How To Write An Impactful Descriptive Essay
Wondering how to write an impressive descriptive essay? Writing a descriptive essay is both fun and challenging. You need to describe the main topic in detail and by engaging the five senses of the readers.
Scary? Dont be and continue reading to learn how to write a descriptive essay.
- 1. What is a Descriptive Essay?
- 2. What is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay?
- 3. How to Start a Descriptive Essay
- 3.1 Analyze
- 3.2 Physical Settings
- 3.3 Physical Features
- 3.4 Create Drama
- 3.5 Focus On Your Feelings
- 3.6 Use Of Specific Vocabulary
- 3.7 Psychological Aspects
- 3.8 Ask Yourself, WHY?
- 4. How To Write A Descriptive Essay?
- 5. Descriptive Essay Outline
- 5.1 Descriptive Essay Introduction
- 5.2 Descriptive Essay Thesis Statement
- 5.3 Descriptive Essay Body Paragraphs
- 5.4 Descriptive Essay Conclusion
- 5.5 Descriptive Essay Format Sample
- 6. Descriptive Essay Topics Ideas
- 7. Descriptive Essay Topics
- 8. Descriptive Essay Examples
Students usually get these essays in high school and college. Writing a descriptive essay is different than any other assignment as you need to focus on describing a certain person, place or event.
It is somewhat like a narrative essay because it explains the senses of touch, smell, vision and taste through words.
Descriptive essay writing focuses on the details, emotions, sentiments, and feelings that are not found in other essay types. This makes it both interesting and difficult to write.
1. What is a Descriptive Essay?
A descriptive essay is a detailed paper that describes a place, person, situation, an object, or emotions. Different people have different points of view and your job is to explain yours in detail.
You may be asked to write a descriptive essay about the beach or forest or about a person or situation. You may be asked to describe anything and the purpose of objective essay is to test the writer’s ability in expressing and explaining their experiences.
Descriptive writing should create a picture in the reader’s mind. You may be required to write a descriptive essay for an assignment or decided to write it as a college fun writing challenge.
For a compelling essay, using adjectives and adverbs, details, and figurative language is fundamental. Without proper usage of words, you will not be able to invoke the readers' emotions.
2. What is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay?
The purpose of a descriptive essay is to describe a person, place or anything in vivid detail so that the reader can create a picture in mind of what is being written.
The descriptive essay is written to get the reader to understand by using a descriptive language. Unlike narrative descriptive essays, where the writer tells the story about someone else that starts with a real life events and then the content follows the author's imagination.
Descriptive essays are not intended to persuade the reader or showing facts and figures to prove something. Descriptive essays are like word paintings that contain descriptive details and these are mostly assigned to students of creative writing.
3. How to Start a Descriptive Essay
A strong start for your descriptive essay is essential. Analyze your topic from every angle and document the following details:
Analyse the main subjects in detail and observe minute things.
- Start with observing all the possible aspects of the subject.
- Don't just observe the object but also its surroundings.
- Focus on details and features of the subject and develop opinions about them.
- Be thoughtful; this first step will be the basis for the essay.
3.2 Physical Settings
Describing the physical settings is a must in a descriptive essay. When describing, keep the following points in mind.
- Focus on the subject's position and observe nearby objects
- Note the time of day and kind of lighting: natural or imitated
- Physical settings: all the basic and decorative elements
- The position and shape of the objects
- Alignment and any other observable information
3.3 Physical Features
When describing the physical features of the subject, living or nonliving, consider the following points.
- Living or nonliving; describe the features in detail
- The subject's skin color, texture, smoothness, expression, and age
- The features of inanimate objects in the picture, color, surface and texture
3.4 Create Drama
Storytelling and drama is the life and blood of a good descriptive essay. It turns your essay into an exciting and interesting piece of writing. However, be subtle about adding drama to your sentence structure and add it to complement your story only.
3.5 Focus On Your Feelings
Focus on how you feel about the particular topic or person and stick to it. It is easy to get involved when working on the essay. But, focus on your own feelings and write an essay based on it.
3.6 Use Of Specific Vocabulary
Vocabulary is important. Select the best words for describing an action or object. Don't always use the first word that comes to mind.
Write slowly and thoughtfully, and use specific words to convey your thoughts.
Here is a brief vocabulary guide that demonstrates this:
3.7 Psychological Aspects
Writing about a certain situation or behavior of a person, focus on the mental aspects and emotions involved in them.
For Example, describe your emotions when your friend misplaced your notes right before the exam.
You may have several emotions in that incident. Maybe you were prepared for exams, but this situation put you under pressure and made you feel frustrated and hurt.
Explore those emotions and describe the feelings they aroused. Describe the body language also, if relevant.
3.8 Ask Yourself, WHY?
This is the most valuable tip for students. When you are looking at a particular subject, and having difficulty analyzing its aspects, ask yourself "WHY".
- Why is the subject the way it is?
- Why the person you are describing has such deep set and cold eyes?
- Why the animal is so wounded and terrified?
- Why the particular place is famous?
It is a good practice and after some time you will do it naturally. Knowing the why is important if you want to describe your topic properly.
4. How To Write A Descriptive Essay?
When you write a descriptive essay, you help your readers visualize an event, a person or story. It is written to make your readers feel what you feel about the respective subject.
A descriptive essay seeks to appeal to some or all of the audience’s five senses. Some key things to consider are:
- Discussing your subject thoroughly
- Focusing on details and adding them in your essay
- Sharing your personal feelings and experience about the subject
- Observing and describing all sensory details of your subject
Last but not the least, a descriptive essay should have a purpose. It could be anything from a lesson you learned to an experience that impacted your life. When writing an essay about yourself, start by thinking what five words best describe you? Or what are the different ways to describe a laugh when writing about your best friend.
It's all comes down to bringing creative ideas to life.
5. Descriptive Essay Outline
Like all the other essay, descriptive essay will require you to come with a specific format to follow throughout the essay content.
Before starting, it is important to create an outline. Following are the fundamental elements of your descriptive essay outline:
5.1 Descriptive Essay Introduction
The introduction sets the footing for the entire essay. Before heading towards the body section, the reader will come across the introduction.
It is the first impression of your work. It is very important to write an introduction in a way that it can convince the reader the continue reading the paper until the end.
Start the essay in an easy to understand way and language. Provide the background information on your topic so they can understand it and its importance.
To make sure the reader feels your emotions and decides to continue reading further, incorporate the following points in your introduction.
The following tips will guide you on how to write a good introduction for the descriptive essay.
- Attract the reader's attention with an interesting fact, phrase, or quote
- Don't bombard them with information
- Go straight to the main points
- Include enough information to introduce the topic and its significance.
- Summarize the argument and the main topic and craft your thesis statement
5.2 Descriptive Essay Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is an integral part of your essay. It focuses on the argument and the writer's main idea, that is to be discussed in the essay.
This statement also provides the writer with a chance of explaining the purpose and scope of the topic. It is intriguing and engaging.
Thesis statement is written at the end of the introduction, it is mainly a single sentence that describes the essay objective. The thesis statement should act as a guide to reader on what to expect in the essay body. It is like a table of contents of a book, by reading the contents you will get an idea of what the book is all about so you get to understand it better.
A good thesis should contain the following things:
- Define the essay scope - it should narrow down all the points to clarify its purpose.
- Avoid using common words - you should be creative with your choice of words.
- Create suspense - it should attract the reader to the body paragraphs of the essay.
For further information on how to write a thesis for a descriptive essay, check out the following examples.
- Descriptive essay example about a Place
For a place the thesis statement should start like this: “Even though monarchy is long gone, Buckingham Palace is here to remind us of the aesthetic beauty of that era.”
- Descriptive essay example about a Person
For a person the thesis statement should start like this: “One of the characteristics of Spider-Man is his youthfulness, and the fact that he talks to himself more than Hamlet.”
- Descriptive essay example about an Emotion
For an emotion the thesis statement should start like this: “For numerous reasons, the dark forest is my greatest fear, though not a fear which is necessarily smart to face.”
5.3 Descriptive Essay Body Paragraphs
Body paragraphs of the essay comes next after the introduction and thesis statement. It is the main part that continues your essay.
Usually, an essay consists of three body paragraphs but you can add more if needed.
Don't add more than one central ideas in one paragraph. Fusing different ideas will confuse the reader.
Build your paragraphs according to the thesis and introduction.
- Start each body paragraph with a main sentence
- Use transitions to move between paragraphs smoothly
- Each paragraph should be five to six sentences long
5.4 Descriptive Essay Conclusion
The concluding paragraph is the last part of an essay, and probably your last chance to impress your reader.
The last part that the reader can contain in mind is the conclusion and it is also the determiner of the grading level that you will be categorized. So pay attention to this important section.
To make it interesting and thought provoking, include the following points:
- Restate the thesis statement
- Summarize the main points
- Add an intriguing closing statement
After writing the conclusion make a review of your essay, identify the mistakes and maintain a good tone throughout the essay.
5.5 Descriptive Essay Format Sample
Here is the descriptive essay format to help you understand how you can showcase your ability to relay information about a particular experience.
6. Descriptive Essay Topics Ideas
Descriptive essay topics are often related to physical settings, locations, living beings and objects.
Make sure that your essay includes the five senses, touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing, or at least one of them. It depends on the topic and the kind of feeling that you want to arouse.
Below are some descriptive essay ideas and ways to achieve them.
6.1 Living Beings
When you want to write about a person, consider the following elements:
- Gender, age, complexion, and expressions
- Physical features
- Height, body type and approximate weight
- Kind of clothes
These details will add depth to the description and your readers will actually see your narrative.
When animals are the subject, you can add the above points plus the following details:
- Species and animal
- Size, weight, color
- Behavior patterns
- Trained or wild?
- Real or fictional?
6.2 Inanimate subjects
Geographic locations and structures
When your subject is a place or a building, add the following points:
- Research about the place and its historical background
- The color and the building's type
- A famous place or landmark to draw a comparison and inspire interest
Human behavior and psychology is a compelling descriptive essay subject. When writing about it:
- Describe the consequences of a particular behavior
- Discuss the emotional dimension of the topic and how you perceive it personally
Event Or Travel Experience
A travel experience makes a good descriptive essays, since you have experienced the event first hand.
Give a detailed description of the place, people at the venue and atmosphere of the location.
Idea, Concept, or Occupation
When writing on such topics, focus on how an idea or concept affects the society and its different aspects.
7. Descriptive Essay Topics
Choosing a topic for your descriptive essay is quite interesting. You get to choose something that you have an emotional connection with.
When writing a descriptive essay about a person or place, adding their personal traits will be helpful.
Some examples of descriptive essay topics include:
- Compose a detailed descriptive essay about your best friend.
- Describe a fancy place that you have created.
- Describe your dream vacation destination.
- Describe your favorite mall or store.
- Describe your childhood home.
- Descriptive essay about nature.
- Descriptive essay about a place you visited.
- Describe the personality of your Maths teacher.
- Discuss the main characters of your favorite movie.
- Descriptive essay about chocolate.
- Write and essay using unique Words to describe yourself.
- What makes me unique?
- My first love.
8. Descriptive Essay Examples
Study these descriptive essay samples to understand the main idea, structure and purpose of descriptive essays.
To help you understand how to write a great descriptive essay, we have a whole blog post dedicated to it. We know that talking about something is one thing and demonstrating it is completely different.
To get helpful examples of writing a well thought descriptive essay, please head on to our descriptive essay examples blog.
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