tips to help you select the right words:

  • Sensory Details: Engage the reader's senses by incorporating descriptive words that appeal to sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. This allows the reader to visualize and experience what you are describing, making your essay more vivid and engaging.
  • Specific and Concrete Language: Opt for precise and detailed language to provide clear descriptions. Avoid using vague or generic terms. Instead of saying "the house was big," you could say "the grand mansion stood majestically with its towering pillars and spacious rooms."
  • Figurative Language: Enhance your descriptions by using similes, metaphors, and other figures of speech. This adds depth and imagery to your writing, making it more creative and evocative. For example, instead of saying "the river was calm," you could say "the river flowed serenely like a mirror reflecting the surrounding trees."
  • Emotionally Charged Words: Choose words that evoke emotions and create a strong connection between the reader and the subject you are describing. This allows the reader to empathize with the experiences and feelings you are conveying, making your essay more impactful and memorable.
  • Varied Vocabulary: Maintain variety in your writing by utilizing a diverse range of vocabulary. Avoid repetitive words and explore synonyms, antonyms, and descriptive adjectives to enrich your descriptions and keep the reader engaged.
  • Active Verbs: Use strong and dynamic verbs to convey action and create a sense of energy in your writing. This brings your descriptions to life and adds a dynamic element to your essay. Instead of saying "the city was bustling with activity," you could say "the city hummed with vibrant energy as people hurried along the bustling streets."

Remember, the words you choose have the power to shape the reader's experience and understanding of your subject. Take the time to carefully select words that accurately capture the essence of what you are describing, and strive to create a vivid and compelling narrative through your descriptive language.

The Structure of a Descriptive Essay: Intro, Body, Conclusion

A descriptive essay is designed to immerse the reader in a rich and captivating experience through the use of sensory details, specific and concrete language, emotionally charged words, figurative language, and active words. To achieve this goal, it is crucial to establish a well-defined structure for your essay. While there is no fixed format that you must strictly follow, the structure you choose should effectively convey your chosen subject and reflect your personal approach to experiencing and perceiving the world.

When writing your descriptive essay, it is important to consider the subject you are describing and the unique perspective you bring to it. Each person's experience and interpretation of a subject can vary, so your essay should reflect your own observations and emotions. With this in mind, you can develop an outline structure that allows you to effectively organize your thoughts and present a cohesive narrative.

While the specific structure may vary depending on your preferences and the nature of your subject, a good starting point for an outline structure for your descriptive essay could have the following format:

  • Begin with an engaging opening sentence that hooks the reader and introduces the topic.
  • Provide background information to set the context for your essay.
  • Write a thesis statement that captures the essence of your subject's description without necessarily including an argument or opinion..
  • Start each paragraph with a topic sentence
  • Use sensory details to paint a vivid picture for the reader.
  • Organize your paragraphs logically, such as by focusing on physical description, contextual description, and emotional impact.
  • Restate your thesis statement, summarizing the key points discussed in your essay.
  • Consider the broader implications of your subject's description and its significance in a larger context.
  • Leave the reader with a lasting impression or thought-provoking insight related to your subject.

Descriptive Essay Example

Here a short good example of a descriptive essay, taken from the example prompts of depicting a place “Paint a vivid picture of a tranquil forest scene, exploring the sights, sounds, and scents” is given below.

Explore the various sections highlighted in different colors and hover over them to reveal a detailed description of the essay writing process.

Nestled deep within the heart of nature, lies a tranquil forest, a haven of serenity and enchantment. As the sun's golden rays filter through the lush canopy, casting dancing shadows on the forest floor, a symphony of nature's melodies fills the air. Immersed in the majestic beauty of a tranquil forest scene, I am profoundly impacted by nature's serenity, which invokes within me a profound sense of peace, awe, and a deep connection to the natural world.

Amidst the towering trees, the forest exudes an ethereal beauty that mesmerizes the senses. The gentle rustle of leaves harmonizes with the whispers of the wind, creating a soothing melody that resonates throughout the woodland. Rays of sunlight pierce through the dense foliage, casting dappled patterns on the moss-covered ground. The vibrant hues of emerald and gold create a tapestry of colors, enchanting the eyes and invoking a sense of tranquility.

Beyond its physical grandeur, the forest possesses a rich contextual significance. It serves as a sanctuary for diverse wildlife, as birds chirp in harmonious chorus and squirrels scurry along tree branches. The scent of damp earth permeates the air, mingling with the sweet fragrance of wildflowers that bloom in secluded clearings. The interplay of natural elements creates an ecosystem teeming with life and vitality, evoking a deep connection to the rhythm of nature.

The tranquil forest scene encapsulates a symphony of sensory experiences that transport us to a realm of peace and harmony. The sights, sounds, and scents blend harmoniously, captivating our senses and rejuvenating our spirits. By immersing ourselves in the beauty of nature, we reconnect with our innate connection to the natural world, reminding us of the delicate balance and profound serenity that exist within it. May this glimpse into the tranquil forest inspire us to cherish and preserve the invaluable treasures of our natural surroundings.

Throughout this comprehensive guide, we have delved into the intricacies of crafting a captivating descriptive essay. By employing the strategies and techniques discussed, you now possess the tools to paint a vivid picture with your words, engaging your readers and evoking their senses. Remember to carefully select your words, utilizing sensory details and figurative language to create an immersive experience. Organize your paragraphs logically, focusing on the physical, contextual, and emotional aspects of your subject.

For further inspiration and guidance, we invite you to explore our collection of PDF essay samples . These samples provide real-life examples of well-written descriptive essays, showcasing effective use of descriptive language and structure. By analyzing these samples, you can gain valuable insights and enhance your own writing skills.

If you need an extra polish or have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Our team of experienced writers is here to support you on your writing journey. Whether you require further guidance, personalized feedback, or assistance in refining your descriptive essay, we are ready to help you achieve your goals. Together, let's bring your descriptive writing to new heights of excellence.

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Structure of a Descriptive Essay

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The descriptive essay can be arranged in one of many organization patterns , and you will soon find that one style is best for your particular topic.

Some effective organization patterns for a descriptive essay are spatial, which is best used when you are describing a location; chronological organization, which is best used when you are describing an event; and functional organization, which is best used when you are describing how a device or process works.

Start with a Mind Dump

Before you can begin writing your essay or deciding upon an organizational pattern, you should put everything you know about your subject on a piece of paper in a mind dump .

In this first stage of information gathering, you should not worry about organizing your information. To start out, simply write down every item, characteristic, or feature that you can think of, allowing your thoughts to flow onto the paper.

Note: A giant sticky note is a fun tool for mind dumping.

Once your paper is filled with bits of information, you can use a simple numbering system to begin identifying topics and subtopics. Simply look over your items and “clump” them together in logical groups. Your groups will become major topics that you address in body paragraphs.

Come Up with an Overall Impression

The next step is to read over your information to come up with one major impression that you get from it all. Ponder the information for a few moments and see if you can boil it all down to one thought. Sound difficult?

This list below shows three imaginary topics (in bold) followed by examples of a few thoughts that might be generated about each topic. You will see that the thoughts lead to an overall impression (in italics).

1. Your City Zoo - "The animals were arranged by continents. Each area featured interesting plants and flowers from the continents. There were beautiful murals painted everywhere." Impression: the visual elements make this a more interesting zoo.

Structure: Since a zoo is a place, the best structure for the city zoo essay is likely to be spatial. As a writer, you would begin with an introductory paragraph that ends with a thesis statement based on your impression. A sample thesis state would be "While the animals were fascinating, the visual elements made this zoo most interesting."

  • You could write your essay as a walking tour, visiting (describing) one area at a time.
  • Each area would be described in your body paragraphs.
  • You would use descriptive language to convey the striking visual elements of each area.

2. A Birthday Party - "The birthday boy cried when we sang to him. He was too young to know what was happening. The cake was too sweet. The sun was hot." Impression: this party was a disaster!

Structure: Since this is an event in time, the best structure would likely be chronological.

  • Your introductory paragraph would build up to the conclusion (your impression) that this party was not a success!
  • Each disastrous event would be described in individual body paragraphs.

3. Making a Cake from Scratch - "I learned what sifting was, and it was messy. Creaming butter and sugar takes time. It’s hard to pick slippery egg shell bits out of flour." We really take box mixes for granted!

Structure: The best structure would be functional.

  • You would build up to the (surprising) complexity of making a cake from scratch.
  • Body paragraphs would address the difficulty you encountered at each turn.

End with a Conclusion

Every essay requires a good conclusion to tie things up and make a tidy and complete package. In your concluding paragraph for a descriptive essay, you should summarize your main points and explain your overall impression or thesis in new words.

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How To Write A Descriptive Essay?

26 April, 2020

11 minutes read

Author:  Tomas White

Descriptive essay is one of the hardest forms of writing. To master descriptive writing, you must be creative and craft a scene that all readers can picture with words alone. This freedom and creativity can make it one of the most rewarding and fun essays to write. It is the backbone of all artful writing like poetry, novels, and even television scripts. We prepared this guide for You to learn all you need to know about descriptive writing. Let's start!

Descriptive Essay

What is a Descriptive Essay?

The goal of a descriptive essay is simple, choose a subject and describe it. The subject could be anything:

The subject of the essay

A descriptive essay is all about describing the subject in great detail. Being a type of expository writing , it gives you great freedom to paint a picture with your words, shares a once in a lifetime event with the reader or makes them feel something.  It is better to choose a descriptive essay topic that has lots of qualities to discuss for example a person might have a more interesting feature to describe than a paper towel. Choose a subject you connect with emotionally or have a personal history with. The best descriptions come from retelling an experience.

The Difference Between Descriptive and Narrative Essays

The main difference between descriptive and narrative essays lies in the structure and purpose of the essay. A descriptive essay is used to describe a subject to present a clear picture of it. As such, it only requires you to describe the item in a logic fashion. A narrative essay’s purpose is to tell a story. As such, it requires a plot and logical progression to an outcome. A person’s face can be the subject of a descriptive essay. But it would be hard to write a narrative piece that follows the person’s face as the central plot of a story.

Showing VS Telling

Show details while describing

A descriptive essay values details over facts. This is also known as showing vs. telling. To  show  something is to describe using the five senses, how it looks, how it smells, how it tastes, how it feels and how it sounds. Imagine the reader as an alien, who has never experienced the subject for themselves. How would you describe it then?

To give you an understanding of how to differentiate between showing and telling I’ll write an example of a descriptive paper that describes my favorite place.

Description sample

The above example tells you, as it doesn’t evoke any of your senses. It is a senseless description . It’s vague and hard to imagine.

Good example of a Descriptive Essay

This description is more detail and easier to imagine because of the following changes:

  • The choice of words like ‘haven’ instead of ‘like’ add a showing element as it is showing in what way I like the library.
  • Putting describers before items like ‘brightly colored’ books makes it easier to see.
  • And choosing words with more like ‘towering’ instead of ‘tall’ makes the description less full.
  • The description of the books shows what they do, not what they are. These are important points to consider when writing a descriptive essay.

A good exercise for descriptive writing and is to read descriptive essay examples and pick out the words that do the four points outlined above. Analyzing other’s descriptive writing will make your own descriptive work stronger. Can you pick out another place in the descriptive essay example above where those four changes occur and what it lends to the description?

Still having problems with your descriptive paper? All you need is to request help from our top-notch essay writing service and our essay writer make it for you !

How to Choose a Descriptive Essay Topic?

When deciding what to highlight about your topic, take a step back and look at what draws you to it. A campfire has bright, flickering colors, a satisfying crackling sound, and a sort of flow as it moves from the bottom to the tip of the flame. Place yourself in proximity to the subject and describe the parts that stimulate your senses the most.

Title Examples of Descriptive Essays

Here are some examples of descriptive essay topics that are fun to write:

Topics for a Descriptive Essay

Pick something you can see right now and think about how you’d describe that.

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How to Set Up a Proper Description?

Slow down and think about what you want to invoke. Don’t rush into a description or you’ll likely end up with something weaker than you could have. Take your topic aside and write some sentences describing how it charms each sense – the five senses being:

Keep a thesaurus on hand to switch some of the more basic words out. If you can read your paragraph back and vividly imagine the item you’ve described, you’ve done it.

How to write a Descriptive Essay Outline

The plan of writing

Starting your descriptive essay without a plan can lead to a messy and sprawling description.  Learning to outline your ideas is just as important as knowing how to write them.

Related Posts: How to write an Essay outline  | How to write an Essay introduction  

 Creating an Introduction for a Descriptive Writing

Once you have chosen the subject to write you need to plan the introduction for your descriptive paper. An introduction needs to include a thesis statement and three features of the thing you are describing.   The introduction should start with a thesis statement that states how you feel about your topic. This should then be supported with three qualities defining those feelings.

Examples of a thesis statement

These thesis statements aren’t meant to be complex. All they’re meant to do is to set up your reader for your descriptions. It is important to include three reasons that you can expand on describe in great detail as they will form the paragraphs of your descriptive paper.

Planning and Writing the Body of a Descriptive Essay

Looking at your thesis statement, take those three reasons and break them down into their own paragraphs. Describe hanging out with your friends at the beach, talk about the food you’d eat, the activities you’d participate in. Detail what huskies do when they’re energetic, what shows that they get along with other dogs?

It helps to write about each way you can describe an item on a separate sheet of paper. Use that sheet as your descriptive essay outline. Take each item and write what sense you can use to describe the item in each paragraph.

For example, if you want to talk about eating a popsicle on the beach you could include how cold against your tongue for touch, that it smelt and tasted like raspberries, it was a bright red, and shaped like a rocket for sight, and the sound you made it as you bit on it, or the sound you made as it rocketed into your mouth. Expand this into a paragraph keeping the most vivid description.

Force your reader to imagine objects

Force your reader to imagine these objects in their head. Help them visualize it, pour your vision into the paper and focus on both the small and the big details. Just don’t go overboard. It’s important to have a few great descriptors rather than a ton of average ones.

When describing an object, go about it in a practical sense. Don’t just throw details on the page, talk about them in order. Describe a mountain from its peak to it’s middle all the way down to its base. You wouldn’t go from the middle to the base to the peak, would you? This way, you’re keeping your reader engaged with the topic.

Concluding a Descriptive Essay

Concluding descriptive writing is easy. All you have to show why the subject you described is important to you. All you have to do is show the reader what you implied. Show why it has meaning, and why they should care.

Descriptive Essay Example

Drafting your essay.

Make sure that your essay responds to these questions

Where the organization comes to fruition. When writing your essay, keep the reader in your head at all times. Constantly as yourself: “Is this vivid enough?” Don’t focus much on grammar, get the content onto the paper.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Once you’ve finished writing your essay, read it back and make sure it responds positively to each of these questions:

  • Are these descriptions making my writing visual? Could I make them more vivid?
  • Have I used these descriptions to detail my emotions to the reader?
  • Do these descriptions convey each of the five senses?
  • Have I gone into enough details in each paragraph?
  • Are my descriptions in an orderly fashion?

If you believe your essay fits these criteria, then you’re good to go on the content side.

Perfecting the Essay

Double check your essay

Read it through a couple more times. Take some time away from it and then come back with a fresh mindset.  Correct any grammar issues you see, and double check that it answers all of the questions mentioned above. Once that’s done, you’ll have an essay worthy of an A+ grade.

From Our Writers: Tips on How to Write a Good Descriptive Essay

  • Be sensitive. Some writers are scared to show their true selves, but the point of a descriptive essay is to talk about how an object affects your senses and emotions. Keep this in mind during all stages of the essay.
  • Put effort into unique descriptions. Don’t settle for standard words, spend some time searching out alternatives to common descriptive words. It will only help the reader envision your thoughts.
  • Write about something that you care about. If you choose something you don’t have much personal experience with, you can’t truly write from the heart.

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Descriptive Essay Writing

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Descriptive Essay: Definition, Tips & Examples

Published on: Jun 21, 2023

Last updated on: Mar 1, 2024

Descriptive Essay

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Many writers struggle to effectively convey vivid imagery and captivate readers through their descriptive essays.

The lack of proper guidance and techniques hinders writers from unlocking the full potential of their descriptive writing skills.

In this comprehensive blog, we aim to provide you with valuable insights, expert tips, and proven techniques to help you master descriptive essays.

We will guide you step-by-step, equipping you with the tools to create compelling and captivating essays.

Get prepared to transform your writing as we delve into the magic of descriptive essays.

Let's get started!

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What is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a type of essay that asks the students to describe something, such as a person, place, incident, emotion, or event. It is a detailed description where the writer is painting a picture in words.

Different people have different thoughts and points of view. A descriptive essay allows you to explain your point of view in your own way. You should give a description of every aspect of the topic so that a reader can feel as if he has personally experienced that.

Two Classic Approaches to the Descriptive Essay

There are two main ways to write a descriptive essay: the personal essay and the formal description. Let’s discuss them in detail.

  • Personal Essay

The best way to describe an experience using your feelings and responses would be through a personal essay. This work can awaken empathy in readers, but it's important not to make any mistakes or organize poorly.

Formal Description

Descriptive writing is a great way to show your readers what you're talking about. It resembles an argumentative essay because it has one main goal: communicating key points or describing something in detail.

Features of Descriptive Essay

There are five basic features of a descriptive essay that distinguishes it from other writing types.  Let's discuss them in detail.

  • Sensory Details - A great descriptive essay appeals to the audience's emotions and forms an association for them. In this essay type, a writer paints a picture with words so they have to be really engaging and appealing to the senses.
  • Central Theme - The content of your descriptive essay is shaped according to the central or major theme. Make sure to define the central theme explicitly and focus it on one single point.
  • Figurative Language - A key to writing an impactful descriptive essay is to use figurative language throughout the content. Use metaphors, similes, adverbs, and adjectives to describe settings and characters.
  • Precise Language - The vocabulary you use for the content should be appropriate and accurate. The language, as well as the tone, should reflect the major theme of the essay vividly.
  • Organization of Ideas - Arrange all your ideas and information in a properly structured manner.  Make sure that your descriptive writing is based on these elements to ensure its effectiveness and success. 

Descriptive Essay Format

All formal writing types, including descriptive papers, require a proper format to be readable and understandable.

Therefore, before starting your essay, you should create an outline of your essay. It will help you organize your essay.

Below is the format of the descriptive essay outline.

Descriptive Essay Outline Template

How to Start a Descriptive Essay?

Writing a strong descriptive essay requires a writer to form a strong plan. Following are the steps involved in the pre-writing or planning procedure of a good descriptive essay:

1. Topic Selection

Usually, professors assign the topic for a descriptive essay. But, if you have a choice to select a topic, then you have a great chance to select something which you know a lot about.

Have a look at some popular descriptive essay topics.

Descriptive Essay Topics On Writing About A Person

  • Describe your favorite person
  • Describe your best friend
  • Describe your favorite family member
  • Describe your enemy
  • Describe someone whom you love the most
  • Describe your mother
  • Describe your father
  • Describe your family
  • Describe your favorite brother
  • Describe a person whom you idealize

Descriptive Essay Topics About an Event

  • Describe your friend’s wedding
  • Describe your college farewell
  • Describe the last Christmas party
  • Describe your brother’s bachelor party
  • Describe your own wedding
  • Describe the memorable concert you have attended
  • Describe your last convocation
  • Describe the best dinner party you have ever attended
  • Describe the event you have attended where you were not invited
  • Describe your last day at the office 

Descriptive Essay Topics About a Place

  • Describe your favorite place
  • Describe the place you have visited in the summer
  • Describe your grandmama’s farmhouse
  • Describe your hometown
  • Describe your favorite college
  • Describe your favorite vacation destination
  • Describe your favorite tourist spot
  • Describe your favorite museum
  • Describe your dream house
  • Describe a fancy place that you have created

2. Brainstorming

The next step is brainstorming about the selected topic. At this point, think of all the relevant points that exactly describe your topic.

3. Thesis Statement for Descriptive Essay

After the brainstorming session, develop a strong thesis statement . It is a very crucial part of the whole essay because it will be a prominent part of the essay.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay?

When you have drafted a plan for your essay, it is time to execute it effectively. The writing process of your essay will only get simpler if you have taken all the required pre-writing steps.

Follow the below-mentioned steps to finally begin your writing procedure for the descriptive essay: 

1. Introduction

An introduction serves as the gateway to your essay, drawing readers into the realm of your ideas. It's the stage where you set the tone and establish the central theme.

Unlike an analytical essay , which dives deep into dissecting and interpreting information, a descriptive essay paints a vivid picture, immersing readers in sensory experiences and intricate details.

In the descriptive essay introduction, we aim to pique curiosity, perhaps by posing a thought-provoking question or igniting a spark of intrigue that beckons readers to journey further into the narrative woven within these pages.

The body part gives you the freedom to write the details about your selected topic. Here you have 3 to 4 paragraphs where you can paint a picture in the reader’s mind through vivid language, persuading dialogues, or images.

This part should support your thesis. Describe all the points in detail. The idea should come out at the beginning.

The paragraphs should be interlinked with good transition words . Organize your paragraphs in a way that makes sense.

3. Conclusion

It is the last chance to impress the reader. So, you need to pay all attention to this section. Restate your thesis statement and give a short reminder to the reader what the essay was required to cover. Make a good final statement so that the reader can leave thinking about your essay.

4. Proofreading

Proofread your essay to do a review. You can identify the mistakes and correct your tone.  Go through your essay 2 or 3 times so that you can identify all the mistakes and correct them before final submission.

Descriptive Essay Examples

Given below is a visual demonstration of how a descriptive essay typically looks!

descriptive essay writing structure and techniques

If you’re still struggling, check out some more descriptive essay examples given below!

Descriptive Essay Example About a Person

Descriptive Essay Example About an Event

Descriptive Essay Example About a Place

For further information, check out this informative video below.

In conclusion, mastering the art of descriptive essays is within your reach.

By implementing the expert techniques and tips shared in this blog, you can elevate your writing to new heights.

Remember to practice and refine your skills, allowing your creativity to flourish.

At CollegeEssay.org, we understand the importance of strong writing skills for academic success.

Our team of experienced writers is here to provide professional assistance. Whether it's your high school or narrative essay, we have got you covered!

Hire our essay help for students today to achieve your academic goals. Don't forget to try our AI writing tool for exceptional essays!

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

What are the 4 elements of descriptive writing.

The four elements of descriptive writing are:

What are the 2 types of description?

The two types of description are:

  • Impressionistic

How many paragraphs is a descriptive essay?

The five-paragraph essay is a classic format that has been used for a descriptive essay. This format includes an introductory paragraph with the inclusion of a thesis statement, followed by three body paragraphs and a conclusion.

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descriptive essay writing structure and techniques

Best Descriptive Essays: Examples & How-to Guide [+ Tips]

A descriptive essay is an academic paper that challenges a school or college student to describe something. It can be a person, a place, an object, a situation—anything an individual can depict in writing. The task is to show your abilities to communicate an experience in an essay format using vivid, illustrative language.

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To understand how to write this paper, you’ll need to study some descriptive essay examples for college. Besides, you need to contemplate these aspects:

  • how someone or somewhere looks;
  • what happens with the person or place;
  • what historical record you can add, if at all possible.

Our team has prepared this guide so that you’ll manage to write a famous descriptive essay. Learn how to outline your paper, nail the structure and the thesis statement. See the tips and explanations below, along with descriptive essay samples.

  • 🖌️ Why Descriptive?

Research & Prepare

Outline your essay, write descriptively, revise & polish.

  • 🖼️ Essay Examples

🖌️ What Makes an Essay Descriptive?

It’s time to make clear what we mean by a descriptive essay . For example, let’s suppose we were asked to write about a sports stadium. Here are two introductions we might come up with:

Example 1: A stadium is a place where sports, concerts, or other events take place. Usually, there will be a field or a stage, which most often will be surrounded completely or partially by a structure where spectators can sit or stand to watch.

Example 2: American sports nuts got what was probably their first sight of Twickenham rugby stadium when the Rugby World Cup Final was played there in 2015. Rugby has been played at Whitton Road in Twickenham since 1907, and the first international match took place three years later in 1910; when no game was scheduled, horses grazed the pitch. What is now the shining steel and glass double-decker West Stand was still, in the 1960s, a car park. Currently one of the world’s most state-of-the-art grounds, Twickenham holds 82,000 people, and it’s no longer horses when rugby is not being played but world-famous bands like U2, The Rolling Stones, and Bon Jovi who fill the place.

The first introduction is excellent for analytical essays as it’s a definition of what a sports stadium is. The second one depicts a specific stadium, and that – that act of describing – is what makes it descriptive.

Virginia Woolf quote.

When you’re writing a descriptive essay, it’s the style of the second example and not the first that you should be striving for. Try to use living, vivid language to draw a picture in words of whatever it is you’re writing about.

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🎨 How to Write Good Descriptive Essays

When you’re writing a paper, the standard advice would be:

  • Say what you’re going to tell your reader.
  • Say what you’ve told your reader.

The same fundamental structure applies to a descriptive essay. Yet, there are numerous nuances that you should keep in mind to produce an outstanding paper. In the following sections, we’ll elaborate on them in detail.

So, you are ready to write your excellent descriptive essay, but you don’t know how to start? Don’t be lost. While writing any kind of paper, start with the research and preparation. Take a look at our tips!

  • Consider the topic that you’re working with. Whether it’s assigned or picked by you, make sure you understand it completely. Make sure that it’s a descriptive essay that you’re supposed to write.
  • Have a brainstorming session. Jot down some notes on what you think about the matter. Some of them will be useless, but it’s okay: among all the ideas, you’ll find something useful for your paper.
  • Do some research. Find out what other people think about the place or event, if possible. Make notes about essential historical facts and people’s opinions.
  • Add details. A good descriptive essay should be full of specifics. So, include background information, dates, names, physical characteristics, etc. This trick will help the reader to dive deep into the story and get the idea better.
  • Are you going to go with your perspective?
  • Are you going to go with other people’s opinions?
  • Would the best result for this particular essay come from weighing the options? (So, you’d write, “Some people think this and some people believe in that ).

After all these steps, you’ll have enough material to create your descriptive essay structure.

When you have enough facts and memories, you can move on to the next step – outlining. We highly recommend you create an outline before you start writing an essay. It will help you to structure your ideas logically and coherently.

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Your essay outline should include the following elements:

  • Introduction . A good introduction should be catchy and concise. Start with the hook—an attention-grabbing element (rhetorical question, joke, statistics, etc.). Then, provide the general background and highlight the issues your essay will cover. End your intro with a clear thesis statement—a sentence that reflects your position.
  • Body paragraphs . Each body paragraph should contain only one idea and start from the topic sentence, so the reader knows what to focus on. Make your body paragraphs full of details and specific examples. Don’t be too general because you risk losing the reader’s attention very fast.
  • Conclusion . Wrap up your essay by restating the main points and summarizing your key ideas. Don’t include any new facts in the last paragraph. If you suspect that you miss an essential argument, better add it in the body.

Besides having a good structure, the best descriptive essay should be composed of strong and dynamic words. In this section, we will explain how to make your paper illustrative and memorable.

To make your writing descriptive , try the following:

  • Choose your POV.

Decide who is the narrator of your story and filter the vocabulary through the narrator’s perspective. For example, you are describing your memories of childhood. Thus, your character is a child. Think how the kid’s perception of the world differs from reality and try to convey the feelings using appropriate words. Note that you can still write in the third person.

  • Rely on precise words.

Avoid too abstract terms and general words. Instead, use dynamic vocabulary that precisely conveys your feelings. For example, you might write, “I felt bad.” Let’s make it more specific! How about writing, “I felt exhausted/ horrified/ anxious/ sick/ stressed, etc.”?

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  • Use figures of speech.

Don’t forget about the wide variety of literary devices! Use comparisons, metaphors, onomatopoeia, or exaggeration. You might say, “my girlfriend has beautiful eyes.” But Shakspeare would say. “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” ( Sonnet, 130 ). Strive to be this creative!

  • Keep connotations and variations in mind.

Use the richness of the language to improve your creative writing skills. English is full of synonyms and various grammar structures. Take the maximum benefit from them. BUT! Avoid using the word if you are unsure about its meaning.

  • Compare and contrast.

Nothing can help to describe things better than comparison. So, deepen your sentences by examining the contrast and similarities between the objects or emotions.

  • Implement sensory details.

Do you remember the five basic human senses? They are sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Rather than just telling the story, try to appeal to the reader’s five senses. This trick will help you to make the audience more engaged in your narrative.

How to describe your experience.

When you reach the end, you haven’t finished. What you’ve done is to create the first version of your descriptive essay. Professional writers know how vital the first draft is because it isn’t possible to edit a blank page.

To revise and polish your text, follow these steps:

  • Check the structure. Your essay has to contain all the fundamental parts (introduction, main body, conclusion). Also, make sure that there are transitions between the key points and topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph.
  • Check the balance. All the essay parts should be approximate of the same significance. Keep in mind that each point should have the same number of details and arguments.
  • Make sure you explored all the points. Read your introduction, paying extra attention to the thesis statement. Then, look through the entire essay and check whether you discussed every aspect you introduced in the first paragraph.
  • Examine your information. Every piece of data and detail has to be valid. Make sure your arguments are logical, and your examples are appropriate. If something seems weak, rewrite it or consider cutting that part down.
  • Polish your conclusion. The last paragraph of your essay should correspond to the introduction. Moreover, it should summarize your points and make a final impression on the reader. Make your conclusion memorable and dynamic.

You may go through this revision and rewriting process several times. Or you may become so skilled at writing descriptive essays that you’re good to go after the first revision.

🖼️ Famous Descriptive Essay Examples

Now that we’ve discussed how to write a descriptive essay, we should tell you the last crucial tip. Your chances of composing a perfect paper are low when you don’t check the samples first.

Here, you can find specific descriptive essay examples in these guides:

  • Coral Reef Essay :

Do you admire wildlife? Are you fascinated by the divine beauty of the sea and ocean creatures? If you have a task to write about nature, or you can choose the topic yourself, think about composing a descriptive essay about coral reefs!

  • Harriet Tubman Essay :

Do you need to talk about an outstanding historical figure? Or you need to compose a descriptive essay about a person? Choose an American political activist Harriet Tubman. Her biography and achievements won’t leave you indifferent!

  • Americanism Essay :

Americanism is one of the most common paper topics for college students in the U.S. Has your instructor gave you the assignment to write about the USA identity? Compose a descriptive essay on Americanism!

  • Halloween Essay :

Everybody loves holidays! And the teachers like to give the tasks to write about them. If you are wondering what celebration to select, consider choosing Halloween. It offers a bunch of traditions to describe.

Descriptive Essay Topics

  • Description of punk culture .
  • The beauty of Dresden .
  • Give a description of Sweetbay Magnolia ornamental tree.
  • Memorable design of Apple Company’s logo .
  • Representation of emotions while viewing art or nature .
  • Describe the Paricutín volcano .
  • Give a description of Diana Krall’s concert at Jazz Festival in San Sebastián .
  • Compare the interior and exterior of the Palatine Chapel and St. Michael’s Chapel .
  • Discuss the design principles and visual elements of the Baptistery of San Giovanni’s south doors .
  • The unusual style of the Graduate House of the University of Toronto .
  • The description of the Jewish religious service.
  • The magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia .
  • The overview of my dream car .
  • Discuss the design of Britam Tower in Nairobi .
  • An exceptional scenery of the Lake Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Description and analysis of the film The Joker .
  • The day I was buying a laptop .
  • Give a description of main types of friendship .
  • Main holidays in Pakistan and how they are celebrated.
  • The historical atmosphere of Ellis Island .
  • The unique culture of Cook Island inhabitants.
  • Describe the impressions of the picture .
  • Describe traditions and culture of the Kootenai Indians .
  • What does my dream home look like?
  • Discuss the visual elements of Lady Sennuwy statue .
  • Balinese wedding ceremonies and traditions.
  • Recount your first day at college .
  • Describe and analyze Susan Anthony’s life and achievements .
  • The unique beauty of the Amazon rainforest .
  • The important elements of the Haitian flag .
  • Values and specifics of Brazilian culture .
  • The magnificence of Shark Valley .
  • Describe the activities and personality of Eleanor Roosevelt .
  • Describe the writing process .
  • The peculiarities of a tapa and it’s role in cultural ceremonies.
  • Give the description of the statue of Osiris-Antinous .
  • Discuss the Ways of Christmas Sweater Day celebration.
  • What impresses you the most in Cézanne’s art .
  • Description of Atlantis Paradise Island site .
  • Describe the peculiarities of your favorite music .
  • Analyze the characteristics of contemporary design in Evolution Queen Wall Bed .
  • Movements, symbolism, and transformation of the Chinese Dragon Dance and Lion Dance .
  • Describe the falling in love process.
  • Narrate about your first try to ride a bicycle .
  • Representation of the ancient Greek design: the marble column from the Temple of Artemis at Sardis .
  • Discuss the thematic elements of Indian Fire God painting by Frederic Remington .
  • The personality and art of Tracey Emin .
  • Describe the history of PayPal company .
  • Describe the features and historical meaning of the Column of Trajan .
  • Overview of the painting Toy Pieta by Scott Avett.

In case these ideas aren’t for you, you can find more descriptive essay topics on our website.

Thanks for visiting our page! Share it with your friends and explore the other articles on our website. We have more useful information for you.

🔗 References

  • Descriptive Writing, Organization and Structure: Writing Center, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Examples of How to Write a Good Descriptive Paragraph: Richard Nordquist, ThoughtCo
  • How Can I Write More Descriptively: Sweetland Center for Writing, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the University of Michigan
  • Revising the Draft: Laura Saltz, the Writing Center at Harvard University
  • Descriptive Essays: Purdue Writing Lab, College of Liberal Arts, Purdue University
  • Paragraph Development, Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Research Guides at the University of Southern California
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  1. What is Descriptive Writing and How to Write a Descriptive Essay?

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  2. How to Write a Descriptive Essay

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  3. FREE 9+ Descriptive Essay Examples in PDF

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  6. 🎉 How to descriptive essay. How to Write a Descriptive Essay: 14 Steps

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Descriptive Essay

    Descriptive essay example. 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.

  2. How to Write a Descriptive Essay

    This will then guide the drafting process, making sure your essay has a clear structure. 2. Use Vivid, Sensory Language. A descriptive essay should paint a picture for your reader. And this means you need to use vivid, exciting language rather than a formal, academic tone. Ideas for making your essay more linguistically engaging include:

  3. Descriptive Essay Writing: Structure and Techniques

    Whether you call it a Descriptive Essay or an Essay of Description, your goal is to establish a "Dominant Impression" as the controlling idea of your essay, ...

  4. Descriptive Essay

    When writing a descriptive essay about a person or place, adding their personal traits will be helpful. Some examples of descriptive essay topics include: Compose a detailed descriptive essay about your best friend. Describe a fancy place that you have created. Describe your dream vacation destination.

  5. Guide to a Perfect Descriptive Essay [Examples & Outline Included]

    Descriptive essay structure. Since descriptive essays are highly creative in nature, the descriptive essay structure is much more fluid as compared to most academic essay types. ... If you find the essay writing process challenging, we're here to equip you with essential tips on writing a descriptive essay. Let's take a look at how to write ...

  6. How to Write a Descriptive Essay in 7 Steps

    3. Make an outline. Your descriptive writing must be organized. Group your main points into individual body paragraphs, each of which should be a subcategory of your essay's main topic. 4. Write the introductory paragraph. A good introductory paragraph can be a road map for your entire essay.

  7. Ultimate Guide To Writing A Descriptive Essay

    Choosing a good topic is essential to writing a successful descriptive essay. Here are some tips to help you choose a topic: 1. Importance of selecting a good topic: A good topic is one that is interesting, relevant, and meaningful to you as a writer. It should also be a topic that you feel confident writing about. 2.

  8. Descriptive Essays

    A descriptive essay is a form of writing that employs vivid language and sensory details to create a vivid picture or experience for the reader. Unlike other types of essays that may focus on analyzing, persuading, or narrating, the primary goal of this type of an essay is to paint a compelling and detailed picture in the reader's mind.

  9. Descriptive Essays

    What is a descriptive essay? The descriptive essay is a genre of essay that asks the student to describe something—object, person, place, experience, emotion, situation, etc. This genre encourages the student's ability to create a written account of a particular experience. What is more, this genre allows for a great deal of artistic ...

  10. What is a Descriptive Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

    A descriptive essay's primary goal is to captivate the reader by writing a thorough and vivid explanation of the subject matter, while appealing to their various senses. A list of additional goals is as follows: - Spark feeling and imagination. - Create a vivid experience. - Paint a mental picture. - Pique curiosity.

  11. How to Write a Descriptive Essay: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    Once you have chosen your topic, draw five columns on a piece of paper or a word document on your computer. Then, label each column for the five senses, "touch," "sight," "sound," "taste," and "smell.". Write down as many details you can think of for the topic based on each sense.

  12. How to Write a Descriptive Essay

    A descriptive essay is a type of academic writing that asks the writer to fully describe a place, person, situation, event, or thing. They can be simple or they can be very complex depending on the subject matter and audience written for. These types of essays train a writer's ability to express themselves accurately as well as build ...

  13. Descriptive Essay Writing: Definition, Structure & Examples

    A descriptive essay is a form of writing that seeks to vividly depict a person, place, object, event, emotion or experience. By incorporating sensory details encompassing sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch, it paints a vivid image within the reader's imagination. The primary objective of a descriptive writing is to evoke emotions ...

  14. Structure of a Descriptive Essay

    Structure of a Descriptive Essay. The descriptive essay can be arranged in one of many organization patterns, and you will soon find that one style is best for your particular topic. Some effective organization patterns for a descriptive essay are spatial, which is best used when you are describing a location; chronological organization, which ...

  15. Descriptive Essay: Topics, Outline and Writing Tips

    Descriptive essay is one of the hardest forms of writing. To master descriptive writing, you must be creative and craft a scene that all readers can picture with words alone. This freedom and creativity can make it one of the most rewarding and fun essays to write. It is the backbone of all artful writing like poetry, novels, and even ...

  16. Descriptive Essay

    Discover a typical descriptive essay format, explore tips for writing a descriptive essay, and see descriptive essay examples. Updated: 11/21/2023 ... How to Structure an Argument in Your Essay;

  17. How to Write Descriptive Sentences

    Adjectives like these are unnecessary and can bog down your writing. Simply cut those descriptive words out of the sentence. "The sky was dotted with clouds" conjures the exact same image and is shorter and more focused. 2. Use surprising words. Once your sentences are free of any obvious descriptive details, you have the space to pepper in ...

  18. How to Write a Descriptive Essay

    Following are the steps involved in the pre-writing or planning procedure of a good descriptive essay: 1. Topic Selection. Usually, professors assign the topic for a descriptive essay. But, if you have a choice to select a topic, then you have a great chance to select something which you know a lot about.

  19. What Is a Descriptive Essay? Examples and Guide

    A descriptive essay is a type of essay that involves describing a person, object, or any type of noun. ... General Format and Structure of a Descriptive Essay. ... but you will absolutely have more interesting and insightful descriptions than us. However, if you need some tips for writing descriptive essays, we can give you a descriptive essay ...

  20. Best Descriptive Essays: Examples & How-to Guide [+ Tips]

    Here are two introductions we might come up with: Example: Example 1: A stadium is a place where sports, concerts, or other events take place. Usually, there will be a field or a stage, which most often will be surrounded completely or partially by a structure where spectators can sit or stand to watch. Example:

  21. Descriptive Writing: How to Get Full Marks

    Below is a suggested step-by-step structure for a piece of descriptive writing, including the techniques to use during each of the six steps: Stage. Details of descriptive writing structure. Step 1. Panoramic. Broadly describe the scene; Introduce the time and atmosphere; Step 2. Zoom.

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    Step 2. Crafting a thesis statement. When you think about how to start an evaluation essay, begin with completing a thesis statement. It serves as the backbone of your text, articulating the overarching purpose of the analysis. Within this statement, clearly outline the criteria used to assess the item and establish its value.