Descriptive essay

How to write a descriptive essay.

descriptive essayIntroductory section

  • It is easy to guess that descriptive means a description of someone or something. It is also called expressive essay
  • A descriptive essay stands for a description in a written form. As for the topics, they vary.
  • Anything may be a subject.
  • An outline would not go amiss to organize a descriptive essay and work on it gradually. As a rule, schoolchildren make it look like five paragraph essay. Students at colleges and above are freer at composition and structure.

 Body part

  • When it comes to how to write a descriptive essay, start with a theme selection.
  • To be able to describe, one should be able to observe first. For example, if it is going to be a person, take a good look at this person, have a talk, find out of what type of character this person is along with a description of the appearance.
  • Avoid jumping up and down while describing, meaning that it would not look good if telling about appearance all of a sudden traits of character pop in and then going back to the appearance again.
  • A descriptive essay is about painting some kind of a picture for a reader by means of the author`s senses and descriptive devices.

  • Just a simple description has to have a purpose too.
  • A message an author wants to convey is a thesis statement, which is to emphasize something important about the subject of a descriptive essay as if introducing a reader to the subject.
  • The details one is going to use to describe the subject should be dominant to support the thesis statement.
  • Structure the paragraphs either in a chronological order, ascending or descending order.
  • It goes without saying, that a descriptive essay can be narrative and it can be exemplificative. Narrative descriptive essay tells some story. It normally begins with some general information describing the setting and the major character who is also called a hero or protagonist. Some authors skip this section putting those moments in while the main action is going on. Then the climax goes. Then, the falling action closes up all the open points showing the major character under different conditions, which were created by the resolution. Exemplificative (illustrative) descriptive essay is about giving many examples along the story to explain, show, and/or prove the thesis of the essay. It has an introduction, body paragraphs in which examples are given and conclusion.
  • Do not hesitate using vivid descriptive words. It is of vital importance that the description should be vivid because describing colorfully, but not rigorously, is the key to capturing a reader`s attention. For example, My day was OK. Alternatively, My day was quite eventful, filled in with both gladness and joyfulness along with sadness and tears.
  • Sensory details such as smells, sights, sounds, touches, tastes are more than welcome to provide with in a descriptive essay. This is actually, what is required.
  • Use adjectives also while describing. The more are used, the better. For example, “A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen.” – J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
  • Just like using descriptive verbs is welcome. For example, instead of She listened to him because she liked him very much say it as She hanged on every word he said because she adored him unconditionally.
  • Start every paragraph of the body part with a topic sentence, which represents what the paragraph is going to tell about. Do not put too much information into one paragraph. Just what reveals every new aspect of the subject described.

descriptiveessayIn conclusion

  • Feel free to use descriptive words in conclusion section too. Just make sure it is relevant and made in a cohesive way. As usual, a conclusion stands for summarizing of all the above.
  • Do not forget about the thesis of the essay. To make it memorable for a reader, try to write a concise but up to the point conclusion.
  • Make sure the conclusion answers the questions why the description was written, how it is significant to the author and the reader, whether the purpose was achieved.
  • The conclusion is the confirmation in the mind of the reader of what has already been shown through the essay by means of chosen sensory pieces.
  • Avoid what might be a new information in the conclusion.

 In addition

A figurative speech is applicable while writing a descriptive essay to make it more forceful and visually get-a-able for a reader. Look through the list of the most commonly used stylistic devices below:

  • Simile, which is a usage of words “like” and “as” in comparison sentences. For instance, “They (bubbles) like my dreams, they fade and die”;
  • Metaphor, which is a usage of words combining essentially different ones. For example, She was lost in her train of thoughts;
  • Personification, which is a usage of words characterizing non-life objects with features humans usually have. For example, “The sunset was just asking to be painted”;
  • Hyperbole (overstatement) is about exaggeration to make the effect stronger. For example, I was so hungry, I could eat a horse;
  • Understatement means something what was not expected or less expected. For example, She was looking quite alright (about someone who actually was looking spectacular);
  • Sound words or onomatopoeia means putting the sounds into words. For example, A little boy was upset, sniff-sniff sounded from the corner of the room where he was sitting;
  • Symbol means using words to describe something abstract. For example, A flower is a symbol of beauty.


descriptiveessayThe finishing touches

  • Proofreading for punctuation, grammar and spelling errors is highly important.
  • Avoid using clichés.
  • It would be useful to give somebody to take a fresh look at the essay too.
  • The paragraphs should not confuse but contain a description.
  • The figurative speech along with the choice of words should involve all the five senses.
  • Make sure there are enough details given to create a picture, which would be complete and which would suit the purpose of the essay and a conclusion, which would convey a summarized meaning of the description given in the essay.
  • Add a dialogue. It might keep a reader`s interest going.

The greatness of descriptive essays is about their ability to introduce readers to people they have never met in their lives, to make them feel as if they visited places they have never been to before, to experience things they have never faced with. Enjoy the road, new acquaintances and impressions!