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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.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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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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Descriptive Essay

Definition of descriptive essay.

A descriptive essay , as the name implies, is a form of essay that describes something. In this genre , students are assigned the task of describing objects, things, places, experiences, persons, and situations. The students use sensory information to enable readers to use their five senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight to understand the topic of the essay.

Qualities of a Descriptive Essay

  • Clear and Concise
  • Use of Images
  • Use of Five Senses

As far as clear and concise language is concerned, it is necessary to describe things precisely. Imagery is used to make things seem real and remarkable. The use of the five senses creates the imagery, or a mental picture, for each reader.

Difference Between a Description and a Descriptive Essay

A description could be just a paragraph, or it could be longer, as needed to fully describe the thing. However, a descriptive essay has five paragraphs. It is written in a coherent way with a good thesis statement at the end of the introduction , three body paragraphs , and a conclusion .

Examples of Descriptive Essays in Literature

Example #1:  the corner store (by eudora welty).

“Our Little Store rose right up from the sidewalk; standing in a street of family houses, it alone hadn’t any yard in front, any tree or flower bed. It was a plain frame building covered over with brick. Above the door, a little railed porch ran across on an upstairs level and four windows with shades were looking out. But I didn’t catch on to those. Running in out of the sun, you met what seemed total obscurity inside. There were almost tangible smells — licorice recently sucked in a child’s cheek, dill pickle brine1 that had leaked through a paper sack in a fresh trail across the wooden floor, ammonia-loaded ice that had been hoisted from wet croker sacks and slammed into the icebox with its sweet butter at the door, and perhaps the smell of still untrapped mice.”

This description of the “Little Store” is not only clear and concise, but also has images and sensory information about the store building.

Example #2: And the Orchestra Played On (by Joanne Lipman)

“The hinges creaked when I opened the decrepit case. I was greeted by a cascade of loose horsehair — my bow a victim of mites, the repairman later explained. It was pure agony to twist my fingers into position. But to my astonishment and that of my teenage children — who had never heard me play — I could still manage a sound. “It turned out, a few days later, that there were 100 people just like me. When I showed up at a local school for rehearsal, there they were: five decades worth of former students. There were doctors and accountants, engineers and college professors. There were people who hadn’t played in decades, sitting alongside professionals like Mr. K.’s daughter Melanie, now a violinist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. There were generations of music teachers.”

In the first paragraph of this descriptive excerpt, the author clearly describes the decrepit nature of the violin case, as well as the damage time has done to the bow. The second paragraph is a description of the characters , and their similarities.  Both use sensory information for effective descriptions.

Example #3: Yarn (by Koyoko Mori)

“The yellow mittens I made in seventh-grade home economics proved that I dreamed in color. For the unit on knitting, we were 1 supposed to turn in a pair of mittens. The two hands had to be precisely the same size so that when we held them together, palm to palm, no extra stitches would stick out from the thumb, the tip of the fingers, or the cuff. Somewhere between making the fourth and the fifth mitten to fulfill this requirement, I dreamed that the ball of yellow yarn in my bag had turned green. Chartreuse, leaf, Granny Smith, lime, neon, acid green. The brightness was electric. I woke up knowing that I was, once again, doomed for a D in home ec.”

See the use of colors in this paragraph by Koyoko Mori. This is called “pure description,” in that the description appeals to the senses. The use of word “brightness” in the last line is striking one.

Example #4: The Taj Mahal (by Salman Rushdie)

“And this, finally, is why the Taj Mahal must be seen: to remind us that the world is real, that the sound is truer than the echo, the original more forceful than its image in a mirror. The beauty of beautiful things is still able, in these image-saturated times, to transcend imitations. And the Taj Mahal is, beyond the power of words to say it, a lovely thing, perhaps the loveliest of things.”

Check this short description of the Taj Mahal by Salman Rushdie. This description presents a different picture of the Taj Mahal.

Function of Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay presents a person, place, or thing, in a way that readers feel as if it is in front of their eyes, or that they are tasting it, or that they can hear it, or that they can smell it. Writers use sensory information to describe object . The object of the writer is to present a picture of something as honestly as he can.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Descriptive Essays

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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.

definition descriptive essay

  • 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

definition descriptive essay

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

definition descriptive essay


  • 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.


  • 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

How to Write a Descriptive Essay

definition descriptive essay

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/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. 

  • 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. 

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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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How to Write a Descriptive Essay: Full Guide With Tips

definition descriptive essay

In this article, we examine the descriptive essay and present a step-by-step writing guide. Stick around for helpful writing tips near the end! Also, check out custom writers at our descriptive essay writing service , if you need private tutoring or essay editing.

What is a Descriptive Essay?

The definition of a descriptive essay is a type of composition or paper which describes an object, person, process, or event. The writer’s goal is to create a vivid reading experience, or to show instead of tell (metaphorically).

Descriptive writing usually appeals to the five senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. (Ex: Jack’s coffee mug exploded into tiny shards of glass, catching the attention of everyone at the office.) Always appealing to the senses is key to writing a good descriptive essay.

When writing a descriptive essay, your goal will be to paint a comprehensive picture for the reader by appealing to the five senses. Last but not least, your work should have a purpose. It could be anything from a lesson you learned from an experience, to a story of how an object impacted your life. It’s all about making your bright ideas come to life.

Difference Between a Description and a Descriptive Essay

When writing this type of paper, you should know the difference between a description and a descriptive essay. A description can be just a simple paragraph, or several ones with no specific structure, meanwhile, a descriptive essay has five or more paragraphs and a clear and complete structure. A descriptive essay is usually written coherently, has a good thesis statement at the end of the introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A description however, does not necessarily have a structure. Its main purpose is to just describe an object, or something else, without having any extra academic layers.

The Issues that Could be Described in Your Paper

  • A person. In this paper, you can talk about a person. It can range from simply writing about their appearance to more complex descriptions like actions, behaviours, mood, and qualities of your chosen individual.
  • A place. The main thing you should do when describing a place in your work is to describe it interestingly and originally. Your reader(s) should feel, for example, the beauty of your chosen cities—perhaps New York or Rome.
  • An event. Here you need to describe the story of what happened. It can be your last vacation, concert, wedding, anniversary, summer music festival, graduation day, or so on.
  • An animal. In this type, you need to describe the animal. It may be its appearance, behaviour, or biology.
  • An occupation. Here you need to write about a job or occupation.
  • A behaviour. This is the type of descriptive writing you should go for if you would like to write about someone’s behaviour. Perhaps you want to describe the strange behaviour of your friend, or highlight how certain people act under different conditions.

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Two Classic Approaches to the Descriptive Essay

Two Classic Approaches to the Descriptive Essay

1. Personal Essay

Here you need to describe an experience using your feelings and responses. This work can awake empathy in readers. It can also be vague and disorganized. If you want to write a good personal essay, you should try to focus only on those aspects that most fully express your experience. Do not shy away from vivid, evocative language in this type of assignment.

A few examples of personal essay topics might be:

  • Describing the experience of swimming in the azure sea in summer
  • Explaining your favourite movie and its impact on you
  • Reflecting on your birthday and all the things that have shaped you in the past

2. Formal Description

This type of descriptive writing resembles an argumentative essay. Your main goal should be communicating a set of key points or describing something in detail—according to a clear structure. Rather than focusing on your own experience, you need to use specific categories of information to provide the fullest possible portrait of what you are describing. This approach can also be engaging, especially when the reader is more curious about the subject of the paper than the writer's response to it. Still, try not to make it dull with too formal language.

Topics for formal descriptions can include:

  • A descriptive essay about climate change, politics, or historical events.
  • A news story that provides a summary of an event or information about the place where it occurred.

Descriptive Essay Topics & Ideas

Finding descriptive essay topics isn’t hard. You can describe pretty much anything—from your favourite car to today’s weather. We’ve gathered some ideas to help you get started. Hopefully, you’ll find good descriptive essay topics to spark your imagination.

Descriptive Essay

Descriptive Essay Topics: People

Exploring the essence of individuals through this type of writing can be both engaging and insightful. Here are ten distinctive essay topics centered on people that go beyond the ordinary:

  • The Eccentric Street Performer Who Danced with Shadows
  • A Glimpse into the Daily Routine of a Lighthouse Keeper
  • The Mysterious Antique Shop Owner: Guardian of Forgotten Tales
  • A Day in the Life of a Vintage Jazz Club's Bartender
  • The Tattooed Wanderer: Stories Etched in Ink
  • A Conversation with the Urban Gardener Transforming Cityscapes
  • Portrait of a Silent Mime Artist: Communicating Without Words
  • A Chef's Culinary Odyssey: Exploring Flavor on a Plate
  • The Whimsical World of a Puppeteer: Strings of Imagination
  • Life Beneath the Spotlight: A Theatrical Makeup Artist's Secrets

Descriptive Essay Topics: Place

Places possess a unique ability to evoke emotions and tell their own stories through descriptive writing. To transport your readers to captivating destinations, consider these ten distinct topics, each offering a glimpse into a one-of-a-kind locale:

  • The Forgotten Underground Catacombs: A Subterranean Labyrinth of Secrets
  • Serenity by the Secluded Cliffside Cottage: Echoes of Solitude
  • A Day in the Life of an Abandoned Amusement Park: Whispers of Laughter
  • The Enchanted Forest: A Realm of Ancient Mysteries
  • A Fishing Village Frozen in Time: Life on the Shores of Nostalgia
  • The Rooftop Gardens of Babylon: Urban Oases in the Sky
  • The Hidden Café of Lost Conversations: Where Coffee and Stories Brew
  • A Night at the Desert Oasis: Starlit Mirages and Mirage Stars
  • The Echoing Halls of the Sunken Ship: A Submerged Voyage into History
  • The Neon Glow of the Midnight Arcade: Dreams Illuminated in Pixels

Descriptive Essay Topics: Memories

Memories offer a rich tapestry of experiences waiting to be woven into your descriptive essays. Dive into the realms of nostalgia and introspection with these topics, each drawing upon the power of recollection:

  • The Unfading Echoes of Childhood Hideouts: Adventures in the Past
  • A Forgotten Diary's Pages: Secrets of Lost Sentiments
  • The Last Summer Before College: Sunsets of Transition
  • The Old Family Recipe Book: Savoring Generations in Every Dish
  • Ghosts of Prom Nights Past: The Dance of Teenage Dreams
  • The Antique Music Box: Tunes That Unravel Time's Veil
  • Letters from the Front Lines: Ink-Stained Testaments of Courage
  • The Forgotten Album of Polaroids: Snapshots of Precious Moments
  • Ancestral Attic Treasures: Relics of Heritage and Identity
  • The Whispers of a Childhood Blanket: Comfort Woven in Threads

Creating a Descriptive Essay Outline

When thinking about writing a descriptive essay, remember that a structured paper outline is your golden ticket. Not only does it help you organize thoughts, but it will also help your essays flow better.

A descriptive essay outline is composed of the following:

  • An introduction
  • Hook sentence
  • Context/Background information
  • Thesis statement
  • Body paragraphs
  • Topic sentence
  • Sensory details
  • Actual details
  • A conclusion
  • Summary of all main points
  • Clincher Statement

It is important to spend enough time considering the victim of description because all of your illustrations will be based around it.

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The introduction serves to introduce your subject to the reader and give them enough context to fully understand your work—but keep it brief and interesting for the reader(s). When learning how to write a descriptive essay introduction, remember – the first paragraph of your paper is the part that can make your descriptive essay stand out from the others.

As with any college paper, a descriptive essay introduction must contain the following points:

  • Hook Sentence: Although the entire paper should be full of exciting and vivid descriptions, grabbing the reader's attention from the very beginning is ideal.
  • Context/Background Information: Tell the reader what you’re about to describe and explain why it is crucial to you. Give them a brief context for your paper.
  • Thesis Statement: The descriptive essay thesis should be a short yet concise summary of the work. It must include the subject of your description, and your purpose for describing it.

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

Place. If you were to write about Buckingham Palace: “Even though the monarchy is long gone, Buckingham Palace serves to remind us of the aesthetic beauty which that era had built.” Person. For describing Spider-Man: “The defining characteristics of Spider-Man are his youthfulness, New York City, and the fact that he talks to himself more than Hamlet.” Emotion. A piece about a personal experience of fear: “For many reasons, the dark forest is my greatest fear, though not a fear which I would necessarily like to venture into.”

Body Paragraph(s)

There are usually three body paragraphs in a paper. They cover three different points or arguments. How many body paragraphs to include in your descriptive essay is entirely up to you—or your professor. Sometimes it only takes a paragraph to tell a story, while other times it takes books.

How to write a body paragraph:

  • Start with a topic sentence. ex. The orange looks familiar; it is a round citrus fruit whose colour matches its name.
  • Add sensory details. When describing the orange, appeal to relatable senses.
  • Include actual details. Always include descriptive information within your body paragraphs. Finish a body paragraph by introducing the next. Transition sentences are essential because they create immersion within your writing. Your writing will become better and it won’t appear as if you are reading a list of facts.

The descriptive essay is one type of 5 paragraph essay , which is the most common type of essay a student may encounter.

According to the descriptive essay format, your conclusion should be a summary of all of the main points in the body text. It is a good idea to write a final sentence that relates to the main point of your paper. Once this is done, the paper is now complete. We advise that you proofread your descriptive essay to correct any grammatical errors.

Try to incorporate the following into your conclusion:

  • The first thing to do at the end is to reflect on the initial purpose of the work. Spill the beans on why you decided to write about this subject, and how this subject has affected your life. An article about reflection paper may also be helpful to you.
  • Signify the Importance of the Details: Go over some key moments of the paper. Give a summary of what you have covered, and prepare the audience for the clincher statement.
  • Clincher Statement: The clincher is the final sentence that reinforces your paper’s overall purpose or leaves your audience with an intriguing thought, question, or quote. You’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking of a hook to pull the audience in. Do not allow the paper to escape your audience’s thoughts right after they have finish reading it.

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Writing and Reviewing Your Descriptive Paper

Writing the paper consists of the following stages:

  • Pre-writing stage. Here you need to examine all of the sources you have and define if they all offer important information on the topic of your choice.
  • Writing the beginning. You should start your paper with a powerful, engaging hook that will grab the readers' attention. It may include an unusual metaphor or an interesting literary quote.
  • Creating the first draft of your descriptive essay. Here is where you just need to write down all of the words that come to your mind; you'll have a chance to narrow down your ideas later.
  • Adding details to your paper with the help of enriched English vocabulary and online dictionaries. Use your English vocabulary to add missing feelings, like hearing, to help make the descriptive essay leave a lasting impression.
  • Revising and editing the paper with the help of different free online grammar checking tools.

Let’s talk in detail about the final step here: reviewing your paper. After you finish writing, take a break. It’s always best to clear your mind before editing your paper.

When you come back to your descriptive essay, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Have you provided enough context in the introduction?
  • Is the paper easy to read?
  • Does the thesis relate to the content of the paper?
  • Does the paper feature vivid, descriptive language?
  • Will the clincher statement leave a lasting impact?
  • Are there enough details to make it possible for your readers to obtain a full and vivid perception of your description?
  • Does each section of your work focus on one aspect of your description?
  • Does your paper possess any unnecessary details in your description that can be thrown away or replaced by more meaningful information?
  • Overall, if you were the reader, does this paper make sense to you?
  • Are there any problems with grammar and punctuation?

Sometimes web applications like Grammarly or the Hemingway app can help you sort your grammar. However, it’s always best to master the rules of grammar yourself and become the best writer you can be. Once you’re convinced you have the final draft, read it out loud or give it to a friend to read. Sometimes you need some constructive criticism to tie up loose ends in your writing. You can also trust the professionals and buy cheap essay on EssayPro service.


Descriptive Essay Examples

Embracing the art of descriptive writing isn't always a natural gift for everyone. For those seeking inspiration and guidance, we prepared an example of a descriptive essay which is a valuable resource. Meanwhile, we acknowledge that not everyone may possess the innate talent for painting vivid word pictures. If you find yourself in need of assistance with more intricate endeavors, such as dissertations, rest assured that our team comprises writers who possess the innate ability to weave eloquent prose that breathes life into your ideas.

Example 1: 'The Enchanted Library: A Gateway to Forgotten Realms'

In this descriptive essay example, the author masterfully employs a wide array of descriptive tools, deftly painting a vivid picture of 'Bibliotheca Mirabilis.' Through metaphor, personification, and sensory details, the library comes to life, almost becoming a character within the narrative. The author's choice of words and careful descriptions immerses the reader in the enchanting setting, creating a captivating journey through the realms of imagination.

The writer of this descriptive essay example explains how there was a lot of life before humans existed. The world was full of Blue Jays and North Cardinal birds that most probably ate pansy seeds as a stable diet. In this example, it is clear that the writer has put himself/herself in the perspective of someone in the far future. He/she describes how we were in the 21st century, and how we used the poles as communication portals.

Example 2: 'The Forgotten Watchmaker: Crafting Timepieces of Elegance'

In this essay, the author adeptly employs a variety of descriptive tools to transport the reader into the heart of the potter's workshop. Through carefully chosen words, the workshop's ambiance, from the earthy scent of clay to the warmth of the kiln, becomes palpable. The rustic charm and ceramics in different stages of creation evoke a strong sense of tradition and dedication. The potter emerges as a central figure, their expertise and passion clearly portrayed. This essay immerses the reader in a world of craftsmanship, where each piece of pottery carries a unique narrative, and the art of creation is celebrated with profound reverence.

In the eyes of the untrained, a rugby game is just a bunch of huge individuals senselessly fighting one another, struggling to move an oval ball inch by inch down a field full of mud towards the goal line of the opposing team. Players don’t put on pads or get a timeout in the event of injuries. Yet rugby is a different thing, a gentleman’s sport—to those who understand it. While rugby appears rough, its players maintain good respect toward both teammates and opponents.

For those who may find writing a challenging endeavor, rest assured that it's a skill that can be developed over time. If you're looking for expert guidance or assistance with your academic life, our team includes experienced wordsmiths who can even help with dissertation writing. Whether you're working on essays, stories, or any writing project, we're here to support your creative journey and help you convey your ideas more effectively.

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Descriptive Essay

I. what is a descriptive essay.

A descriptive essay is an essay that describes something – an object or person, an event or place, an experience or emotion, or an idea. The goal of this kind of essay is to provide readers with enough detailed descriptions for them to be able to picture or imagine the chosen topic.

II. Examples of Descriptive Essays

The list of possible topics is nearly endless. The best topics are those that the author knows well and can clearly imagine. A writer should also consider what may be interesting to their audience.

  • The first day of spring (an experience)
  • Your best friend (a person)
  • Honesty or trust (ideas)
  • Courage/bravery (idea)
  • Nervousness/fear (emotions)
  • Happiness/fun of kite flying (emotion)
  • A museum sculpture (an object)
  • A ride on the subway (an event)
  • Your bedroom (place)
  • A leaf, seashell, or other small object

III. Types of Descriptive Essays with Topics

Even though there are countless topics for a descriptive essay, a writer only has to use two types of description. The first type of description is used for concrete topics, and the second is used when the essay describes an abstract topic.

a. Concrete

A topic about something concrete is something that you can see, touch or taste, hear, or smell – in other words, something concrete can be described with your senses.

  b. Abstract

Describing an abstract topic is more challenging. Ideas and emotions are abstract topics – they cannot be touched. Therefore, it is difficult to describe them with our senses. In order to write a descriptive essay of this type, writers often turn to context – experiences or situations – that point the reader towards understanding the topic.

IV. Parts of a descriptive essay with examples

A. clear topic.

A descriptive essay must focus clearly on the topic. The topic should be as specific as you can make it. A vague topic makes it difficult to focus on. In addition, if the description includes a time, place, or point-of-view, the writer must make that clear.

b. Sensory description or context

Depending on whether the topic is concrete or abstract, a large part of a descriptive essay will be sensory description or context. This part of the essay has enough details and information for readers to clearly imagine whatever is being described ( see part III for examples ).

c. Conclusion with purpose

A strong descriptive essay leaves the reader with a strong image or impression of the topic. A purposeful conclusion helps the reader see the value or importance of the topic. In other words, it states the purpose or point of the essay.

V. How to write a descriptive essay

Remember these writing goals when writing a descriptive essay.

a. Use your senses

Think about all five of your senses (sight, sound, hearing, touch, taste) when you write about your topic. Let your readers ‘see’ your topic with two or three senses.

b. Consider your point of view

Many descriptive essays use a straightforward look at their topic, but sometimes a creative point of view lets your readers see the topic in a new light. For instance, you can describe a tree from the point of view of a bird, or items in your bedroom described by a person from the past. Writing a descriptive essay with a creative point of view can be very effective, but be aware of what your audience wants!

c. Consider figurative language

Descriptive essays are all about imagery. Similes and metaphors can create vivid images to your descriptive writing.

d. Don’t slip into narrative

A descriptive essay should ‘paint a picture’ — not show a movie. You won’t see dialogue, a chain of events, or characters (unless a character is the topic) in a descriptive essay. Keep your essay focused on a single, steady image.

e. Be clear with your word-choice

A successful narrative essay requires careful word choice. Take a close look at the adjectives (describing words) you use. See if you can find a more specific or descriptive word. Also make sure you use clear, active verbs ( action words).

f. Search for unique details

Find small, interesting details that others may not see. Think about focusing your description in a way that will give your audience a new view on something they might’ve already seen.

List of Terms

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  • Amplification
  • Anachronism
  • Anthropomorphism
  • Antonomasia
  • APA Citation
  • Aposiopesis
  • Autobiography
  • Bildungsroman
  • Characterization
  • Circumlocution
  • Cliffhanger
  • Comic Relief
  • Connotation
  • Deus ex machina
  • Deuteragonist
  • Doppelganger
  • Double Entendre
  • Dramatic irony
  • Equivocation
  • Extended Metaphor
  • Figures of Speech
  • Flash-forward
  • Foreshadowing
  • Intertextuality
  • Juxtaposition
  • Literary Device
  • Malapropism
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Parallelism
  • Pathetic Fallacy
  • Personification
  • Point of View
  • Polysyndeton
  • Protagonist
  • Red Herring
  • Rhetorical Device
  • Rhetorical Question
  • Science Fiction
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
  • Synesthesia
  • Turning Point
  • Understatement
  • Urban Legend
  • Verisimilitude
  • Essay Guide
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Descriptive Essay

Caleb S.

Descriptive Essay - A Complete Guide

10 min read

Published on: Aug 18, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 15, 2023

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Have you ever found yourself struggling to paint a vivid picture with your words, to capture the essence of a scene, person, or experience in your writing?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many writers face this challenge when tasked with crafting descriptive essays.

For that, MyPerfectWords.com has come up with a solution!

In this blog, you’ll get easy steps to write good descriptive essays. Along with a step-by-step guide, you’ll also get impressive example essays to learn from.

With expert examples and helpful tips, you'll discover the secrets to crafting captivating descriptive essays. 

So let’s get into it!

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What Is a Descriptive Essay?

According to descriptive essay definition,

“It is a type of essay that is used to describe an event, a place, a person, or anything in detail.”

In a descriptive essay, you're not merely telling the reader about something; you're showing it to them. You're using your powers of observation and imagination to transport your audience to the scene you're describing. 

Whether it's a bustling city street, a serene natural landscape, a beloved childhood memory, or a complex character in a novel, a well-crafted descriptive essay can make the subject come alive in the reader's mind.

Purpose of a Descriptive Essay

The purpose of a descriptive essay is to evoke a strong, sensory experience in the reader's mind. 

Unlike other forms of writing that may aim to inform, persuade, or argue, the primary objective of a descriptive essay is to create a detailed and vivid portrayal of a subject. 

Whether you're describing a person, place, object, or experience, the goal is to transport your audience to that specific moment or location. 

This allows them to feel as if they are seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling what you're describing.

Here’s a short video that explains descriptive writing:

Types of Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essays come in various forms, each serving a unique purpose and style of writing. 

Here are some common types of descriptive essays:

  • Spatial Descriptive Essays

These essays focus on describing a specific location or setting. Whether it's a serene beach, a bustling city street, spatial descriptive essays transport the reader to a particular place, allowing them to visualize it vividly.

  • Personal Descriptive Essays

In these essays, writers delve into their personal experiences, memories, and emotions to create a connection with the reader. They often describfge a significant moment in their life, a cherished memory, or a transformative event.

  • Object Descriptive Essays

These essays revolve around the detailed description of a particular object. It could be a family heirloom, a work of art, a unique gadget, or any item that holds personal or historical significance.

  • Character Descriptive Essays

These essays offer a comprehensive portrayal of a character's physical appearance, personality, motivations, and development within the narrative.

  • Process Descriptive Essays

These essays break down a complex process into a step-by-step description. Whether it's a cooking recipe, a scientific experiment, or an artistic technique. Process descriptive essays help readers understand how something is done.

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Elements of a Descriptive Essay

There are five basic features of descriptive essay: 

  • Sensory Details

A descriptive essay involves arousing the emotions of the readers and creating an association with them. Sensory details paint a picture of the subject for the reader and engage their senses like sight, touch, smell, and taste.

  • Figurative Language

Using figurative language is one of the main elements of a descriptive essay. The use of metaphors, similes, adjectives, and adverbs, etc. creates the character sketch of the subject. 

This sketch helps the readers feel what the writer felt about the subject and helps him visualize the subject.

  • Central Theme

The central theme shapes and directs the essay’s content and helps organize the details. It should be well defined and focused on a single point.

  • Precise Language

The effect of your essay depends on the type of language that you have used in it. The language should emphasize the main theme and aim of the essay. Therefore, avoid using vague and ambiguous words. 

  • Organized Ideas    

An organized structure is an essential element of this essay. Also, the chronology, spatial location, and order play an important role.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay? 6 Steps

Writing an effective descriptive essay involves topic selection, creating an outline of parts of the descriptive essay, organizing ideas, and adding relevant information into the essay. 

The following is the process of descriptive writing.

Step# 1. Choose an Engaging Topic

Selecting the right topic is the crucial first step in writing a descriptive essay. Your topic should be captivating, drawing the reader in and keeping them engaged throughout the essay. 

A well-chosen topic sets the stage for an immersive and memorable descriptive experience.

Step# 2. Craft a Detailed Outline

Crafting an outline is essential to ensure your descriptive essay flows cohesively. It serves as a roadmap, helping you organize your thoughts and sensory details in a logical sequence. 

An effective outline keeps you on track to include all the necessary elements that make your description come alive.

Here's the typical descriptive essay structure for you to follow:

Explore this blog about creating a structured descriptive essay outline for organized essay writing.

Step# 3. Begin with a Compelling Introduction

The essay introduction sets the tone for your descriptive essay. It not only introduces the central theme but also incorporates a strong, captivating opinion that makes an initial impact on the reader.

In this section, you provide a concise preview of what the essay will explore, leaving your readers eager to delve further into your descriptive narrative.

Step# 4. Craft an Informative Thesis Statement

A thesis statement defines the scope and purpose of the essay. It is a narrow subject line, which should be clear and precise. Write the statement in a creative way and choose descriptive words for it. 

Creating mystery in your thesis statement attracts the reader to the body of your essay.

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Step# 5. Writing the Body Paragraphs

To create good body paragraphs for your essay, start each one with a topic sentence that relates to your thesis statement. 

Then, use evidence to support your point and explain how it backs up your argument. Make sure your paragraphs are well-organized, especially if you're talking about personal experiences or memories. 

Finally, summarize the main points in each paragraph to keep your essay easy to follow and well-structured. This will help your essay flow smoothly and support your main idea.

Step# 6. Ending with a Strong Descriptive Essay Conclusion

Crafting a strong essay conclusion is your final opportunity to make a lasting impression on your reader. 

This section should effectively tie together the key elements of your essay. Begin by using appropriate transition words like "to finish with," "in conclusion," or "lastly" to signal the end of your essay. 

Moreover, offer insightful closing thoughts that resonate with the reader, whether it's a thought-provoking idea or a call to action.

Descriptive Essay Topics

Whether you are writing about a person or a place, your topic should have good supporting points that explain the topic. 

Choosing an engaging topic will develop curiosity and hook the reader to the last bit of the essay. Here we have prepared a list of amazing descriptive essay topics for you.

  • A Place of Childhood Memories: Describe your favorite childhood location.
  • The Perfect Sunset: Depict a mesmerizing evening sky.
  • A Walk in the Enchanted Forest: Explore the depths of a magical forest.
  • A Day at the Beach: Capture the sights, sounds, and sensations of a beach day.
  • An Abandoned House: Describe the mysterious allure of an abandoned building.
  • The Art of Street Photography: Portray the life and characters of a city street.
  • A Significant Family Heirloom: Tell the story of a cherished family keepsake.
  • A Visit to a Cultural Festival: Share the experience of a vibrant cultural event.
  • A Place of Solitude: Describe a location where you find peace and tranquility.
  • A Family Reunion: Capture the joy of a memorable gathering with family members.
  • My High School Cafeteria: Recount the bustling atmosphere and diverse interactions in the high school cafeteria.

Descriptive Essay Examples

You should read some good essay examples before writing your own essay. An essay example would help you demonstrate, compile, and organize your essay in a structured form.

Below we have provided some amazing examples to help you know the process.

A School Lunch Hall Descriptive Essay Example

The Weekend Market Descriptive Essay Sample

Descriptive Essay on Historical Place

Descriptive Essay on a Teacher that I Remember

Descriptive Essay on my Village

My Favorite Place Descriptive Essay

5 Paragraph Essay - Descriptive Essay PDF

Descriptive Essay about a person

Descriptive Essay Example about a place

The ultimate aim of this practice is to identify and learn different techniques for writing an impressive descriptive essay. Find more descriptive essay examples here to read and learn from.

Tips for Writing an Effective Descriptive Essay

Writing a compelling descriptive essay requires more than just describing a subject; it demands the skill to make your readers truly see, feel, and experience what you're portraying. Here are some valuable tips to help you craft an effective descriptive essay:

  • Choose an Engaging Topic: Start with a captivating subject that resonates with you and your audience. The more connected you are to the topic, the more vividly you can describe it.
  • Create a Detailed Outline: Plan the structure of your essay. Identify the key elements and sensory details you want to include in your description. A well-organized outline will keep your essay coherent.
  • Use Vivid Language: Your words are the paintbrush for your reader's imagination. Employ descriptive adjectives, strong verbs, and figurative language to create a vivid picture. Paint with words.
  • Engage the Senses: Appeal to all five senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. This immersive approach helps readers connect with your narrative on a deeper level.
  • Show, Don't Tell: Rather than telling your readers about a subject, show it to them through sensory descriptions and tangible experiences. Let them draw their own conclusions.
  • Use Metaphors and Similes: Comparing your subject to something familiar can enhance the reader's understanding. Metaphors and similes create memorable images.
  • Organize Your Description: Present your sensory details logically. Consider the order in which you introduce them, ensuring a smooth flow that makes sense to the reader.
  • Engage Emotions: Your description should evoke emotions in the reader. Describe not only what is visible but also the feelings and atmosphere surrounding the subject.

Summing it up,

Descriptive essay writing is a skill that requires thorough practice. It involves the ability to craft an engaging story with vivid descriptions, sounding as realistic as possible. 

The above-mentioned steps and examples are a great way for students to learn how to write a descriptive essay. 

However, if you still need expert help to write a flawless essay, we’ve got your back.

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Table of contents


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A descriptive essay is a type of essay that aims to depict a particular person, place, object, or event in detail. The purpose of a descriptive essay is to create a sensory experience for the reader, using language that engages five senses.

  Descriptive essay might scare with its dreadful name, yet it is essential for improving writing skills. How else would you explain something to a person who doesn't know much about a particular topic? Our answer is always a description of a subject. Writing is the perfect way to use vivid language and create something genuinely unique. Power of convincing and telling is one click away. So save time and trust us in showing you exactly how you can master your next article.

What Is a Descriptive Essay: Expanded Definition

Descriptive essay is a map that guides its reader through the chosen subject. Your goal is to introduce people to something new. You, writer, succeed if they leave with a concrete understanding of the topic. Are you writing an article about diving? An audience might not become professional divers, but they indeed will seem like pros after reading. Envision yourself painting an image that makes a statement, as any painter would. Whether you are writing an essay about global warming or just how your summer went — descriptive writing is the way to go.   In case you need to explain something or analyze your idea, use our explanatory essay example . 

What Is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay

The purpose of a descriptive essay is as simple as it sounds — describe. You didn't expect that, did you? The topic of that said description can be anything you want. Or, usually, anything your professor wants. You can write about any person, place, event, object, and the list is endless. The trick is using figurative language and adding as many details as possible, while making writing effective. So don’t overdo with adjectives as if you’re writing a novel.

Descriptive Essay Outline: How to Create One

The descriptive essay outline is the secret weapon in this war against sloppy writing. Bland words used only to describe never leave impressions. A good idea is to use language that triggers responses from the senses (smell, taste, vision, and any other sensory experience evoking emotion). Lastly, creating an outline will save your ideas from being thrown in the trash of your memory. You can always create a list with enumerated topics and ideas. Or you can also divide the outline for an essay into sections corresponding to paragraphs. This way, you’ll know what to write.

Descriptive Essay Structure: Main Elements

Descriptive essay structure doesn’t go far from its fellow articles. But let’s cover basics:  

  • Introduction — includes general facts about the subject without scaring readers with too much information.
  • Thesis statement — last sentence of introduction with the main idea.
  • Main body — shining moment to use details and figurative language we talked about.
  • Conclusion — excellent way of wrapping up the text. Let readers remember your work!

How to Write a Descriptive Essay: Step-By-Step Guide

How to write a descriptive essay? — you would ask. We can’t leave you just hanging with no answer! So check our guide for students. Learn how to leave an impression as you write an essay , add a personal touch, select the subject, and create detailed masterpieces.

Step 1. Choose a Topic for Your Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essay topics are hard to choose, but they’re your first step to success. Remember these words when thinking about the topic: clear, intriguing, and specific. An audience should know what they’re reading. As a writer, you also have another responsibility… Don’t be selfish! Choose something that will be interesting not only for you but appealing to the reader. You can always look through essay title examples to choose and create the best one.

Step 2. Craft a Good Thesis Statement for Your Descriptive Essay

Thesis statement for a descriptive essay is the cherry of your work. A jewel, if we might say so. It’s also not the time to be coy. Openness with several hints of mystery is the best policy for your thesis. Lure readers in and secure their attention. But your goal is still to include the most important idea. Consider these questions:

  • What are you trying to prove?
  • Why is this topic vital?
  • Why should the audience care?

Step 3. How to Start a Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essay introduction is all about intrigue as it’s the first chance to impress the readers with an epic start. Don’t worry, your only assignment here is to make people read further. It’s not that hard to hook them! Not literally, of course. But the first statement should be catchy, fun, or just memorable. It can be anything to make readers say ‘wow,’ without too much data. You have the main body for that.

Step 4. Creating Body Paragraphs for Descriptive Essay

Body paragraphs for descriptive essay are your chance to play with details and language. Traditional articles usually contain three paragraphs, if your professor doesn’t have special requirements. Thus, each body paragraph should have its own topic sentence, evidence, and concluding statement. They also develop distinct ideas. In other words: every paragraph must have its own idea linked to the chosen topic. Additionally, depending on the article, you can also explain your personal opinion, either negative or positive. But using academic research instead of your own beliefs is a more classy option, at least for this article. Maybe you will need an explanatory essay  or other essay kinds, we have got you covered. Find them in our blogs.

Step 5. Compose Conclusion for Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essay conclusion is like your final marathon mile. You’re almost there, just view your conclusion as a summary of your work. The last paragraph makes clearer what your goal was. So we recommend writing as if your audience hasn’t read your written work. Overall, keep it short, add no new information and finish with some food for thought.

Step 6. Proofreading and Editing Your Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essay needs editing, sometimes even more than its fellow papers. Our final step — proofread the text , please. Yes, we know, it’s boring and takes time. Deleting your own words is an ungrateful, whiny requirement. But it refines your work and helps you to avoid mistakes. No one wants to see ‘autism’ instead of ‘author.’ Here, we’re writing from personal experiences. Consider taking your time editing to avoid typos or grammatical errors!

Descriptive Essay Format: Basic Rules of Use

The format of a descriptive essay will depend on your professor's requirements. Usually, you’ll need to edit your word document and submit your complete version in one of the fowling formats:

  • APA (used more for hard science)
  • MLA (preferred by humanitarian subjects)
  • Chicago style format (also liked by humanitarian disciplines, but you’ll recognize it for footnotes)

Understanding all those formats is not a must, especially memorizing them. Just google templates!

Descriptive Essay Examples

Descriptive essay example will include all the basics that we’ve just covered. Your complete word document should be styled according to those tricky formats we talked about. Your article should also have standard five paragraphs (introduction, main body, and conclusion). Understanding this structure will secure a nice flow of your work. Just in case, buy online essay  if you want to do something different tonight than homework.

Descriptive Essay: Final Thoughts

Descriptive essay is not some monster under your bed. So don’t be scared of shining some light on it. Strong articles will have a clear purpose and an intriguing thesis. Keep in mind that your alluring introduction shouldn’t include data overload. Your main body is a mix of examples, details, and evidence. Lastly, your conclusion is like a red bow on the present that summarizes your work. Already excited to perform such an assignment?


In case you have any issues, get help from our outstanding essay writing service. We’re proud of our writers and their timely delivery. With our assistance, you will get a quality work conforming to all standards.

Frequently Asked Questions About Descriptive Essay

1. what's the difference between a narrative essay and a descriptive essay.

A descriptive essay doesn’t tell a story but simply contains information about a particular topic. So the main difference that distinguishes narrative works is a storytelling element. But a complete descriptive text is more of a guide and description with no plot.

2. How do I come up with a topic for my descriptive essay?

Descriptive essay topics are usually given by professors. If not, choosing places, people, events, or even objects is your best bet. Try to select something interesting. So you don’t have to struggle with boring material having no idea how to word it.

3. How many words should be there in a descriptive essay paragraph?

Descriptive essay paragraph is usually 100-200 words long. Fewer words will make an article non-academic. In contrast, longer sections will surely help you lose the attention of your readers. So keep it along the lines of this word count, and you’ll be good.

4. What is the difference between a descriptive essay and a definition essay?

Descriptive essay literally describes any topic using colorful words and figurative language to impress your reader. You’re painting pictures with figurative and bright words instead of colors. In contrast,  definition essay  is the type of article that explains any chosen concept or an academic term. So it’s slightly drier and more on the nose of academic writing.  


Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.


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What Is a Descriptive Essay? Definition & 10+ Examples

Have you ever experienced a story so vividly that you felt like you were living in it? Welcome to the world of descriptive essays! These unique pieces are not just about telling a story but immersing readers in a multi-sensory experience.

With the right choice of words, descriptive essays allow readers to see, touch, taste, smell, and hear the story unfold, transporting them from the mundanity of reality into an exciting new world.

Get ready to explore the power of detailed descriptions and their ability to evoke emotions, create vivid images, and establish deep connections.

Table of Contents

Defining Descriptive Essay

A “Descriptive Essay” is a type of written composition that focuses on creating a detailed depiction of a person, place, object, event, or experience. It employs meticulous, vivid language and sensory details to paint a comprehensive and immersive picture in the reader’s mind.

A well-crafted descriptive essay doesn’t merely tell the reader what happened; instead, it draws them into the narrative, making them feel as if they’re part of the story.

This form of essay emphasizes the power of language to capture and convey not just the tangible aspects of the subject but also the intangible elements, such as emotions , impressions , and memories . It is a powerful literary tool that allows the writer to communicate a profound, personal perspective on the world around them.

Origin of Descriptive Essay

In the world of literature, various genres have been shaping the way we express ourselves through writing. One such genre is the descriptive essay. You may wonder about its historical roots and how it evolved over time. This brief account will provide you with an engaging and reader-friendly overview of the origin of descriptive essays, while being confident, knowledgeable, and clear.

Dating back to ancient civilizations, descriptive writing has often been utilized as a means of sharing stories and conveying emotions.

In ancient Greece , philosophers like Aristotle used descriptive language to explain complex theories and ideas. Meanwhile, travelogues from Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta were some of the earliest examples of non-fiction descriptive writing, providing readers with vivid impressions of the lands they journeyed through.

As literacy rates rose during the Renaissance period in Europe, the art of descriptive essay writing began to thrive. Notable authors, such as Michel de Montaigne and Francis Bacon, employed this technique to explore various aspects of human nature and society. They would use descriptive language to create a detailed and engaging picture for their readers.

Montaigne is especially known for his essays, where he shared his thoughts on various topics, including education, societies, and individual beliefs.

By the 18th and 19th centuries , descriptive essays had become a popular form of writing. The Romantic Movement, with authors like William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and John Keats, heavily relied on descriptive language to explore the beauty of nature and evoke emotions in their readers.

These masterful works pushed the boundaries of descriptive essay writing and influenced future generations of writers.

Over time, different writing styles and schools of thought emerged, but the essence of descriptive essay writing remains the same: to paint a vivid picture using words, enabling the reader to visualize and connect with the subject matter .

Even today , it remains a vital literary technique that showcases the power of human creativity and our ability to share experiences through the written word.

Functions of Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essay captures the reader’s imagination.

A well-written descriptive essay captures the reader’s imagination by creating vivid images in their mind. By using precise language and rich sensory details, you can paint a picture of an experience, person, or setting that is both engaging and memorable.

Providing intriguing facts and trivia within your essay can further stimulate the reader’s curiosity.

To be successful, consider what aspects of your topic will be most interesting to your reader, and focus on those elements. Convey emotion and mood through your writing, immersing the reader in the moment.

Remember, your goal is to render the experience so vividly that the reader feels as though they were right there with you.

Descriptive Essay Enhances Emotional Engagement

A descriptive essay goes beyond merely recounting events or facts; it seeks to evoke an emotional response from the reader. By crafting your descriptions and using choice words, you can effectively elicit emotions, creating intimacy between reader and subject.

Your essay should provide tips that help the reader relate to the subject and better understand the emotions being experienced.

Emotional engagement in your essay can make the reader care about the subject or the story being told. By investing emotionally, the reader is more likely to continue reading and feel a connection to the material.

Carefully choosing language and descriptions can shape the mood of your essay, drawing the reader in as they vicariously experience what you describe.

Descriptive Essay Facilitates Better Understanding

With a descriptive essay, your goal is not only to entertain but also to help your reader better understand the topic. By offering detailed descriptions and portraying elements from various perspectives, the reader can grasp difficult concepts or visualize complex settings.

Make sure to explain aspects of your topic that may be challenging for a reader to envision. Convey the most important features or ideas by providing clear, succinct descriptions. Use analogies or comparisons if necessary to break down complex ideas for your reader.

Your goal is to educate while keeping the essay engaging and enjoyable to read.

Descriptive Essay Provides Personal Insight

Through a descriptive essay, you can provide personal insight and share your unique perspective on the subject. Your individual style and tone can make an impression on the reader and impact their perception of the topic.

As you express your thoughts and emotions, your reader can gain an understanding of your personal connection to the subject.

It is essential to reflect on your own experiences and feelings, and consider how they resonate with your reader. Remember to balance the sharing of your own thoughts with the detailed descriptions that create a complete picture for your reader.

By doing so, you offer them both intimacy and a well-rounded understanding of the subject matter.

Descriptive Essay Acts as A Tool for Exploring Ideas

A descriptive essay can be a valuable tool for exploring ideas and examining various perspectives. In writing a descriptive essay, you may discover new aspects or perspectives on the topic as you delve into details and reflect on the meaning and implications they hold.

When exploring ideas and viewpoints, it is essential to remain open to different interpretations and keep a neutral tone. This will allow your reader to engage critically with your text and consider multiple possibilities when interpreting the subject matter.

By fostering an environment for thoughtful discourse, your descriptive essay can inspire further discussion and contemplation among readers.

Characteristics of Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essay utilizes sensory details.

A key quality of descriptive essays is that they rely on sensory details. By employing the use of the five senses – sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch — you can create a vivid and engaging experience for your readers. For instance, instead of simply stating that you enjoy the scent of coffee, describe it as the warm, rich aroma that permeates the air.

Utilize these sensory details to evoke emotions and paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Remember, the primary goal is to create an immersive experience for your audience.

A tip when using sensory details is to be selective and purposeful. Choose descriptions that add depth to your essay and contribute to the overall narrative. Strive to maintain a balance between providing enough information to engage the reader and overwhelming them with excessive details fully.

Descriptive Essay Contains Precise Language

In a descriptive essay, choosing the right language is essential. Using precise language allows you to convey your thoughts and ideas to your reader effectively. Vivid and figurative language can add depth to your descriptions, making them more engaging and memorable.

To achieve precise language, you can employ various techniques such as metaphors, similes, and personification, which can provide a more engaging and clear picture for the reader. Pay attention to your word choice and avoid vague or ambiguous language that can confuse or mislead your readers.

Descriptive Essay Organizes Thoughts Coherently

A well-organized descriptive essay creates a seamless reading experience. To achieve this, you should arrange your thoughts and ideas into logical sections or paragraphs that flow smoothly.

Start by deciding which aspects of your subject you want to describe, and then organize your thoughts into an outline before you begin writing.

When structuring your essay, use clear transitions and link words between paragraphs to guide your reader and maintain the logical flow. Keep your descriptions coherent, ensuring that all details and descriptions work together to create a complete and immersive experience.

Keep sentences and paragraphs concise and focused, avoiding unrelated or extraneous information that might distract the reader.

Descriptive Essay Showcases Creativity

Descriptive essays are a perfect opportunity for you to showcase your creativity. By using imaginative and unique descriptions, you can captivate your readers and hold their attention throughout the essay. Experiment with different stylistic techniques and explore various narrative styles.

Find innovative ways to describe common objects or experiences, surprising the reader and encouraging them to view the subject from a different perspective.

Descriptive Essay Contains a Dominant Impression

One of the most crucial aspects of a descriptive essay is the dominant impression. This refers to the overall effect or feeling that your essay should leave the reader with. The dominant impression serves as the unifying theme throughout your essay, guiding your choice of words, descriptions, and sensory details.

To create a dominant impression, determine the primary emotion or message you want to convey, and then use your descriptions and language choices to reinforce this theme.

Consistency is crucial––maintaining a coherent and focused narrative helps to ensure that your readers finish your essay with a clear understanding of the intended impression.

Remember, in a descriptive essay, confident and knowledgeable writing can make all the difference. By utilizing sensory details, precise language, coherent organization, creative techniques, and a strong dominant impression, your writing will not only engage but also captivate your readers.

Elements of A Descriptive Essay

Sensory details.

In a descriptive essay, your main goal is to create a vivid experience for the reader. One essential way to achieve this is by using sensory details. Sensory details help to paint a clear picture for the reader by engaging their five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

When composing your essay, try to think of specific moments, situations, or objects that evoke strong feelings and memories. Describe these experiences in such a way that your reader can almost see, hear, smell, taste, or feel them as well.

Don’t forget to occasionally give some facts or trivia to keep the reader engaged and interested in the subject matter.

Figurative Language

Another critical element to include in a descriptive essay is figurative language. This form of language makes use of words and expressions that go beyond their literal meanings to convey complex or vivid ideas. Some common types of figurative language are metaphors, similes, and personification.

Metaphors make comparisons between two, unlike things, while similes compare using “like” or “as.” Personification attributes human qualities to non-human entities. Here, you can provide some quick tips on how to use these literary devices in your writing effectively.

The figurative language will help give your essay a unique and enriching style that captures the reader’s attention.

Dominant Impression

In a descriptive essay, you want to create a dominant impression — that is, a central theme or overarching idea that holds the entire piece together. A good dominant impression helps the reader understand and connect with your description. It becomes the lens through which they view the rest of your essay.

To achieve this, try to focus on one specific aspect, quality, or emotion you want to convey. Then, use sensory details and figurative language to support and expand on that central theme consistently. Consciously consider the tone of your writing to maintain a confident, knowledgeable, and clear voice throughout.

Precise Vocabulary

Descriptive essays call for specific and precise vocabulary to paint a clear and vivid picture for the reader. In order to make your essay stand out and effectively communicate the experiences you are trying to portray, choose your words carefully.

Opt for terms that have strong connotations and vivid imagery, as this will help to engage the reader’s senses and imagination. Always strive to use the best-suited word for the context, and avoid clichés or overused expressions.

Objective and Subjective Description

Descriptive essays can take on both objective and subjective perspectives. Objective descriptions, as the name suggests, present facts and observations without the writer’s personal feelings or opinions.

Subjective descriptions, on the other hand, allow the writer to share their emotions, thoughts, and opinions, thus giving the essay a more personal touch. When writing your essay, consider the balance between objective and subjective content. This decision will depend on your purpose, the topic, and the intended audience.

Emotional Resonance

A successful descriptive essay evokes strong emotions in the reader. To achieve emotional resonance, use sensory details, figurative language, and a dominant impression that resonates with your audience.

Be mindful of your readers’ feelings, as your essay’s subject matter and tone should be relatable and provoke a deep emotional response. Don’t forget to occasionally provide trivia or interesting facts to keep the reader engaged.

Chronological or Spatial Order

Consider using chronological or spatial order when crafting your descriptive essay. Chronological order refers to explaining events or situations in the sequence that they occurred, while spatial order describes the layout or arrangement of physical space.

This structure will help to organize your essay, making it easier for your reader to follow and understand your points. Decide which organizing principle best suits the topic and approach of your essay, and keep this organization consistent throughout your writing.

Structure of A Descriptive Essay


When writing a descriptive essay, your introduction should effectively capture your reader’s attention. It’s essential to start with a hook, a captivating sentence that pulls readers into your essay. After the hook, provide some context or background information on the subject you’ll be describing.

The last part of your introduction is the thesis statement, which acts as the main idea of your essay. This statement should be clear and concise, setting the tone for the rest of your piece.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your descriptive essay are where the bulk of the information is presented. Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of the subject, with a strong topic sentence that clearly shows the concept being discussed.

Make sure each paragraph is relevant to your thesis statement and stays focused on that particular subject. When it comes to presenting your information, remember that variety is key – mix facts, trivia, and lesser-known details to maintain reader interest.

In a descriptive essay, sensory details are key. They engage all five senses, painting a rich, vivid picture that pulls the reader into the scene. It’s not just saying, “The room was cold,” but making you feel the icy chill, see your breath misting in the air. Each paragraph zooms in on a specific sense, keeping the essay organized and immersive.

One moment you’re absorbing the vibrant colors of a scene; next, you’re attuned to the soundscape or feeling textures. By dedicating sections to different senses, the essay delivers a full sensory experience, making you not just a reader but a participant in the narrative.

Incorporating figurative language can enhance your descriptive essay further. This includes using metaphors, similes, and personification to bring your prose to life. Figurative language can help to create a more engaging experience for readers and assist in conveying complex ideas more easily.

The conclusion of your descriptive essay should leave a lasting impression on your reader. This is achieved by summarizing the key points raised in the body paragraphs while connecting them to the thesis statement. Make sure to tie everything together, bringing your essay to a logical and satisfying end.

Remember to avoid introducing any new ideas in your conclusion; at this point, your goal is to bring closure to the essay.


To ensure your descriptive essay flows smoothly, make good use of transitions. Transitions are words and phrases that connect ideas and create a cohesive reading experience. They serve to guide your reader from one point to the next, making sure there are no abrupt jumps or gaps in your writing.

Varied Sentence Structure

An effective descriptive essay should feature varied sentence structures. This means alternating between simple and complex sentences, as well as modifying the length and rhythm of your sentences. Variety helps to keep your reader engaged and maintains the overall flow of your essay.

Just like mixing facts and trivia, varying your sentence structure adds depth and interest to your writing. By incorporating these elements into your descriptive essay, you can confidently create a piece that is both informative and captivating.

Types of Descriptive Essays

Person descriptive essay.

In a person descriptive essay, you focus on describing a person’s physical appearance, character traits, and behaviors. It is essential to capture the essence of the individual being described, relying on precise details and vivid language. In doing so, create a clear image of the person in the reader’s mind.

Remember to be confident in your descriptions and avoid exaggeration . A helpful tip for this type of essay is to observe the person closely, noting their unique features and mannerisms.

In addition to their appearance, try to convey the person’s character and qualities. Describe how they interact with others, their beliefs, hobbies, and values. When presenting information about the person, maintain a knowledgeable and neutral tone, providing factual information instead of biased opinion.

This approach ensures a clear and accurate portrayal of the person, leaving the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the individual.

Place Descriptive Essay

A place descriptive essay requires you to describe the location’s physical aspects, such as landscape, architecture, and any prominent landmarks. Aim to evoke the reader’s senses by providing vibrant details of the environment and atmosphere.

It is crucial to remain neutral and factual in your descriptions, avoiding any personal judgments or biases. A handy tip for describing a place is to imagine yourself as a tour guide, providing relevant information for visitors.

Besides the physical characteristics, emphasize the place’s unique features or trivia to make the description more engaging. Discuss the cultural or historical significance, if applicable, and any noteworthy activities happening in the area.

Your overall goal in a place a descriptive essay is to transport the reader to the location, allowing them to experience its essence through your writing.

Object Descriptive Essay

An object descriptive essay focuses on describing a specific object’s physical properties and functions. You should offer a detailed description of the item’s appearance, including its shape, size, color, texture, and any distinctive elements.

Remember to maintain a neutral tone and rely on factual information, avoiding any exaggerated claims or embellishments.

In addition to the object’s appearance, discuss its use or purpose. Explain its importance or value, whether sentimental, practical, or historical. By providing comprehensive information about the object, you offer the reader a thorough understanding of its significance and context.

Event Descriptive Essay

When writing an event descriptive essay, you should describe a particular event or occurrence in detail. Explain the event’s circumstances, including its purpose, participants, and any notable outcomes. Ensure your account remains clear and factual, avoiding any personal biases or embellishments.

An interesting fact or trivia about the event can enhance the description, keeping the reader engaged.

Moreover, sets the scene by describing the event’s date, location, and atmosphere. Use vivid language to evoke the reader’s senses and transport them to the moment of the event. By providing a comprehensive account of the event, you allow the reader to experience its essence and understand its impact.

Experience Descriptive Essay

An experience descriptive essay aims to provide readers with an account of a personal experience. This type of essay often requires you to describe emotions, thoughts, and actions related to the event.

While some subjectivity is inherent in this essay, it is essential to provide a balanced perspective by discussing both the positive and negative aspects of the experience.

Paying close attention to detail, describe the events leading up to the experience, the emotions you felt during the event, and any lessons or realizations that resulted from it.

Maintain a clear and confident tone throughout, as well as a neutral perspective, ensuring the reader receives an accurate representation of the experience.

Concept Descriptive Essay

In a concept descriptive essay, you should focus on describing a particular idea or abstract concept. This type of essay requires you to present information about the concept’s origin, development, and significance.

Employ a knowledgeable and neutral tone, emphasizing the importance of the idea and its impact on society or individuals.

It is essential to provide a thorough explanation of the concept, including its various interpretations and applications. When presenting the information, use clear language to ensure the reader’s understanding.

By offering a comprehensive examination of the concept, you grant the reader a solid foundation for further exploration and analysis.

Emotion Descriptive Essay

An emotion-descriptive essay requires you to describe a specific emotion or feeling, focusing on its characteristics and causes. Begin by offering a clear definition of the emotion, explaining any nuances or variations in its meaning.

It is essential to adopt a neutral, confident tone when presenting information, ensuring the reader receives an accurate understanding of the emotion.

In addition to defining the emotion, discuss its potential causes and effects. Describe how the emotion might manifest in a person’s thoughts, actions, and physical sensations.

By providing a comprehensive account of the emotion, you allow the reader to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for its complexities and significance.

Famous Examples of Descriptive Essays

How to write a descriptive essay.

Writing a descriptive essay can be an engaging and rewarding experience. Follow this step-by-step guide to create a piece that captures the essence of a person, place, or object using clear and concise language.

  • Begin by brainstorming the subject matter . Think about the specific details you want to include and how they contribute to the overall impression. Jot down your ideas, considering the five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. This will enable you to paint a vivid picture for your readers.
  • Next, organize your ideas into a logical structure . Start with an attention-grabbing introduction that presents the subject of your essay. Then, develop body paragraphs that showcase the details you’ve gathered, using smooth transitions to guide the reader. Aim for a coherent flow, making sure that each paragraph supports the main purpose of your essay.
  • Variety in sentence structure can make your essay more engaging and easier to read. Experiment with different sentence lengths , and don’t be afraid to use descriptive adjectives and figurative language that reveal your subject’s unique qualities. However, be mindful to avoid exaggeration or false claims. Maintaining a confident, knowledgeable, and clear tone will enhance the credibility of your writing.
  • Finally, conclude your essay by briefly summarizing the main points without introducing new information. This will give a sense of closure, leaving a lasting impression on your reader. Keep in mind that proofreading and revising are essential steps for producing a polished piece.

Choosing Descriptive Essay Topics

When selecting a topic for your descriptive essay, it’s essential to pick something that is both interesting and engaging. The topic should be one that you can explore in-depth, providing vivid details, examples, and compelling descriptions.

Remember, your goal is to paint a vivid picture for your reader, so choose a topic that lends itself well to imaginative descriptions.

High school, college, and university students should consider a range of potential topics before settling on one. For instance, you might consider writing about a person who has had a significant impact on your life, a memorable place you’ve visited, or a unique object that holds special meaning for you.

Here are a few tips when selecting descriptive essay topics:

  • Make sure the topic is something you are passionate about or genuinely interested in, as this will make your writing more engaging and enjoyable for both you and the reader.
  • Identify the various elements or details that you can describe vividly, as these will help you create powerful, evocative imagery in your essay.

It can be helpful to look for inspiration from various sources, like books, movies, art, or personal experiences. For instance, you could describe a specific scene from your favorite film, a painting by a renowned artist, or a person you admire greatly.

Don’t forget to use specific details and examples to reinforce your descriptions and make them more vivid.

As a fun fact, many descriptive essays are inspired by real settings, people, or objects. In some cases, writers even draw on elements from their own lives to create authentic, relatable descriptions.

By immersing yourself in your topic and relying on your personal experiences, you can craft a truly unique and compelling essay that stands out from the rest. Remember to stay confident, knowledgeable, and clear as you create descriptions that bring your chosen topic to life for your reader.

Impact of Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essay enhances reader’s experience.

When you write a descriptive essay, it significantly improves the reader’s experience by creating vivid mental images in their mind. By using evocative language and key sensory details, you provide them with a more immersive experience that keeps them engaged and interested.

Descriptive essays also encourage readers to form a personal connection with the content, drawing them deeper into the narrative or personal essay you’re presenting. Remember, utilizing precise descriptions and focusing on relatability in your writing can make a substantial difference in how your audience perceives and connects with your work.

Another tip for enhancing the reader’s experience is to incorporate components of storytelling . When applying descriptive elements within a story, you create a deeper sense of involvement for the audience as they become emotionally invested in the characters and plot.

Utilizing a visual and emotive foundation in your writing will make it difficult for readers to put the piece down, making it an unforgettable read.

Descriptive Essay Contributes to Character Development

In your descriptive essay, the effective portrayal of characters is an essential aspect of character development. By providing detailed descriptions of a character’s physical appearance, demeanor, and emotional state, you offer insight into their personality and motivations.

This valuable information can lead your audience to empathize, relate to, or understand the driving factors behind the actions and decisions your subject makes.

When discussing character development, also consider providing trivia on your character. Your audience may find it interesting to know about any unique quirks, habits, or preferences your character possesses.

Integrating such facts help paint a more comprehensive picture, further humanizing and deepening the reader’s connection with the subject.

Descriptive Essay Shapes Plot Development

The narrative structure of your descriptive essay can make a significant impact on the direction and progression of your story or insightful personal essay. Providing rich sensory information on settings, situations, and events in your work can have a dramatic effect on the plot development.

By doing so, you immerse readers in the world you’ve created and help them understand the core elements of your story as it unfolds.

Remember to keep the momentum going in your writing. Offering tips or advice to your audience can contribute to the development of your narrative. For example, showing the consequences of a specific decision or providing a moment of reflection for the character ensures readers remain invested.

Descriptive Essay Influences Mood and Atmosphere

The mood and atmosphere of your descriptive essay can have a significant impact on your readers’ emotional response to your work. By using evocative language, and carefully choosing words and phrases, you can create a particular tone and ambiance throughout your narrative or personal essay.

Whether it’s a melancholic atmosphere or an aura of excitement, your choice of description can make readers feel connected to the emotions you’re presenting.

When establishing a particular mood or atmosphere, you may explore additional literary techniques to enhance the impact of your writing further. Using metaphors , similes , or symbolism can be an effective way to convey the underlying themes and emotions in your essay, making your narrative more immersive and engaging.

Descriptive Essay Adds Aesthetic Appeal to Literature

Descriptive essays contribute an aesthetic appeal to your writing, providing readers with a sense of beauty and artistic depth. Through detailed descriptions, your work can evoke an array of emotions and create feelings of awe, pleasure, or fascination.

This element of aesthetic appeal elevates your writing, turning it into more than just a story or an account of events but rather transforming it into an art form.

Taking your time to choose the perfect, most expressive words is an essential aspect of creating an aesthetically appealing piece. By striving for precision and clarity, your work will not only captivate your audience but also leave a lasting impression, creating a memorable reading experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can i improve my descriptive writing.

Improving descriptive writing can be achieved through practice, reading, and expanding your vocabulary. You should also focus on incorporating sensory details, using show-not-tell techniques, employing figurative language, and being precise and specific with your descriptions.

What should I avoid in descriptive writing?

In descriptive writing, you should avoid vague and generic descriptions, overuse of adjectives and adverbs, cliches, and passive voice. You should also avoid providing too many details that don’t contribute to the overall impression or picture you’re trying to create.

How long should a descriptive essay be?

The length of a descriptive essay can vary depending on the assignment or purpose. Typically, a descriptive essay can range from a one-page composition to several pages.

Regardless of length, it’s important to stay focused on the topic and ensure that each word and detail contributes to the overall picture or impression.

In closing, a descriptive essay stands as a powerful tool in the writer’s kit, providing a unique way to bring people, places, experiences, and objects to life. It hinges on painting vivid pictures through words, making it an artistic endeavor as much as an academic one.

With its rich sensory details, thoughtful organization, and expressive language, a descriptive essay not only enhances a reader’s understanding but also invites them to see the world from the writer’s perspective.

It’s an enriching craft to master, whether you’re a student aiming to improve your writing skills, an aspiring author wanting to captivate your audience, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty and potential of language.

As we explore the various facets of descriptive essays, we realize that they offer more than mere descriptions – they present a canvas where reality and imagination meld seamlessly.

So, the next time you set out to write, consider employing the elements of a descriptive essay, and you’ll be amazed at the depth and vividness you can achieve.

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Descriptive Essay – How to Write It

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Descriptive essays enable students to learn the fundamentals of writing and self-expression. It is also possible to write descriptive essays far into your professional career, depending on your line of work and writing objectives. This post will discuss descriptive essays and how to write them properly.


  • 1 Descriptive Essay – In a Nutshell
  • 2 Definition: Descriptive Essay
  • 3 Descriptive Essay: Finding a Topic
  • 4 Structure of a Descriptive Essay
  • 5 Descriptive Essay: A Vivid Description

Descriptive Essay – In a Nutshell

  • Descriptive essays should arouse a reader’s emotions and create an association with them.
  • You should choose a specific topic and use it as a central theme that shapes the direction of the essay and the organisation of details.
  • It should have an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion to finalise the writer’s aim of writing the essay.
  • Combine direct and figurative language to help the reader visualise the subject

Definition: Descriptive Essay

  • A descriptive essay is a genre of composition or writing that vividly describes a subject, procedure or event.
  • It is usually used to test the student’s capacity to document an account of a specific experience with a subject.
  • It also provides a large room for creativity as its aim is to paint a clear image that can move the reader’s mind.
  • Descriptive essays are relatively different from the other genres since the goal is to appeal to the five senses; taste, hearing, sight, smell and touch.
  • Every good descriptive essay should be able to appeal to all these senses. It should also focus on a specific topic and have a particular purpose.
  • For instance, you can write about your experiences and the lessons you learnt from them.
  • Basically, descriptive essays are all about converting your thought processes into writing.


Descriptive Essay: Finding a Topic

Choosing a topic is the first and arguably the most important step in descriptive essay writing. There are several ways you can go about picking a topic for your essay, including brainstorming and reading example descriptive essays to get general ideas.

For most students, brainstorming is the most effective technique since it focuses more on personal experiences and things they are interested in. It also lets you break down broad ideas into simple and workable topics. For instance, you can take a subject such as camping and think about their purpose and what people do in them. As you brainstorm, make a list of possible ideas you can comfortably write about in detail. When done, note topics that suit you and are more likely to move your readers.

Another technique you can use to choose a topic is reading examples of descriptive essays for general ideas. Focus on the direction of the essay and how the writer has organised the subject details within the content. You can pick essays that align with your interests, so you choose a topic you are comfortable writing about. Here are a few topic ideas you can use for your next descriptive essay:

  • Camping in the woods for the very first time
  • My driving test
  • The wild Highway-13 car pursuit
  • The interview predicament
  • The wedding day

Structure of a Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essays have a relatively straightforward structure, which consists of an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion to finalise the writer’s aim of writing the piece.

The Introduction

Your introduction provides general background info about the subject/topic you are writing about. It should have a hook that enables your writer to relate to the senses you are trying to tap into. You should also form a thesis statement that introduces a claim (not necessarily from an opinion or argument point).

The defining characteristics of Batman are his deep voice, Gotham City and the fact that he always shows up at the last minute.

The body can be divided into three subcategories:

Physical Description

Contextual description, emotional description.

Gives an in-depth physical description of the subject.

He was driving a black Honda Civic with Carolina plates. The passenger’s side window was bashed in, with shreds of glass all over the front seats and on the pavement where he packed the car. As he opened the driver’s side door, I noticed blood all over his right arm and the pocket area of his shorts.

Describes a subject in the given context (can be physical or temporal environment).

The sun was setting on the coast, and vehicles on the freeway were just beginning to turn on their lights. It started raining, and you could tell it was getting harder to keep the truck on the track. The fact that there were fewer cars (being a weekend) didn’t help the situation.

Describes the emotional effect of the subject on the people in the surrounding.

Every motorist and pedestrian scampered in different directions as he weaved through the traffic, ramming and sideswiping anyone in his way. Highway patrol units were getting increasingly agitated, with the situation taking a turn for the worst.

Summarises all the main points in the body text.

To many, the high-speed chase could have ended before it even started, but for me, there is no way he could let the boys in blue catch up with him. He had had a lot to drink for the night, was carrying a concealed weapon and, to cap it all up, he had outstanding warrants in several states. There was no way he was going down without a fight!

Descriptive Essay: A Vivid Description

Figurative language in descriptive essays involves the use of words in a non-literal way, such as metaphors and similes, to create memorable effects. Writing your content that way is essential since it opens up the window for creativity and distinguishes your essay from any other piece.

Here are the important things to consider when writing a descriptive essay:

  • Pick a Topic: A good descriptive essay focuses on a specific topic (subject, person or event) at all times. It is important to identify the purpose of your essay before you choose a topic, make an outline and begin writing. To choose a topic, brainstorm ideas or research essays that align with your interests.
  • Compile Details: You will need a lot of details in your descriptive essay since you have to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. So, once you have a topic, the next step is to list all the details, including physical characteristics, dates, sensory information and names. Basically, collect all the details and group them to make access easier as you write.
  • Create an Outline: An outline would help you write an organised descriptive essay. So, create an outline that lists the details to discuss/write about in each paragraph.
  • Write the Introduction: The introduction maps out your entire essay and lays down the foundation by providing background information regarding the subject. It should also have a hook that helps readers relate to the senses you are trying to tap into.
  • Write the Body: The body is made of multiple paragraphs. Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence introducing the subject. Follow the outline to parse out details and be as specific as possible without overwhelming the reader with too much info.
  • Write the Conclusion: Your conclusion summarises the primary details you have included in your body. Avoid introducing new ideas in the conclusion; rather, create a body paragraph if you feel there are some details you left out. Once you are done, do not forget to review and proofread your descriptive essay before submitting it.

What are the main characteristics of a descriptive essay?

Some of the main characteristics of descriptive essays include:

  • Vivid description
  • Figurative speech
  • Precise language
  • Thoughtful organisation

What is the purpose of a descriptive essay?

Descriptive essays are used to describe a place, thing or person in a way that creates a picture in the reader’s mind.

What is a descriptive essay?

A descriptive essay is a genre of writing that provides a vivid description of a subject, a procedure or an event.

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What is an Essay?

10 May, 2020

11 minutes read

Author:  Tomas White

Well, beyond a jumble of words usually around 2,000 words or so - what is an essay, exactly? Whether you’re taking English, sociology, history, biology, art, or a speech class, it’s likely you’ll have to write an essay or two. So how is an essay different than a research paper or a review? Let’s find out!

What is an essay

Defining the Term – What is an Essay?

The essay is a written piece that is designed to present an idea, propose an argument, express the emotion or initiate debate. It is a tool that is used to present writer’s ideas in a non-fictional way. Multiple applications of this type of writing go way beyond, providing political manifestos and art criticism as well as personal observations and reflections of the author.

what is an essay

An essay can be as short as 500 words, it can also be 5000 words or more.  However, most essays fall somewhere around 1000 to 3000 words ; this word range provides the writer enough space to thoroughly develop an argument and work to convince the reader of the author’s perspective regarding a particular issue.  The topics of essays are boundless: they can range from the best form of government to the benefits of eating peppermint leaves daily. As a professional provider of custom writing, our service has helped thousands of customers to turn in essays in various forms and disciplines.

Origins of the Essay

Over the course of more than six centuries essays were used to question assumptions, argue trivial opinions and to initiate global discussions. Let’s have a closer look into historical progress and various applications of this literary phenomenon to find out exactly what it is.

Today’s modern word “essay” can trace its roots back to the French “essayer” which translates closely to mean “to attempt” .  This is an apt name for this writing form because the essay’s ultimate purpose is to attempt to convince the audience of something.  An essay’s topic can range broadly and include everything from the best of Shakespeare’s plays to the joys of April.

The essay comes in many shapes and sizes; it can focus on a personal experience or a purely academic exploration of a topic.  Essays are classified as a subjective writing form because while they include expository elements, they can rely on personal narratives to support the writer’s viewpoint.  The essay genre includes a diverse array of academic writings ranging from literary criticism to meditations on the natural world.  Most typically, the essay exists as a shorter writing form; essays are rarely the length of a novel.  However, several historic examples, such as John Locke’s seminal work “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” just shows that a well-organized essay can be as long as a novel.

The Essay in Literature

The essay enjoys a long and renowned history in literature.  They first began gaining in popularity in the early 16 th century, and their popularity has continued today both with original writers and ghost writers.  Many readers prefer this short form in which the writer seems to speak directly to the reader, presenting a particular claim and working to defend it through a variety of means.  Not sure if you’ve ever read a great essay? You wouldn’t believe how many pieces of literature are actually nothing less than essays, or evolved into more complex structures from the essay. Check out this list of literary favorites:

  • The Book of My Lives by Aleksandar Hemon
  • Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
  • Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag
  • High-Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now and Never by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion
  • Naked by David Sedaris
  • Walden; or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

Pretty much as long as writers have had something to say, they’ve created essays to communicate their viewpoint on pretty much any topic you can think of!

Top essays in literature

The Essay in Academics

Not only are students required to read a variety of essays during their academic education, but they will likely be required to write several different kinds of essays throughout their scholastic career.  Don’t love to write?  Then consider working with a ghost essay writer !  While all essays require an introduction, body paragraphs in support of the argumentative thesis statement, and a conclusion, academic essays can take several different formats in the way they approach a topic.  Common essays required in high school, college, and post-graduate classes include:

Five paragraph essay

This is the most common type of a formal essay. The type of paper that students are usually exposed to when they first hear about the concept of the essay itself. It follows easy outline structure – an opening introduction paragraph; three body paragraphs to expand the thesis; and conclusion to sum it up.

Argumentative essay

These essays are commonly assigned to explore a controversial issue.  The goal is to identify the major positions on either side and work to support the side the writer agrees with while refuting the opposing side’s potential arguments.

Compare and Contrast essay

This essay compares two items, such as two poems, and works to identify similarities and differences, discussing the strength and weaknesses of each.  This essay can focus on more than just two items, however.  The point of this essay is to reveal new connections the reader may not have considered previously.

Definition essay

This essay has a sole purpose – defining a term or a concept in as much detail as possible. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, not quite. The most important part of the process is picking up the word. Before zooming it up under the microscope, make sure to choose something roomy so you can define it under multiple angles. The definition essay outline will reflect those angles and scopes.

Descriptive essay

Perhaps the most fun to write, this essay focuses on describing its subject using all five of the senses.  The writer aims to fully describe the topic; for example, a descriptive essay could aim to describe the ocean to someone who’s never seen it or the job of a teacher.  Descriptive essays rely heavily on detail and the paragraphs can be organized by sense.

Illustration essay

The purpose of this essay is to describe an idea, occasion or a concept with the help of clear and vocal examples. “Illustration” itself is handled in the body paragraphs section. Each of the statements, presented in the essay needs to be supported with several examples. Illustration essay helps the author to connect with his audience by breaking the barriers with real-life examples – clear and indisputable.

Informative Essay

Being one the basic essay types, the informative essay is as easy as it sounds from a technical standpoint. High school is where students usually encounter with informative essay first time. The purpose of this paper is to describe an idea, concept or any other abstract subject with the help of proper research and a generous amount of storytelling.

Narrative essay

This type of essay focuses on describing a certain event or experience, most often chronologically.  It could be a historic event or an ordinary day or month in a regular person’s life. Narrative essay proclaims a free approach to writing it, therefore it does not always require conventional attributes, like the outline. The narrative itself typically unfolds through a personal lens, and is thus considered to be a subjective form of writing.

Persuasive essay

The purpose of the persuasive essay is to provide the audience with a 360-view on the concept idea or certain topic – to persuade the reader to adopt a certain viewpoint. The viewpoints can range widely from why visiting the dentist is important to why dogs make the best pets to why blue is the best color.  Strong, persuasive language is a defining characteristic of this essay type.

Types of essays

The Essay in Art

Several other artistic mediums have adopted the essay as a means of communicating with their audience.  In the visual arts, such as painting or sculpting, the rough sketches of the final product are sometimes deemed essays.  Likewise, directors may opt to create a film essay which is similar to a documentary in that it offers a personal reflection on a relevant issue.  Finally, photographers often create photographic essays in which they use a series of photographs to tell a story, similar to a narrative or a descriptive essay.

Drawing the line – question answered

“What is an Essay?” is quite a polarizing question. On one hand, it can easily be answered in a couple of words. On the other, it is surely the most profound and self-established type of content there ever was. Going back through the history of the last five-six centuries helps us understand where did it come from and how it is being applied ever since.

If you must write an essay, follow these five important steps to works towards earning the “A” you want:

  • Understand and review the kind of essay you must write
  • Brainstorm your argument
  • Find research from reliable sources to support your perspective
  • Cite all sources parenthetically within the paper and on the Works Cited page
  • Follow all grammatical rules

Generally speaking, when you must write any type of essay, start sooner rather than later!  Don’t procrastinate – give yourself time to develop your perspective and work on crafting a unique and original approach to the topic.  Remember: it’s always a good idea to have another set of eyes (or three) look over your essay before handing in the final draft to your teacher or professor.  Don’t trust your fellow classmates?  Consider hiring an editor or a ghostwriter to help out!

If you are still unsure on whether you can cope with your task – you are in the right place to get help. HandMadeWriting is the perfect answer to the question “Who can write my essay?”

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Definition Essay

Barbara P

Definition Essay - Writing Guide, Examples and Tips

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Published on: Oct 9, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 31, 2024

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Many students struggle with writing definition essays due to a lack of clarity and precision in their explanations.

This obstructs them from effectively conveying the essence of the terms or concepts they are tasked with defining. Consequently, the essays may lack coherence, leaving readers confused and preventing them from grasping the intended meaning.

But don’t worry!

In this guide, we will delve into effective techniques and step-by-step approaches to help students craft an engaging definition essay.

Continue reading to learn the correct formation of a definition essay. 

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What is a Definition Essay?

Just as the name suggests, a definition essay defines and explains a term or a concept. Unlike a narrative essay, the purpose of writing this essay is only to inform the readers.

Writing this essay type can be deceivingly tricky. Some terms, concepts, and objects have concrete definitions when explained. In contrast others are solely based on the writer’s understanding and point of view.

A definition essay requires a writer to use different approaches when discussing a term. These approaches are the following:

  • Denotation - It is when you provide a literal or academic definition of the term.
  • Connotation - It is when the writer provides an implied meaning or definition of the term.
  • Enumeration - For this approach, a list is employed to define a term or a concept.
  • Analogy - It is a technique in which something is defined by implementing a comparison.
  • Negation - It is when you define a term by stating what it is not.

A single or combination of approaches can be used in the essay. 

Definition Essay Types

There are several types of definition essays that you may be asked to write, depending on the purpose and scope of the assignment. 

In this section, we will discuss some of the most common types of definition essays.

Descriptive Definition Essay 

This type of essay provides a detailed description of a term or concept, emphasizing its key features and characteristics. 

The goal of a descriptive definition essay is to help readers understand the term or concept in a more profound way.

Stipulative Definition Essay 

In a stipulative definition essay, the writer provides a unique definition of a term or concept. This type of essay is often used in academic settings to define a term in a particular field of study. 

The goal of a stipulative definition essay is to provide a precise and clear definition that is specific to the context of the essay.

Analytical Definition Essay 

This compare and contrast essay type involves analyzing a term or concept in-depth. Breaking it down into its component parts, and examining how they relate to each other. 

The goal of an analytical definition essay is to provide a more nuanced and detailed understanding of the term or concept being discussed.

Persuasive Definition Essay 

A persuasive definition essay is an argumentative essay that aims to persuade readers to accept a particular definition of a term or concept.

The writer presents their argument for the definition and uses evidence and examples to support their position.

Explanatory Definition Essay 

An explanatory definition essay is a type of expository essay . It aims to explain a complex term or concept in a way that is easy to understand for the reader. 

The writer breaks down the term or concept into simpler parts and provides examples and analogies to help readers understand it better.

Extended Definition Essay 

An extended definition essay goes beyond the definition of a word or concept and provides a more in-depth analysis and explanation. 

The goal of an extended definition essay is to provide a comprehensive understanding of a term, concept, or idea. This includes its history, origins, and cultural significance. 

How to Write a Definition Essay?

Writing a definition essay is simple if you know the correct procedure. This essay, like all the other formal pieces of documents, requires substantial planning and effective execution.

The following are the steps involved in writing a definition essay effectively:

Instead of choosing a term that has a concrete definition available, choose a word that is complicated . Complex expressions have abstract concepts that require a writer to explore deeper. Moreover, make sure that different people perceive the term selected differently. 

Once you have a word to draft your definition essay for, read the dictionary. These academic definitions are important as you can use them to compare your understanding with the official concept.

Drafting a definition essay is about stating the dictionary meaning and your explanation of the concept. So the writer needs to have some information about the term.

In addition to this, when exploring the term, make sure to check the term’s origin. The history of the word can make you discuss it in a better way.

Coming up with an exciting title for your essay is important. The essay topic will be the first thing that your readers will witness, so it should be catchy.

Creatively draft an essay topic that reflects meaning. In addition to this, the usage of the term in the title should be correctly done. The readers should get an idea of what the essay is about and what to expect from the document.

Now that you have a topic in hand, it is time to gather some relevant information. A definition essay is more than a mere explanation of the term. It represents the writer’s perception of the chosen term and the topic.

So having only personal opinions will not be enough to defend your point. Deeply research and gather information by consulting credible sources.

The gathered information needs to be organized to be understandable. The raw data needs to be arranged to give a structure to the content.

Here's a generic outline for a definition essay:

Are you searching for an in-depth guide on crafting a well-structured definition essay?Check out this definition essay outline blog!

6. Write the First Draft

Drafting each section correctly is a daunting task. Understanding what or what not to include in these sections requires a writer to choose wisely.

The start of your essay matters a lot. If it is on point and attractive, the readers will want to read the text. As the first part of the essay is the introduction , it is considered the first impression of your essay.

To write your definition essay introduction effectively, include the following information:

  • Start your essay with a catchy hook statement that is related to the topic and the term chosen.
  • State the generally known definition of the term. If the word chosen has multiple interpretations, select the most common one.
  • Provide background information precisely. Determine the origin of the term and other relevant information.
  • Shed light on the other unconventional concepts and definitions related to the term.
  • Decide on the side or stance you want to pick in your essay and develop a thesis statement .

After briefly introducing the topic, fully explain the concept in the body section . Provide all the details and evidence that will support the thesis statement. To draft this section professionally, add the following information:

  • A detailed explanation of the history of the term.
  • Analysis of the dictionary meaning and usage of the term.
  • A comparison and reflection of personal understanding and the researched data on the concept.

Once all the details are shared, give closure to your discussion. The last paragraph of the definition essay is the conclusion . The writer provides insight into the topic as a conclusion.

The concluding paragraphs include the following material:

  • Summary of the important points.
  • Restated thesis statement.
  • A final verdict on the topic.

7. Proofread and Edit

Although the writing process ends with the concluding paragraph, there is an additional step. It is important to proofread the essay once you are done writing. Proofread and revise your document a couple of times to make sure everything is perfect.

Before submitting your assignment, make edits, and fix all mistakes and errors.

If you want to learn more about how to write a definition essay, here is a video guide for you!

Definition Essay Structure 

The structure of a definition essay is similar to that of any other academic essay. It should consist of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

However, the focus of a definition essay is on defining and explaining a particular term or concept. 

In this section, we will discuss the structure of a definition essay in detail.


Get the idea of writing an introduction for a definition essay with this example:

Body Paragraphs

Here is an example of how to craft your definition essay body paragraph:

Types of the Term/Concept 

If applicable, the writer may want to include a section that discusses the different types or categories of the term or concept being defined. 

This section should explain the similarities and differences between the types, using examples and anecdotes to illustrate the points.

Examples of the Term/Concept in Action 

The writer should also include real-life examples of the term or concept being defined in action. 

This will help the reader better understand the term or concept in context and how it is used in everyday life.


This example will help you writing a conclusion fo you essay:

Definition Essay Examples

It is important to go through some examples and samples before writing an essay. This is to understand the writing process and structure of the assigned task well.

Following are some examples of definition essays to give our students a better idea of the concept. 

Understanding the Definition Essay

Definition Essay Example

Definition Essay About Friendship

Definition Essay About Love

Family Definition Essay

Success Definition Essay

Beauty Definition Essay

Definition Essay Topics

Selecting the right topic is challenging for other essay types. However, picking a suitable theme for a definition essay is equally tricky yet important. Pick an interesting subject to ensure maximum readership.

If you are facing writer’s block, here is a list of some great definition essay topics for your help. Choose from the list below and draft a compelling essay.

  • Authenticity
  • Sustainability
  • Mindfulness

Here are some more extended definition essay topics:

  • Social media addiction
  • Ethical implications of gene editing
  • Personalized learning in the digital age
  • Ecosystem services
  • Cultural assimilation versus cultural preservation
  • Sustainable fashion
  • Gender equality in the workplace
  • Financial literacy and its impact on personal finance
  • Ethical considerations in artificial intelligence
  • Welfare state and social safety nets

Need more topics? Check out this definition essay topics blog!

Definition Essay Writing Tips

Knowing the correct writing procedure is not enough if you are not aware of the essay’s small technicalities. To help students write a definition essay effortlessly, expert writers of CollegeEssay.org have gathered some simple tips.

These easy tips will make your assignment writing phase easy.

  • Choose an exciting yet informative topic for your essay.
  • When selecting the word, concept, or term for your essay, make sure you have the knowledge.
  • When consulting a dictionary for the definition, provide proper referencing as there are many choices available.
  • To make the essay informative and credible, always provide the origin and history of the term.
  • Highlight different meanings and interpretations of the term.
  • Discuss the transitions and evolution in the meaning of the term in any.
  • Provide your perspective and point of view on the chosen term.

Following these tips will guarantee you better grades in your academics.

By following the step-by-step approach explained in this guide, you will acquire the skills to craft an outstanding essay. 

Struggling with the thought, " write my college essay for m e"? Look no further.

Our dedicated definition essay writing service is here to craft the perfect essay that meets your academic needs.

For an extra edge, explore our AI essay writer , a tool designed to refine your essays to perfection. 

Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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definition descriptive essay


Descriptive Essay Examples, Definition, Characteristics, and Functions


Descriptive Essay Examples: Do you need some good descriptive essay examples to understand how it works? If yes, then note. This article is for you. Thus, continue reading to learn the basics of writing a descriptive essay. Also, this will come with some great descriptive essay examples. However, let’s begin by defining a descriptive essay.

What is Descriptive Essay?

Before introducing some descriptive essay examples , please note. A descriptive essay is an essay that describes a person, place, event, or a thing. And it does this in an in-depth and detailed manner.

Also, the aim of writing such an essay is to make the reader feel and see a certain thing, place, or person from your perspective. Furthermore, this type of descriptions are often found in literature . Also, they’re found in novels and dramas.

Characteristics of a Descriptive Essay

Before introducing some descriptive essay examples , please note. Below are some of the features of a descriptive essay:

  • It is clear and concise.
  • Also, it makes use of images.
  • Additionally, it makes use of five senses.

Also, please note. As far as clear and concise language is concerned, it is necessary to describe things precisely.

Furthermore, imagery is used to make things seem real and remarkable. While the use of the five senses creates the imagery, or a mental picture, for each reader.

What Your Description Essay Could Be About

Before introducing some descriptive essay examples , please note. Here’s a list of what your descriptive essay could be about:

  • It could be about people.
  • Also, it be about places.
  • Furthermore, it could about memories.
  • Additionally, it could be about your experiences.
  • More so, it could be about objects.

Some Functions of Descriptive Essay

Before introducing to some descriptive essay examples , please note. A descriptive essay presents a picture of a person, place, or thing. And it does this in a way that readers feel as if it is in front of their eyes.

Also, it presents things in a way that readers feel they are tasting it. Or that they can hear it, or that they can smell it.

Some Few Descriptive Essay Examples

Descriptive Essay Examples

Below are some Descriptive Essay examples in Literature:

The Corner Store  (by Eudora Welty) “Our Little Store rose right up from the sidewalk; standing in a street of family houses, it alone hadn’t any yard in front, any tree or flower bed. It was a plain frame building covered over with brick. Above the door, a little railed porch ran across on an upstairs level and four windows with shades were looking out. But I didn’t catch on to those. Running in out of the sun, you met what seemed total obscurity inside. There were almost tangible smells. Licorice recently sucked in a child’s cheek, dill pickle brine1. That had leaked through a paper sack in a fresh trail across the wooden floor. Ammonia-loaded ice that had been hoisted from wet croker sacks and slammed into the icebox with its sweet butter at the door. And perhaps the smell of still untrapped mice.” This description of the “Little Store” is not only clear and concise, but also has images and sensory information about the store building.
And the Orchestra Played On  (by Joanne Lipman) “The hinges creaked when I opened the decrepit case. I was greeted by a cascade of loose horsehair — my bow a victim of mites, the repairman later explained. It was pure agony to twist my fingers into position. But to my astonishment and that of my teenage children — who had never heard me play — I could still manage a sound. It turned out, a few days later, that there were 100 people just like me. When I showed up at a local school for rehearsal, there they were: five decades worth of former students. There were doctors and accountants, engineers and college professors. There were people who hadn’t played in decades, sitting alongside professionals like Mr. K.’s daughter Melanie, now a violinist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. There were generations of music teachers.” In the first paragraph of this descriptive excerpt, the author clearly describes the decrepit nature of the violin case, as well as the damage time has done to the bow. The second paragraph is a description of the characters, and their similarities.  Both use sensory information for effective descriptions.

Descriptive Essay Examples

Yarn  (by Koyoko Mori) “The yellow mittens I made in seventh-grade home economics proved that I dreamed in color. For the unit on knitting, we were 1 supposed to turn in a pair of mittens. The two hands had to be precisely the same size so that when we held them together, palm to palm, no extra stitches would stick out from the thumb, the tip of the fingers, or the cuff. Somewhere between making the fourth and the fifth mitten to fulfill this requirement, I dreamed that the ball of yellow yarn in my bag had turned green. Chartreuse, leaf, Granny Smith, lime, neon, acid green. The brightness was electric. I woke up knowing that I was, once again, doomed for a D in home ec.” See the use of colors in this paragraph by Koyoko Mori. This is called “pure description,” in that the description appeals to the senses. The use of word “brightness” in the last line is striking one.
The Taj Mahal  (by Salman Rushdie) “And this, finally, is why the Taj Mahal must be seen: to remind us that the world is real, that the sound is truer than the echo, the original more forceful than its image in a mirror. The beauty of beautiful things is still able, in these image-saturated times, to transcend imitations. And the Taj Mahal is, beyond the power of words to say it, a lovely thing, perhaps the loveliest of things.” Check this short description of the Taj Mahal by Salman Rushdie. This description presents a different picture of the Taj Mahal.

The above are some of the basic information you need to know about descriptive essay. However, as you practice writing this essay, note. You can learn from the descriptive essay examples shown above.

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    What is a Definition Essay? 2. Definition Essay Types 3. How to Write a Definition Essay? 4. Definition Essay Structure 5. Definition Essay Examples 6. Definition Essay Topics 7. Definition Essay Writing Tips

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