How to Write a Descriptive Essay: Topics, Outline,Examples

May 4, 2022 | 0 comments

May 4, 2022 | Guide, Writing Guide | 0 comments

Before writing your descriptive essay, you must understand the genre. While we can’t exactly put our hands around “descriptive essay,” we know that this type of essay is a genre of essay. This means that it has a certain structure, as all genres do. The main idea of a descriptive essay is to describe something—object, person, place, experience, emotion, situation, etc.

This article will elaborate more on how to write a good descriptive essay.

Read also: Oral Exam: 10 Tips For How To Prepare And Ace It

Descriptive Essay Definition

What is a Descriptive Essay? Descriptive essays are a piece of writing that is aimed at describing something. Usually, descriptive essays are written about things that can be seen, touched, smelled, or felt. These essays attempt to capture the mood and feeling associated with a subject by describing its various elements, including sights, sounds, and smells.

Descriptive essays also describe tangible objects and places to produce images in the readers’ minds. Descriptive essay topics are often chosen by people who want to describe an object that they love or even hate.

A descriptive essay is also a type of writing which creates mental pictures for its readers by describing things with details.

Difference Between a Description and a Descriptive Essay

There is a difference between a description and a descriptive essay. A description is a statement that tells about a person, place, thing, or idea. It can be a single sentence in length. A descriptive essay is longer than the average paragraph, and it is built around a detailed description of a person, building, place, situation, notion, etc. This writing aims to create images in the mind’s eye of your reader that make them able to see what you are describing in as much detail as possible.

A good descriptive essay needs to be carefully crafted so that the reader can picture what you are describing to them. If you notice that your descriptions aren’t working for your readers, you may have to go back and add more details or change up how you present those details to make the images clearer. Descriptive essays are used in many writing assignments, including short stories or memoirs, where they can act as the setting type descriptions. Still, they can also be used when writing personal essays where they help paint an overall picture of who you are through your observations and experiences on any subject matter.

The Issues that you Could describe in Your Paper

Writing a descriptive essay is one of the most common tasks in English literature. If you take a class that requires you to write essays, at least one of them will likely be a descriptive essay. A descriptive essay describes a person, place, or object in detail. You can also write about an event or a memory if they are significant enough. Whatever you choose to describe, remember that descriptive essays should have three major elements: details, senses, and personal opinion or perspective.

Two Classic Approaches to the Descriptive Essay

There are two classic ways to write a descriptive essay, and they’re both good. The first way is the personal approach. This is the one that writers often use when they want to give their readers a sense of what it’s like to be them or share something they’ve experienced with someone else. When you write in this way, your main goal is to make your readers feel like they were right there with you when you went through whatever experience you’re describing instead of just telling them about it.

The other way to write a descriptive essay is by using a formal approach. When using this method, your aim isn’t necessarily to make your reader feel like they were there—it’s more about giving information about an experience that happened in the past or somewhere else in general. While we might say a formal description “makes us feel like we were there,” this isn’t usually our top priority in writing—we’re more concerned with making sure our readers understand what happened, why it was significant, and whether it had any notable results.

If you haven’t tried writing either kind of descriptive essay before (or if you have but would still appreciate clarification on the differences), try each one out now:

1. Personal Essay

If you’re writing a descriptive essay, it’s vital to use strong descriptive language and imagery. As the descriptive essay writer, you need to involve the reader in your experience, so they can see and feel it too. Use figurative language so that the reader can create a vivid mental picture of what you’re describing. The ability to paint pictures with words is one of the most powerful tools in writing: eliciting emotions and bringing experiences, places, and people on paper.

The key elements of any good descriptive personal essay are as follows:

  • Hook – Start with an interesting fact or observation (An example of a descriptive essay hook: “I spent all day digging holes in my backyard, which means I now know more about excavation than I ever wanted to”). This should get the attention of your intended audience right away.
  • Body – Continue giving specific details about whatever you’re describing (for example: “I began at 7 am when the sun was already beating down and turning my green shirt sweat-soaked”). You can start building up your imagery using metaphors or similes (“My shovel felt like an extension of me,” for example).
  • Conclusion – Draw together all your different points from throughout your body paragraphs, then end by reminding readers why this was important (“This work has taught me valuable lessons about working hard towards goals that seem far away until you start making progress; but also about accepting things I cannot change”).

2. Formal Description essay

What is the purpose of a descriptive essay? Formal description essays are written for academic purposes. Unlike other essays, you won’t need to prove your point. The main purpose of a formal descriptive essay is to inform the readers about a particular subject or topic.

Since this kind of essay requires a lot of research and data collection, you should narrow down your topic to completely focus on it. For example, if you want to write about art, don’t randomly select any masterpieces from various eras. Instead, focus on one painting and describe it in detail.

It would help if you wrote a formal descriptive essay in chronological order. This means that your paper should start with an introduction, and the subsequent paragraphs should form a sequence that is easy for readers to follow and understand

Descriptive Narrative Essay Topics & Ideas

Finding descriptive essay topics isn’t hard. You need to think about your interests and experiences; pick out the things that make you most interested. And then you’ll be able to find what you like to write about without much trouble. It’s an easy thing to do—and we’re going to show you how it’s done.

Describe a Person

For this essay, you will describe a person in such detail that the reader can see this person standing before them. You will use your senses to provide a strong image for the reader.

  • Pick someone famous (or not). -Describe what they are wearing, carrying, and doing. -Use all five senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing) to describe them. -Add details that bring this person alive for the reader.

Describe an Object or a Place

If you’re writing a descriptive essay, you’ll need to describe an object or a place. The rules for doing so are quite simple:

  • Write your essay in the present tense, not the past
  • Write about the subject objectively (meaning don’t interject your own opinions or biases)
  • Describe what it looks like (color, dimensions, texture), how it’s used (what people do with it or what happens to it), and any relevant backstory behind its existence.

Describe an Emotion

Describing an emotion is trickier because it’s more abstract, but you can still use the same technique. The most important thing to do is describe it with sensory details that your readers will be able to relate to. For instance, if you describe someone excited, don’t just say that they’re excited—show them jumping up and down and smiling from ear to ear. This will make the emotion much more believable in your readers’ minds. Or, if you want to talk about how a person’s body reacts when they’re angry, mention things like their blood pressure rising or their hands clenching into fists, again using sensory details that others can relate to.

Here are some examples of emotions you can describe:

  • Excitement
  • Sadness
  • Happiness
  • Anger

Describe According to Human Senses

The five senses are good to start when writing descriptive essay. It is important to remember that, although the five senses allow us to perceive the world around us, other ways of sensing are important to describe. For instance, if you were describing roses, you would explain:

  • their appearance (their color, shape)
  • their texture (smooth or rough)
  • their smell
  • what they feel like in your hand
  • how they make you feel

Creating a Descriptive Essay Outline

A descriptive essay outline is key to successfully crafting a robust and cohesive piece of writing. When you consider the best way to write a descriptive essay, you’ve got two options: start writing, or make an outline first. If the former feels more natural to you, it’s time to try out the latter. An outline gives your descriptive essay ideas a much-needed structure and keeps you on the topic while also helping you see the big picture of your writing.

You can use this outline to plan out your descriptive essay writing:

  • Introduction: Create an attention-grabbing lead that will leave readers hungry for more. The introduction sets up your thesis by introducing the topic and explaining why it’s interesting or relevant. It’s written last because it must be shaped around whatever pops into your head while outlining.
  • Body Paragraphs: Each body paragraph should have three parts—first, a transition from the previous paragraph; second, descriptions that support your thesis; and third, explain how these descriptions support your thesis. The body paragraphs come before the conclusion because they are focused on proving one point of your argument (usually some aspect of description).
  • Conclusion: Conclusions don’t need much description because most of their job is summarizing what has already been said in the body paragraphs before ending with a general statement about how all these elements support your argument (thesis).

Introduction of a Descriptive Essay

The introduction of a descriptive essay should get to the heart of what your essay is all about, so introduce the subject matter clearly and concisely. It’s helpful to include specific examples that you’ll expand on later in your essay. Depending on the overall length of your essay, you may do this in a single sentence, or it may require a few sentences. There are several ways to do this, but here are three approaches that often work well:

Introduce the topic with a question: If you ask an interesting question as an introduction, readers will want to learn more about how you answer it. However, be careful not to use questions that could have simple yes/no answers — for example, “Have you ever been to Italy?” is much less interesting than “What was it like when you first saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa?”

Introduce the topic with a quote: A particularly powerful quote can be engaging. Make sure it’s relevant and appropriate for your subject matter — perhaps there’s something especially evocative or surprising about it. For example, if we were writing about my dog Finnegan, we might start by saying something like, “A house without a dog is not a home.” (This happens to be true in our house.)

Introduce the topic with a story: A brief anecdote can help draw readers into your essay and give them some background on what you’ll be discussing. It doesn’t need to belong or be detailed — just intriguing enough for readers to want more information. For example, if we were describing Finnegan again, we might write about how he loves chasing squirrels in our backyard by saying something like, “It’s hard not to laugh when I see him take off after a squirrel he spotted. From across the yard.”

Body Paragraph(s) of a Descriptive Essay

Using precise language, including sensory details and emotional descriptions, is the essential thing you can do to paint a vivid picture for your readers. Instead of just reading about it, you want them to feel like they are experiencing what you are writing about. As we said before, it’s all about creating the right atmosphere and providing as much sensory detail as possible. This can be done by:

  • Using vivid language
  • Using five senses (sight, taste, touch, smell, and sound)
  • Using metaphors and similes
  • Using short sentences
  • Using short paragraphs
  • Using simple words that everybody knows—no technical jargon or complex vocabulary required!

Descriptive Essay Conclusion

Useful tips for writing a conclusion to a descriptive essay

  • Make sure to summarize your essay and not just restate your thesis statement. A conclusion should give the reader a reason to care about your paper. If you start with “My father is the best,” don’t end with “So there.”
  • Don’t introduce any new information in your conclusion. Give the audience something to think about after they finish reading your essay. A conclusion should give completeness to your paper. Ending it on a positive note would be a good practice. It’s not about introducing new ideas but summing up your writing. The goal is to restate the thesis, summarize the essay’s body, and leave readers with a final impression.
  • If you want readers to remember your descriptive essay, make sure its conclusion contains an impactful statement that will linger in their minds long after they’re done reading.

How to write a Good Descriptive Essay

Writing a descriptive essay is not as easy as it sounds. But, if you have the right tools and preparation, you can do it.

The first step in writing a descriptive essay is to choose who or what you will be describing. In this case, we will be describing your favorite place to study on campus.

Next, you will want to outline your essay. In this outline, write down everything that comes to mind about your writing prompt and everything that could pertain to it (depending on how long or short your essay needs to be). You can also include things that are not relevant but would still draw in your readers (make sure these are accurate descriptions, though).

After outlining, begin writing. How to start a descriptive essay? Start with an introduction and include a thesis statement at the end of it (unless this is not the type of paper that requires one). Then start writing about whether the place you plan to study has tables or chairs, lighting, air conditioning/heating, screens or windows, etc.

After finishing up with all of these questions, go back through and make sure there aren’t any spelling mistakes – finding these now saves time later. After proofreading, get feedback from others who have read what you have written so far before getting peer editing done by someone else. Peer editing should only take around five minutes if done correctly because chances are they can find some errors too! If no one was able to edit your paper after peer editing, then ask someone else close to you, such as a younger sibling or friend, if they didn’t mind looking over your work either (again, still checking for spelling mistakes)

Examples of Descriptive Essay

Have you ever wondered about writing a descriptive essay example? Descriptive essay examples are also fun to read as they tend to be humorous. Here are descriptive essay examples about a person and a descriptive essay examples about a place,

Final Thoughts on writing a Descriptive Essay

Overall, writing a descriptive essay is easy, but it can take a lot of time and effort to complete. The more you practice, the better your descriptive essays will become. Remember that each detail must be connected to your main topic and support it somehow.

A well-written descriptive essay should have the ability to bring out all the emotions of your readers so they can easily imagine what you are describing in their minds. After reading your essay, they should feel like they know you as a person or met you at some point in their lives. That’s how a descriptive essay example about a person creates imagery to the reader.

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