How to Write a Descriptive Essay

What is descriptive essay definition?

One of the best writing assignments where students can express their creativity is a descriptive essay. Its purpose is pretty much obvious – to create an interesting and vivid description of something meaningful for the student. The best part is that this format allows a considerable amount of artistic independence and a wide range of possible topics. People, events, experiences, objects, memories, places, you name it! But the aim is not to produce a dry and formal description of the subject. On the contrary, students should write a vibrant and engaging essay that will penetrate into the readers’ hearts.

The emphasis is not on what students wrote about but how it’s done and what emotional reactions it can trigger. In most cases it’s done by appealing to five essential human senses – feel, sight, taste, smell, and hearing. Common to all people, they help to describe emotions of another person in detail. With the help of relevant sensory details and bright examples, students can wrap their feelings into words and almost show their subject to the readers. All students should remember a popular idiom while writing this paper which says that a picture is worth a thousand words.

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The first step of descriptive writing is to choose a topic. In case your professor has already assigned you with one, then half of your task is practically done. You just need to describe your personal experience that suits the subject in an engaging way. But if you have to come up with your own topic, don’t panic and concentrate on the most valuable things in your life that you would like to share. Be that the person that has saved your life in a positive way or the event that completely changed your attitude to the world, keep in mind the principal aim of your work – to deliver a vivid, all-inclusive description to explain your readers the message you try to convey.

Why do you need a descriptive essay outline?

After you have selected the topic which you are eager to write about, it’s time to organize your essay in such a way that your readers are able to feel, see, or hear your emotions. If you don’t know how to start your essay, interest the readers, or express your ideas, follow our guidelines and you will understand how to write a good essay. What can help you structure your thoughts and ideas as well as render them more coherently is the descriptive essay outline. It’s better to prepare it beforehand to determine a necessary order of the ideas you are going to use to support your topic. If outline seems to be a waste of time, don’t forget that structure is of prime importance for every essay type and often facilitates a tiresome process of essay writing. Treat it as a guide that helps you to appeal to your readers’ five senses.

The main elements of a typical descriptive essay structure are the following:

This part is important due to several reasons. First of all, in this paragraph you have to present your work to the readers and introduce basic information they should be aware of. A proper introduction should explain the aim of the paper, what you are going to describe, and why this event/person/memory is valuable. But don’t give away everything interesting about your topic immediately, just necessary details! Next, you need to grab your readers’ attention.

It’s not complicated to do if your introduction includes a compelling hook sentence. This can be an exciting piece of information about your topic, an engaging detail, or a shocking fact that will intrigue the readers. And last but not least – your thesis statement. The same as in other essay types, this is the essence of your work, a concise description of the idea you are going to explore in your paper.

Principal paragraphs. As the objectives of your essay can vary, the length of this section differs greatly. In general, it should include three or more paragraphs each dedicated to another aspect of your subject. It’s a big plus if every paragraph has a topic sentence where a new idea or thought is introduced. It makes the flow of your essay smooth and helps the readers to see the connection between different parts of your work.

But remember that as the essay progresses, sensory details should be used to appeal to readers’ senses. But the golden rule is to use only relevant details not to fill your work with redundant information. Depending on the way your descriptive essay develops, it can be organized in three different patterns – chronologically, spatially, or by importance. Chronological order is used when events are described as it deals with the order of time in the essay and the story develops scene by scene.

The spatial order will be useful if you choose to describe a place as it deals with the order of space. Every paragraph is connected with a certain location or different angles of one with new details. If you want to develop your essay due to the level of importance of certain aspects of your topic, then this so-called climatic order is the perfect choice for your essay. It can also be applied to any subject you decide to write about.

The end of your work should logically summarize everything that was discussed in the main section. Write a brief overview of why you have used so many words to describe this particular subject. It won’t be superfluous if you mention once again the key aspects of your paper to highlight their significance. Concentrate on the impact this topic had on your life as it’s what interests your readers most. And make sure that your paper ends with a proper clincher, the last sentence to reinforce the objectives of your descriptive essay and make the final impression on the audience. You can use a quotation of a famous person or a relevant saying to finalize your thoughts on the matter. Be creative, and you will leave a lasting impression on your readers!

The finest descriptive essay examples

While creating a descriptive essay – whatever your topic is – make it in such a way that the readers will be able to understand what was happening in your head while you were experiencing it. Moreover, don’t forget about an interesting begging of the paper. Provide your readers with brief background information to put them in the picture. If, for instance, you write about living in a big city, indicate your attitude to the topic and impressions: “Seeing the light of the big city for the first, you either get enchanted with it or reject for forever. In my case, that was the love from the first sight.” Use expressive vocabulary to describe your feelings and the general atmosphere of the work.

If you describe your weekly visits to your grandma, the sentence like “When our car pulled near the house of my grandmother’s house, I was always filled with joy.” That would be better if you make it more descriptive: “Driving with my parents and a younger brother has never been my favorite pastime. But if we were heading to my Nana’s nest, as she called it, the result was worth the torture. After spending several hours on the back seat with my brother, the moment when my father pulled near her house was a real blessing. I knew she was there, standing near the window, with a table groaning with food. And all the teasing of my brother couldn’t stop me from running to the porch to hug my best friend, my Nana.”

As you have understood, an exemplary descriptive essay can’t be written without a suitable topic. To pick up a topic that can improve your academic ratings and provide enough material to consider, you need to look inside your head to find a topic that you like and are willing to write about. One of the most common subjects chosen by students for this essay type is important people in their lives. If you decide to write about a person, you can choose whatever person you want to – your parents, close relatives, school teachers, friends, neighbors, fictional character, etc. But you need to know about this person, their lives, traits of characters, significant moments they have experienced, and others.

For instance, you can describe a person that is a perfect role model for you. But to create a well-rounded impression on your readers, it’s not enough to deliver a stiff and colorless description of their lives. The topic has to reveal in what way your communication with this person influenced your life and why it remains important. Another subject to describe can be a certain place about which you have strong or warm feelings. In most cases, these are the places connected with your childhood or school.

The backyard of your granny’s house, the kindergarten where you met your best friend, the kitchen in your old flat where your mum backed pancakes on Sundays, and many others. You will definitely find one after a bit of thinking. It’s closely connected with your memories that can touch the heartstrings of your readers as all of us have warm and comforting memories of our past. You just need to refresh them.

Any topic will work for you if it reveals your emotions, any of them – happiness, anger, misery, satisfaction, patience, etc. As emotions are closely bound with memories, they are easier to write about. There are many significant moments in our lives that can be described. For instance, you can describe a situation when your life took a complete 180-degree turn and what were the consequences. Or when you first went out of your comfort zone to achieve your goal even though you were frightened. Even objects can be used to generate an interesting essay – things you are sentimental about, something you would like to pass to your children or objects which remind you of important achievements.

In case you are sitting in front of your computer wondering a topic to describe, here are possible variants of descriptive topics. Consider it a boost of inspiration to generate your own paper. If you need to consult well-structured essay examples, we have a large database of free sample you can use wherever you want. Also, these free examples come in handy when you feel that the battery of your creativity needs to be recharged. They are available 24/7 to students from all corners of the world. Feel free to choose any topic you fancy from the list below or create your own one:

  1. The brightest childhood memory.
  2. Vacation of a lifetime.
  3. The house of my dreams.
  4. The day my world exploded.
  5. The person who taught me kindness.
  6. The first day of a new life.
  7. A life-changing event that I have almost missed.
  8. This is how happiness looks like.
  9. An ideal summer morning.
  10. My mother – my spiritual life.
  11. Why I will never forget my school teacher.
  12. Things that made me stronger.
  13. A failure is not the end.
  14. How I managed to overcome my biggest fear.
  15. A famous person I look up to.
  16. The night I understood what sympathy is.
  17. A class to remember.
  18. My grandmother’s charms.
  19. The long road to acceptance.
  20. How my childhood talisman helped me solve a problem.

Descriptive essay is among the most typical tasks given to students during their studies. As its aim is to influence the five senses of your readers, it needs to be written in a creative and original way. If you have troubles with writing any part of this essay, structuring the material, or choosing the relevant vocabulary, we can provide you professional assistance.

Experienced writers have a high level of proficiency which allows them to answer even the trickiest questions. They are skilled in providing you with necessary help on every stage of the writing process. We know how to stress out the most important things, bring memories to life, and transform feelings into words.

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