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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.

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.

This means that words are chosen carefully, particularly for their relevancy in relation to that which you are intending to describe.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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Descriptive Essay

Caleb S.

Descriptive Essay - A Complete Guide

10 min read

Published on: Aug 18, 2018

Last updated on: Feb 28, 2023

descriptive essay

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Are you eager to write compelling descriptive essays but don't know how to start? 

A descriptive essay describes something - a person, an event, a place, or a personal experience in detail. The purpose of this essay is to provide enough detail about the topic to enable the reader to picture it.

If you want to learn how to write an excellent descriptive essay, this blog is for you!

Here’s a complete guide to help you write good descriptive essays. Along with a step-by-step guide, you’ll also get impressive example essays to learn from.

So let’s get into it!

What Is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay gives a detailed description of the topic and paints a picture with words in the reader’s mind. It could be about an object, place, person, emotion, situation, or anything. 

It is used to sharpen the analytical abilities of the students, which is helpful in further education and professional life. Therefore, it is often given to students in high school and college.

According to the descriptive essay definition,

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

This essay encourages the student’s ability to create an image by appealing to the senses of the reader. 

Purpose of a Descriptive Essay

The purpose of writing a descriptive essay is to describe something such as a person, object, place, or situation.

Descriptive speech or essays give readers a clear picture of the essay subject. The writer should make use of vivid language to help the reader understand what the essay is all about.

It does not involve convincing readers or showing factual information to prove something like an  argumentative essay  does. Instead, it aims to show all the important details about the chosen subject to make the reader understand the subject easily.

Here’s a short video that explains descriptive writing:

Types of Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essays can come in two types: formal and personal. 

Personal Descriptive Essay

The personal descriptive essay is a subjective descriptive essay. It aims to describe the writers' own feelings and perceptions of the topic. 

It is often written in a first-person point-of-view, allowing readers to understand the writer's personal experiences.

Here are a few examples of personal essay topics:

Formal Descriptive Essay

The formal descriptive essay is an objective descriptive essay. It relies on facts and evidence to describe the object or event – without using any emotion or opinion from the writer. 

These essays are valuable in the sciences or other fields of study where finding accurate information is crucial. They are often used to write academic papers, such as research reports.

Some possible topics for formal descriptions could be:

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Elements of a Descriptive Essay

There are five basic features of a descriptive essay: 

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.

Using figurative language is one of the main elements of a descriptive essay. The use of metaphors, similes, adjectives, 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.

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.

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.

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?

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

The following is the process of descriptive writing.

How to Start a Descriptive Essay 

1. choose a topic.

Choosing a good topic for your essay is important. The essay topic should be attractive so that it compels the reader to stay with you throughout the essay.

2. Create an Outline

Draft a  descriptive essay outline  to organize your information in a proper sequence. It will help you structure your essay and remind you to include all the sensory details.

3. Write a Descriptive Essay Introduction

The essay begins with an introduction. It introduces the main topic and includes a strong opinion that creates the first impression of the essay. The introduction gives a brief overview of what the essay is going to be about.

4. Craft an Informative Thesis Statement

A descriptive essay 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.

Writing the Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs support the introduction and follow the direction as defined in the thesis statement. Here’s how you write a body paragraph:

Finally, make sure that body paragraphs are connected to each other through transition words or phrases.

Ending with a Strong Descriptive Essay Conclusion

The conclusion is the last part of the essay according to the descriptive essay format. This is your last chance to impress the reader.

It summarizes and provides a way forward from the essay. The following steps will help you write an excellent conclusion.

The last sentence of the essay should finalize the writer’s aim of writing the essay and provide an everlasting effect.

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.

Descriptive Essay About a Place

Descriptive Essay About a Memory

Descriptive Essay About a Person

Descriptive Essay About an Object

Descriptive Essay About an Emotion

Descriptive Essay Topics for University Students

Want more topics? We’ve got a list of hundreds of descriptive essay topics for you, so be sure to check them out. 

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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

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

Tips for Writing a Descriptive Essay 

Here are some tips for writing a descriptive essay:

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 writing a descriptive essay.

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You can hire a custom descriptive essay writer from MyPerfectWords.com . They will make your essay writing process simple and smooth. 

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Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

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How to Write a Descriptive Essay

define 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 EssayPro — political science essay 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

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:

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:

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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.

Describe a Person

Pick a person who you know well—doing so gives you a lot to write about. Choose from family members, friends, teachers, etc. You can even write about a celebrity who exposes most of their private life to the media: The Kardashians, Kanye West, or Taylor Swift for instance. A famous superhero like Spider-Man is also interesting. Such fictional figures have undergone many character studies from both academic and non-academic perspectives.

Examples: Why my father is my favourite person. How Kim Kardashian changed my life.

Describe an Object or a Place

You may also describe an object or a place with which you have a special connection. This could be your high school, a playground, or a toy which used to scare you as a kid. Fictional places also count!

Examples: My native city – Paris My trip to London

Describe an Emotion

Remember the most sincere emotion you’ve experienced and turn it into a descriptive essay writing. You may choose a strong feeling like anger, happiness, loss, desire, or rage. It doesn’t have to be a personal emotion, it could be an observed one.

Examples: How love changed me Hatred and love – how they are similar

You can also write a descriptive essay about anything you can describe according to human senses: touch, sight, taste, smell, or hearing.


Creating a Descriptive Essay Outline

When thinking about descriptive essay writing, 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:

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


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:

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:

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:

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Writing and Reviewing Your Descriptive Paper Writing

Writing the paper consists of the following stages:

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:

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.

define descriptive essay

Descriptive Essay: Video Guide

‍ descriptive essay good examples.

This is a commonly assigned and most opted-for form of an essay. Why not have a look at our written descriptive essay examples. In this section, you can find some of the top examples and quotes followed by some critique.

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.
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.

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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

Difference between a description and a descriptive essay, 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.”

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.”

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.”

Function of Descriptive Essay

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Origin of descriptive

Other words from descriptive, words nearby descriptive, words related to descriptive, how to use descriptive in a sentence.

Like Conway and Wolpert, he put his descriptive name into the titles of his work, not just the body.

Euclid’s Elements is full of common, descriptive names, even though he was drawing on discoveries made by many different people.

Every field has terms of art, but when those terms are descriptive , they are easier to memorize.

By now, descriptive alt texts should be best practice for all content teams.

A number of them — and I think it’s either misleading or not very descriptive — will call it the “bystander effect,” but that doesn’t tell you whether the bystander effect is to increase or decrease reporting.

She avoids an exhaustively descriptive definition because she opposes condemning all novels based on the flaws of some novels.

When you mail it in or bring it back, you include descriptive words that would lead a consumer to your work.

And so we are all supposed to denote something from “working mother” as a descriptive adjective.

The name is descriptive : they are extremely intense bursts of gamma rays, the highest energy form of light.

It was descriptive , prescriptive, and exemplary in its clarity.

His Characters, in imitation of Theophrastus, is a work of established excellence, and descriptive of the manners of that age.

As Mrs. Armine looked at him she remembered the descriptive phrase that set him apart from all the people of Luxor.

In one of them, descriptive of antediluvial history, is a painting of Lamech shooting Cain with a bow and arrow.

These things are beyond my knowledge, which it would perhaps be more descriptive to call ignorance.

Save incidentally—for he did send descriptive articles to The Daily Gazette—he was not out on professional business.

British Dictionary definitions for descriptive

Derived forms of descriptive.

Cambridge Dictionary

Meaning of descriptive in English

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What Is a Descriptive Essay?

The descriptive essay writer may use vivid language.

Essay assignments include different forms of the genre, including expository, descriptive, narrative and persuasive. In a descriptive essay, the student describes a person, memory, situation, place, experience or any object. In contrast to other types of essays, the descriptive essay allows the writer to use many figures of speech, enabling him to create a powerful image of what he is describing.

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1 Structure

While the descriptive essay does not have a set structure, well-organized writing generally produces a better reader response than a list of incoherent or unrelated descriptions. As with other essay forms, the simplest structure of a descriptive essay consists of an introduction, the body of the essay and conclusions.

2 The Senses

The senses play a major role in a descriptive essay. The writer appeals to the senses of the reader, describing in as great detail as possible how the object looks, feels, sounds and smells. Visualizing what he is describing allows the writer to make the visual image sharper and easier for the reader to imagine.

3 Vivid Language

All well-written descriptive essays rely on the rich descriptive vocabulary of the English language. To make the descriptive essay more interesting, the writer spices up his prose with vivid words. He may use "stallion" instead of "horse," for example, or write "the city of light" when referring to Paris. Other literary devices the writer can employ include the metaphor, descriptive adjectives, the analogy and oxymoron -- putting together two words that contradict each other, such as "bittersweet." The wording of descriptive essays is concise and the writer uses vivid language only where it adds to the description and does not make it confusing.

4 Emotions and Feelings

Emotions and feelings distinguish descriptive essays from what reads like a news article or a dictionary entry, transforming the essay into a work of literature. To add an emotional dimension to his essay, the student employs a range of literary devices, including exclamation marks, hyperbole and puns, while taking care to avoid allowing emotion to carry the reader away from a clear understanding of the object of description.

About the Author

Kate Coen has been writing professionally since 1996. She has written for "The Guardian," "Time" magazine, "SIX Magazine," Reuters, Bloomberg and other media. Coen holds a Bachelor of Arts in modern languages (French and Spanish) from Oxford University.

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Descriptive Essay



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"The fog comes / on little cat feet." 1 In his poem, "Fog," Carl Sandburg captures the essence of fog by describing it in a pretty unusual way. Yet, fog does move like a cat — silently, smoothly, and disappearing as suddenly as it arrives. Notice how much more interesting Sandburg's description is than simply stating that it's foggy?

In a descriptive essay assignment, use sensory and figurative language to help your reader form a picture in their mind. You can divide descriptive essays into three broad formats (a personal essay, formal description, or impressionistic description) and, from there, into a myriad of topics. After you've chosen your topic, brainstormed your ideas, and created your outline, you can follow the standard format to write your essay.

Fun fact: myriad technically means the number ten thousand!

Descriptive Essay, Colorful books, StudySmarter

Descriptive Essay Definition

As the name suggests, when writing a descriptive essay, you aim to describe something thoroughly from a personal, formal, or impressionistic perspective. Descriptive essays share some characteristics with narrative essays, but descriptive and narrative essays' end goals are different.

A narrative essay explores a theme using narrative techniques, while a descriptive essay illustrates an object, place, or concept thoroughly.

Descriptive Essay Formats

You can categorize a descriptive essay as a:

Sensory Details

Sensory details refer to the features of the five senses — taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell. When you use sensory details appropriately to describe your subject, you create a moving experience for the audience. As a result, they become emotionally invested and eager to read more. There are a couple of points to keep in mind when using sensory details:

Descriptive Essay. Cubist face. StudySmarter.

Showing Versus Telling

Which is more engaging: Sandburg's creative description of fog or a lengthy, scientific explanation of fog? Where appropriate, using figurative language to communicate the subject of your essay to the reader can create more interest than simply explaining the idea.

Examples of figurative language include:

Do the figurative language examples seem really, really familiar to you? Yes? They are all clichés, meaning they are images that have been used too often. If you want your writing to sound unique, avoid clichés like the plague.

Descriptive Essay Topics

You will be describing the topic of your descriptive paper in minute detail, so it's crucial to pick one that excites you. Here are a few example descriptive essay categories and topics:

A Person/Animal

Learning to write a descriptive essay is important because it teaches you how to focus on your writing style and vocabulary. When you describe something in the level of detail a descriptive paper requires, it shows you a different way of engaging with the world around you.

Descriptive Essay Structure

Structure your descriptive essay into a traditional essay format with an introduction , body paragraphs , and a conclusion .

Open your essay with a hook to get the reader's attention by choosing a thought-provoking quote or statistic related to your topic or asking a question. Then, introduce the subject by relating it to the hook. Finally, include your thesis statement in the last sentence of the introduction.

Body Paragraphs

The number of body paragraphs you include will depend on the topic and breadth of your essay, but usually, you should include at least three . Focus each body paragraph on a specific feature of your thesis . At the end of each body paragraph, wind down with a transition sentence that carries the subject to the next element or the conclusion .

Wrap up the essay by rewording your subject's thesis and central points. Don't introduce new ideas . The conclusion is the final impression, so keep the energy level consistent .

Descriptive Essay Outline

Before you sketch your outline, give some thought to researching your essay topic. Sources are not usually required for descriptive essays, but pictures, letters, text messages, and conversations can provide vivid details. In addition, brainstorming helps you decide which features make the most sense to include in the essay and how to include them. Experiment with the description 's sequence when you write the outline.

Once you have everything figured out, your outline should look something like this:

I. Introduction

A. Hook (e.g., a statistic or quote)

B. Connection between the topic and hook

C. Thesis statement

II. Body paragraphs (number of paragraphs will vary)

A. Main point of the paragraph

B. Description of the main point

C. Transition to the next paragraph or conclusion

III. Conclusion

A. summary of the thesis

B. Summary of the main points

C. Final impression

Descriptive Essay Example

The following example of an abbreviated descriptive essay will give you an idea of what a completed descriptive essay assignment could look like:

Around 11% of Americans have a panic attack every year. 2 For years, I was rushed to the emergency room, sometimes weekly, sure that I was dying. It became more frustrating every time doctors said nothing was wrong with me and sometimes treated me like I was just trying to get drugs. Blood work and vitals were within normal limits, so I was a hysterical patient in their eyes. But, in my eyes, they were missing something. My heart was pounding, I was dizzy, and my chest hurt. A voice loop in my brain kept telling me this wasn't a panic attack, but a panic attack happens unexpectedly, leaving you feeling out of control and like you could die.

My first panic attack happened when I was walking with my kids. The world shifted to the left, and my son asked me a question, but all I could hear was a tinny buzz and a whirl of thoughts fighting with each other, some screaming, "I'm going to die!" and others ordering me to "act normal, don't scare the kids." There's a python wrapped around me, waiting for me to exhale so it can squeeze slightly tighter after every breath , and I freeze because the sidewalk is marshmallow under my feet. The trees stand their ground, brilliantly green leaves fingering the sunlight. I run my hand along a nearby trunk, and its cat tongue bark gives me a lick. The breeze pricks at my skin, giving me goosebumps while I create patterns in the tree's bark — dark lines merging into wizened faces, into pits and curves, taking a chance to smile at my son when the python's grip slips a bit. The image of pretending to be a willow tree while I was in ballet pops into my head. My roots grounded, arms branched and lazily waving. They undulate like a python . Finally, the python slithers away, and I ask my son what was he saying. I had never felt anything like that before.

In a list of many, one of the unnerving things about panic attacks is that they can happen at any time. In addition, their symptoms can mimic serious health emergencies such as a stroke or heart attack. Your brain says you are under attack, and it takes practice to believe otherwise — lots of practice.

Have a look at some of the author's techniques:

The descriptive essay example is personal and impressionistic . It discusses an event that affected the author's life in a way that attempts to make the audience feel something. The long sentence structure mimics the feeling of racing thoughts. The words " buzz " and " pops " are examples of onomatopoeia . The metaphors and simile develop images in the reader's mind. Hyperbole expresses the physical sensation and irrational thoughts.

Onomatopoeia: when a word mimics the sound it describes.

Descriptive Essay, Blank pictures waiting for words to develop, StudySmarter

Descriptive Essay - Key takeaways

1 Sandburg, Carl. "Fog." Chicago Poems . 1916.

2 "Panic Disorder." Cleveland Clinic . 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions about Descriptive Essay

--> what is a descriptive essay.

A descriptive essay describes an object, place, or concept in deep detail.

--> What are some descriptive essay topics?

Some descriptive essay topics are:

--> Why is learning to write a descriptive essay important?

Learning to write a descriptive essay is important because it teaches you how to focus on your writing style and vocabulary. When you describe something in the level of detail a descriptive paper requires, it also teaches you a different way of engaging with the world around you.

--> How do you write a descriptive essay?

You write a descriptive essay using sensory images and figurative language to create a picture of the subject for the reader.

--> What are some examples of a descriptive essay?

Examples of descriptive essays include:

Final Descriptive Essay Quiz

Why is learning to write a descriptive essay important?

Show answer

All of the above

Show question

A _____ describes an object, place, or concept in deep detail.

Descriptive essay

What are some types of figurative language?

A _____ is an image or saying that has been overused. 

Why should you follow a consistent pattern in your description?

You should follow a consistent pattern in your description because if you don't, it creates a disjointed image in the reader's mind.

Why should you research you descriptive essay topic?

Researching your descriptive essay topic helps you include concrete details in your writing.

What is a personal descriptive essay?

A personal descriptive essay describes an event that affected the author's life.

A(n) _____ essay creates an impersonal, photograph-quality image of a subject.

Formal description

A(n) _____ essay attempts to create an emotional reaction with its description.


True or False: You can combine descriptive essay formats.

True: Descriptive essay formats can be combined depending on the subject.

A(n) _____ essay describes an experience that affected your life.

It is substituting one thing for another to draw an association.

It  compares two things using "like" or "as."

It  gives an object human-like characteristics.

It is an exaggerated   description.

It is  an object that represents something else.

It is  a description of a personal experience that affected your life.

Personal essay

It is   an impersonal, precise report of the subject's characteristics — you are like a camera.

It is  using descriptive language to create an emotional response in the reader.

Impressionistic description

They are pictures, letters, text messages, and conversations that can provide vivid details.

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The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples

Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 6, 2021.

An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.

Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type. 

In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.

Table of contents

Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, frequently asked questions about types of essays.

An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.

Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.

The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:

The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.

Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.

The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.

A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

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A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.

Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.

A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.

Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.

Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.

A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.

Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.

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.

Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.

Rhetorical analysis

A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.

The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.

The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.

The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.

King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.

Literary analysis

A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.

Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.

The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.

Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.

At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.

Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”

The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.

Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

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.

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Descriptive Essay – Definition, How To Write Guide, Examples

define descriptive essay

When asked to write a descriptive essay, what are you being asked? What is expected of you? These and related questions are what we will answer in this article?

Also known as the “how-to” form of essay, the descriptive essay is an extremely practical type of composition used when a writer wishes to express something using words.

The descriptive essay might be based on personal experience, observation or imagination. It allows the writer to define a topic through sensory details that appeal to the reader’s five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

When it comes to writing good essays you need some ideas for topics you can write about. There are many places where you can find great descriptive essay topics for instance

Whether you are in middle school, high school, or college getting writing assignments on the descriptive essay is a common thing in school.

Though the assignment’s magnitude at each educational level may be different, it all follows the same criteria. 

Let us now define what we mean by descriptive writing:

What is a descriptive essay

A descriptive essay by definition is a piece of writing that requires a student to describe something . It could be a person, an emotion, an opinion, an object, to name a few.

Descriptive writing is meant to create a mental picture for the reader. By using the right writing style, the writer is able to achieve this. It helps one utilize their creative side by painting a person using words. 

Features and structure of a descriptive essay

An essay has various aspects that make it up. These are;

It follows a simple pattern. That is, it has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

A descriptive essay aims to capture the reader’s attention. The writer ensures that the reader’s senses of smell, touch, hear, taste, and see are involved. Through the senses, the reader is able to visualize what the writer is describing.

A descriptive essay relies on language to pass across its message. The writer uses different writing styles, such as imagery, metaphors, similes, and others, to make the article interesting. In the use of language, however, a writer should be keen not to confuse the reader by using complicated words.

The writer expresses his feelings and emotions in the essay. In doing so, he/she can connect with the reader. However, the writer should ensure they do not get too engrossed in their emotions and drift away from the main objective. 

What is written in a descriptive essay?

As stated before, in a descriptive essay, different things are described. These include;

The list is endless for things you can write a descriptive essay about. Check the most popular descriptive essay topics to write about .

Structure of a descriptive essay

As mentioned, any descriptive essay has three parts .


An essay introduction : This is the starting point of the essay. It is the head. Here one writes briefly mentions what is to be described. The thesis statement is also stated here.

In starting an essay, you first divide it into sections. You have an introduction, the body, and a conclusion. In the body, have at least three or more paragraphs 

Write down your thesis statement . It is the main idea behind the essay. It is usually a one-sentence statement. 

In the introduction:

Read more on how to start a descriptive essay the best way

The body paragraphs:

The body section: It elaborates more on the essay thesis statement . The body of the essay is the central part; it has three or more paragraphs. Each paragraph presents an independent point, which is supported by the shreds of evidence. Unlike the introduction, the body is highly detailed.


An essay conclusion : This is the final part of the essay. It is a final summary of the whole paper. The writer touches slightly on each point discussed and the thesis statement .

The last sentence brings the piece to an end. It can be a question or even a quote. It is intended to give the readers something to think about. 

How To Conclude A Descriptive Essay

In ending your essay , once you are done with writing the body, read everything from the introduction. Connect everything with the initial aim of the essay. Has it been delivered? If yes, they summarize everything. If not, revise the paper and make the necessary adjustments.

Learn more: how to end a descriptive essay

This is a the basic structure of writing a descriptive paper on any topic.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay Step by Step

A descriptive essay is one of the easiest essays to write, especially if you have a clear picture of what you want to describe. However, even with a clear picture, it can be difficult to put your thoughts into words and create a good essay.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to write a descriptive essay step by step.

With our help, your descriptive essay will be both enjoyable to write and easy to read.

Step 1: Choose Your Subject:

The first step in writing a descriptive essay is to choose your subject. This can be an object, person, place, memory, or experience.

It’s important to choose a subject that you have plenty of information on so that you can create a detailed and interesting essay.

Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas:

Once you’ve chosen your subject, it’s time to brainstorm ideas for your essay. What are the most important details you want to include? What are some sensory details or emotions that you want to evoke?

Once you have a list of ideas, start narrowing them down until you have a solid list of three or four main points that you want to make about your subject.

Step 3: Write Your Thesis Statement:

Once you know what points you want to make in your essay, you can write your thesis statement. This should be one sentence that sums up the main idea of your essay. For example, if you were writing about a certain colour, you might say “The colour blue is calming and serene.”

If you were writing about someone special in your life, you might say “My grandmother is the most important person in my life.” By having a clear thesis statement, you will make sure that all of your ideas stay on topic and support your main point.

Step 4: Write Your Introduction Paragraph:

After writing your thesis statement, the next step is to write your introduction paragraph. This should be one paragraph long and should provide background information on your topic as well as introduce your thesis statement. For example, if you were writing about blueberries, you might include information on where they grow, how they’re harvested, and what makes them so delicious. If you were writing about someone in your family, you might include information on when they were born and what their defining personality traits are.

Once you’ve written your introduction paragraph, it’s time to move on to writing the body of your essay .

Step 5: Write Your Body Paragraphs:

Each body paragraph should be one small part of the overall picture that is your essay. For example, if you’re writing 3 paragraphs about different aspects of blueberries, each paragraph should focus on just one aspect such as taste, smell, or texture.

In each paragraph, you’ll want to include specific details as well as descriptions to help readers imagine the scene that you’re describing. You’ll also want to use strong verbs and adjectives to bring your descriptions to life.

Make sure that each sentence flows smoothly into the next so that readers can easily follow along. Don’t forget to cite any outside sources that you use in each body paragraph.

Step 6: Write the Conclusion:

The conclusion paragraph should summarize descriptive content and leave readers with a strong final impression of what was described.

Include a final thought or two tying everything back to your thesis statement.

Make sure that the last sentence of your essay paper reads smoothly so that it sounds natural and not forced.

Step 7: Proofreading and Editing:

Re-read the entire essay out loud several times to make sure nothing is choppy or doesn’t sound quite right before handing it in for grading.

7 Descriptive Essay Writing Steps: Overview

With these steps, you can easily write a high-quality descriptive essay paper that surely will impress your teacher and get a good grade.

Tips for writing descriptive essays that will score top marks

Here are some important tips to use that will help you write better descriptive essays for high school or college.

Improve Your Descriptive Writing: Video

define descriptive essay

A Sample Descriptive Essay

Here is a sample descriptive essay shared by the members of our community to guide you to write your descriptive essay. For more samples on how to write great descriptive essay papers, follow: descriptive essay examples

The sunset in Florida is one of the prettiest sights I’ve ever seen. The sky is a mix between shades of orange, pink and purple. It’s like an artist painted this beautiful scenery with bright colors to show off his talent. I live in Florida for about 5 years already and every time people ask me where is my favorite place here, I always answer the same – Miami Beach! In my opinion it’s the most beautiful part of the state – not only because of the sandy white beach but also because there are lots of amusement parks here. There are even “Disney World” Orlando which was specially built for all Disney fans!

My first trip to Miami Beach was when I was just 3 years old. I remember very well how excited my parents were to show me this city that they love so much. They wanted to introduce me all the interesting places of their home town and took me to explore them. We went to different parks, aquariums, shops. I especially liked when we visited Museum Miami Beach where there is a huge collection of paintings from the famous painters.

But what impressed me most was an underwater world exhibition – it’s like you’re swimming with dolphins and sharks! Such a cool experience and my best memory from this trip. When we finally returned back home after a long day out, I fell asleep on the car seat right away. Next morning my parents woke up early work and I didn’t want them to go.. but of course, had to.

   Fast forward almost a decade – now I’m going on vacation by myself, to the same place that my parents took me before – Miami Beach. I am still amazed that after all this time nothing changed much and my holiday destination still looks like in pictures! Every corner has its own history and no two days are the same because there are so many interesting places around here.

This is how you write a descriptive essay about your favorite holiday destination . This is probably a high school level descriptive essay (taken from high school assignment help section), if you need help writing a descriptive essay, checkout our write my essay for me and essay writing help service .

If you need more help writing assignments, read on: how to write an essay .

Writing a descriptive essay is easy. Once you have the discussion topic, go ahead, and write down every detail that describes your case. Have transitional words in your piece to connect everything into a single paper. Ensure the choice of words capture the readers’ attention and have a strong closing remark.

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What Is a Descriptive Essay? Examples and Guide

definition of "descriptive essay" from the article

Have you ever had a really delicious cookie? Just the most perfectly balanced sweetness with chunks of melty chocolate and a little salt to bring it all together? And have you described it to a friend, family member, or curious stranger? If you’re nodding your head, you have already partaken in the writing tradition known as the descriptive essay (at least a little bit). With some polishing and tightening up, you can turn that description of a baked good into an award-winning piece of writing.

What Is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is sort of what it says on the tin. It’s a type of essay that involves describing a person or object, though it can really extend to any sort of noun , like a place, event, experience, or emotion. If you think that seems pretty broad, you’re right. You’re technically describing something in every essay. 

What makes the descriptive essay notable is that focus on description  — the details, colors, feelings, sights, and sounds. Some descriptive essays might have a slight argument in their theses, but it’s not really a requirement. Your thesis statement could be as simple as “I had a cookie that changed my entire life.”

You can think of “descriptive essay” as more of an umbrella category. It can encompass other essay types , particularly analytical essays , expository essays , and personal narrative essays .

Ideas for Descriptive Essay Topics

Truly, the hardest part of descriptive essays is coming up with a topic. You really do have your entire world to potentially write about, which is understandably daunting for anyone.

Just remember that you can quite literally describe anything as long as you yourself find it interesting enough to write about. That might include:

General Format and Structure of a Descriptive Essay

There isn’t a set format for descriptive essays. A lot of it really comes down to the subject that you’re describing and your own approach to how you experience things, and it turns out that we all experience and see things differently. 

A good outline structure that you can start with might look like this.

Obviously, if you have a different angle, go with that. For example, if you’re going more for a personal essay, the structure might have more of a narrative (beginning, middle, end) format.

Descriptive Essay Examples

With a better understanding of how to approach a descriptive essay, you’re ready to prosper and write an essay of your own. We can’t write your essay for you because we don’t know your subject, but you will absolutely have more interesting and insightful descriptions than us. However, if you need some tips for writing descriptive essays , we can give you a descriptive essay example to guide your way.

labeled descriptive essay example from the article

Example of a Descriptive Essay Introduction

Your introduction exists to provide a little background context for your essay. What’s difficult with a descriptive essay is that you want your introduction to intrigue without giving away too much of your description (that’s what the body of your essay is for).

Home is where the heart is, but not everyone has the same heart. For some, a home is four walls, some furniture, and a fireplace. For others, home is a cactus, sand dunes, and a nearby oasis. Comfort is subjective, and the only comfort I have known is from the mud and gunk of my humble swamp.

Sample Body Paragraph for a Descriptive Essay

Unlike with other essay forms, you do not have to worry about providing evidence. You obviously can if you think it’ll help you with your description, but it’s largely about you and your experience of the subject. Outside evidence is purely secondary at that point.

A swamp, a bog, a quagmire, whatever you might call it, my swamp is the only place I would ever consider home. The climate ranges with the season, and the mud pits offer a surprising level of insulation from the weather, never too hot or too cold. Nights are filled with the sounds of crickets, toads, and the wayward donkey, the soft sounds of the angry village in the distance.

Descriptive Essay Conclusion Example

The crux of your descriptive essay will feel mostly concrete as it focuses on the subject at hand and your experience of it through the five senses. The conclusion is where you can go outside of that, and expand outward to include larger ideas and themes. In fact, if you really wanted, you could use the conclusion to essentially create an opinion or argument that could become the thesis for an entirely different essay.

To many, the swamp might seem like a scary and unwelcoming space, but for me, that is part of its charm. It is a place of warmth and love if you look close enough, and much like an onion, it is a place of layers. The humble bog may be the most ideal environment to live, and yet part of its appeal is that it is not for everyone. That is the ideal home; a place that perfectly fits you.

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Structure of Descriptive Essay

Writing a Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay is considered to be extremely powerful in its sole purpose. It stimulates to feel and imagine provoking smells, sensations, and visions. An impression lies at the very heart of a good descriptive essay. Originally, it creates the atmosphere in your essay paper.

Descriptive Essay: Definition and Meaning

We share our moods and impressions through descriptive essay writing. The very important thing is to involve all possible sensory details. All sights, touches, smells, sounds and tastes must help the reader to see the same picture that the writer has in his / her mind. It must be mentioned, that descriptive essay writing requires avoidance of the same patterns in the sentences. The writer should use figurative and vivid language. Try to combine descriptive sentences smoothly and avoid general words. The picture must be clear, not vague.

Writing an Effective Descriptive Essay You Must:

In this manner, we see that a descriptive essay is based on detailed observation and characterization.

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Descriptive Essay Structure

The main aim of a descriptive essay is not simply to describe a particular object, place, person or situation, but to make your reader see and feel the same you do. In other words, you should try to reproduce your thoughts on the paper. Obviously, you must write in accordance with the particular structure, which usually contains:

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There are some helpful tips for proper descriptive essay structuring :

To compose a brilliant essay, try to adhere to all these guidelines. Remember that facts and examples are less important than your writer’s ability to create a vivid picture. Make your readers feel and imagine and do your best to give them a complete perception. Let them create a whole picture in their minds. Illustrate the most important details using all human senses, bring a subject to life, and you will succeed.

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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:

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:

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?”

Best Essay Writing Services

Best Essay Writing Services 2023

Student life can often be quite challenging because students have to deal with challenging college essay writing assignments. To facilitate the learning process, many services help you complete written work and get high scores. Now we will tell you about the best services that you can turn to and get high-quality papers. Essay Writing Service […]

A life lesson in Romeo and Juliet taught by death

A life lesson in Romeo and Juliet taught by death

Due to human nature, we draw conclusions only when life gives us a lesson since the experience of others is not so effective and powerful. Therefore, when analyzing and sorting out common problems we face, we may trace a parallel with well-known book characters or real historical figures. Moreover, we often compare our situations with […]

Nursing Research Paper Topics

Nursing Research Paper Topics

Selecting an academic paper topic is a crucial step in the writing process. The variety of nursing research topics makes it challenging to find the appropriate paper theme. But if you choose a sound nursing research paper subject, it will contribute to a flawless thesis statement, using relevant resources, a smooth writing process, and impressive […]

Descriptive Essay Writing

Cathy A.

Descriptive Essay: Definition, Tips & Examples

12 min read

Published on: May 24, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023

Descriptive Essay Writing

On This Page On This Page

A descriptive essay is the most popular type of essay writing. They are based on the writer’s personal thoughts. High school students usually go for a descriptive essay because this genre of essay allows the student to think broadly.

However, the writing process for this type of essay does not require a lot of research. It allows you to describe your thoughts in your own way.

Descriptive essays are quite similar to the narrative essay because it describes the sense of smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight through words. A descriptive essay provides in-depth details of the event, place, or incident.

Wondering how to write a good descriptive essay? Read our article and write a flawless descriptive essay with descriptive essay samples.

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What is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a type of essay which asks the students to give a description of something; for example, a person, place, incident, or an emotion, or an event. It is a detailed description, where the writer is painting a picture in words.

Different people have different thoughts and points of view. A descriptive essay allows you to explain your point of view in your own way. You should give a description of every aspect of the topic so that a reader can feel as if he has personally experienced that.

A good description will bring the reader to the actual happening of the event. Every point has to come out clearly so that the reader won’t be left in suspense. To write a perfect descriptive essay, you need to learn how to draw a real picture in the reader’s mind. A descriptive essay needs a creative mind.

What is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay?

The descriptive essay describes an event, a person, an emotion, or anything. The actual purpose of a descriptive essay is to provide a real image to the reader through a detailed description.

Unlike argumentative essays, a writer can use vivid language to bring an actual image into the reader’s mind, where the writer has to persuade the reader by providing facts and logic.

The descriptive essay uses the power of language to activate the five human senses, including touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing. This type of essay is usually assigned to the creative students so that they can bring their creativity on the paper as well as in the reader’s mind.

Features of Descriptive Essay

There are five basic features of a descriptive essay that distinguishes it from other writing types.

Let's discuss them in detail.

Make sure that your descriptive writing is based on these elements to ensure its effectiveness and success.

Descriptive Essay Format

All formal writing types, including descriptive papers, require a proper format to be readable and understandable. Therefore, before starting your essay, you should create an outline of your essay. It will help you organize your essay.

List the point of discussion of each paragraph. List all the main points of each paragraph. This essay type is written using the basic essay outline. The standard 5-paragraph essay consists of one paragraph of introduction, followed by three body paragraphs, and the conclusion paragraph.

Descriptive Essay Outline Template

How to Start a Descriptive Essay?

As a name implies, a descriptive essay is a form of essay that describes something – place, person, emotion, or event. This genre allows students to think creatively. If you want to connect with the reader on a deeper level, you should describe all the feelings and emotions related to your topic. And, if you are unable to connect with the reader try, try again!

Writing a strong descriptive essay requires a writer to form a strong plan. Following are the steps involved in the pre-writing or planning procedure of a good descriptive essay:

Follow the below-mentioned steps to finally begin your writing procedure for the descriptive essay:

Usually, professors assign the topic for a descriptive essay. But, if you have a choice to select a topic, then you have a great chance to select something which you know a lot about.

Descriptive essay revolves around a single point, i.e., a person, an event, or a location. While writing a descriptive essay, it is the reader’s duty to convey a detailed description of the topic. So, while choosing a topic, a writer needs to keep that in mind.

The next step is brainstorming about the selected topic. At this point, think of all the relevant points that exactly describe your topic.

Brainstorm every little detail about your topic. Note down everything on paper. Organize the points and try to make sense.

After the brainstorming session, develop a strong thesis statement. It is a very crucial part of the whole essay because it will be a prominent part of the essay.

Your thesis statement should be designed to present the crux of the whole essay and set out the topic framework. It should be strong enough to guide the reader on what to expect in the body.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay

When you have drafted a plan for your essay, it is time to execute it effectively. The writing process of your essay will only get simpler if you have taken all the required pre-writing steps.

An introduction is the entry point of your essay. It should be designed to grab the reader’s attention. Usually, it sets the mood for the entire essay. Introduce the reader to the topic and what the essay will be about.

Do not put all the details here; just give a brief introduction to the main topic.

Start the introductory paragraph with suspense so that you can capture the eye of the reader. You can even pose a question so that the reader tries to find the answer in your essay and continue reading.

Give a brief introduction. Describe the topic in 2 or 3 sentences by using vivid language. Use clear and concise language that leaves the reader in a satisfying situation. Use of adjectives and adverbs will also help you write good sentences.

The body part gives you the freedom to write the details about your selected topic. Here you have 3 to 4 paragraphs where you can paint a picture in the reader’s mind through vivid language, persuading dialogues, or images.

This part should support your thesis. Describe all the points in detail. The idea should come out at the beginning.

The paragraphs should be interlinked by good transition words. Organize your paragraphs in a way that they make sense.

As you are telling a story, create some drama. Make your essay an exciting and interesting piece of writing. Focus on your feeling and write exactly what you have experienced.

Do not try to exaggerate things. Stick to your point!

The use of good vocabulary is very important. The language should be clear and concise. Choose the best word for your essay description. Without the usage of proper words, you won’t be able to invoke the readers’ emotions.

Choose the vivid language that serves the better image of your topic. Use your senses to appeal to the reader. Write slowly and thoughtfully, and use good words to convey your feelings. Be organized and leave the reader with a clear impression.

Finally, the conclusion paragraph presents a summary of the whole essay. It should reaffirm the thesis statement. It should be well organized and well written. It is the last thing that a reader is going to read and it will leave the final impression.

It is the last chance to impress the reader. So, you need to pay all attention to this section. Restate your thesis statement and give a short reminder to the reader what the essay was required to cover. Make a good final statement so that the reader can leave thinking about your essay.

Proofread your essay to make a review. You can identify the mistakes and correct your tone. Go through your essay 2 or 3 times so that you can identify all the mistakes and correct them before final submission.

Do not rely on autocorrect; sometimes your wrong word is also a word, i.e. “is” or “in”. Autocorrect won’t identify it as a problem, and it will change the whole meaning of the sentence. Take a short break from your work. Stepping away from your work allows you to clear your mind and relax your eyes.

After taking a break, read your essay from the reader’s perspective.

Does it making sense? Is it engaging? Is it appealing? Is the tone polite?

Are your words good enough? Is it conveying the exact image of what you had in your mind?

If your essay is answering all of the questions, you are good to go. But, if not, then you might have to correct the problem and rethink all the things which you have missed. Follow the same procedure again and again until you get to the desired image of your topic.

Descriptive Essay Examples

Below are presented some examples to help you draft your descriptive essays professionally. Follow the structure and score well in your academics.

Descriptive Essay Example About a Person

Descriptive Essay Example About an Event

Descriptive Essay Example About a Place

Descriptive Essay Topics

Choosing the right topic is very important. Because you are going to write all the tiny details of your topic. So, choose something which you know a lot about.

A descriptive essay includes writing about a person, event, emotion, a feeling. Make sure your essay engages all the 5 senses, taste, touch, smell, view, hearing, of the reader, or at least one of them.

Have a look at some popular descriptive essay topics.

Descriptive Essay Topics About a Person

Descriptive Essay About an Event

Writing about an event is quite an interesting thing. You have a lot of things to describe, people over there, the food, the environment, and many more things. The first thing that you need to define is what kind of event you are going to write about.

When you write an essay on an even you should consider the following things:

Descriptive Essay Topics About an Event

Descriptive Essay Topics About a Place

Essay writing is an essential part of academic writing, and descriptive essay writing is one of them. The descriptive essay is one of the most popular types of essays in high school. It gives the students freedom of thinking, as a writer is allowed to paint a picture for the reader in simple words.

But writing an essay first draft requires practice and good writing skills. So if you doubt your skills, get a professional’s help online.

CollegeEssay.org is an essay writing company that provides custom services and high-quality essays and papers. Be it a simple descriptive essay or a complex  college essay  our writers can provide quality assistance.

Simply place an  order  to get amazing content written at the best price.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 elements of descriptive writing.

The four elements of descriptive writing are: 

What are the 2 types of description?

The two types of description are: 

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Descriptive Essay Writing

Descriptive Essay Writing Tips + FREE Examples

Patricia Stones

College professors assign many academic tasks to students. Academic papers range from essays, dissertations, and term papers to book reports, case studies and thesis papers , among other forms of works. All these tasks are important since they represent the effort you have put into learning. For a good GPA, you have to do every essay properly.

When it comes to writing essays, college students will have to deal with many different types. A descriptive essay is one of the essays you are going to encounter during the learning period. To stand out and get a grade that can propel you towards academic success, you have to prepare these essays expertly.

Table of Contents

What Is a Descriptive Essay?

The first step towards knowing how to write the different types of essays is your ability to distinguish them and learn how to approach them. For instance, you should know the fundamental differences between descriptive and the other essay types. The mistake most students make is that they begin work on tasks that they do not understand. You can have a look at our free descriptive writing examples to fully understand what’s this type of essay like.

Definition of a Descriptive Essay

What is a descriptive essay? It is an essay type in which one is expected to describe a location like a beautiful beach location, writing about a person, an event, or an experience you have had. The professors want to know if you can express yourself properly when the situation demands you. One skill that comes in handy in these works is your ability to narrate events sequentially. For the best results, you need to provide a vivid description of the subject matter. Even the readers who do not know the person or event should have a mental picture of what you are describing. Everything you write should come out clearly.

There are many types of descriptive essays that you can be directed to write. The most important are:

Human essay

Place essay, occupation essay.

For an essay of this nature, you can be asked to describe yourself or someone prominent. The things you can mention in this case include the appearance of the person, their actions, personality, and general behavior in different situations.

You may have visited a place, and you fell in love with it. Therefore, you can opt to write about the aspects of the location that are memorable. The professor should picture the destination based on the description you provide.

There are also jobs that you love and would like to write about. You can describe the qualifications one needs to work on the job, the reasons why you love it, and the things that make it admirable.

Definition essay

A definition descriptive essay aims to describe and analyze a certain definition related to the subject matter at hand. Is this definition full? Correct? Expert enough? Such questions are to be answered in a definition essay .

Above are the descriptive essay ideas that you can adopt in your work. Otherwise, you can also consult our experts if you are unsure of how to write a descriptive essay. We make your work easier.

How Do You Choose Good Descriptive Essay Topics

Any essay begins with the type of topic you choose. If you settle on a complicated subject, you may not complete the task successfully. For instance, you may end up doing your research for too long but still end up submitting substandard content.

What are the things to consider for the best descriptive essay topics?

Pick Something You Can Handle Passionately

Take events and experiences you can recall clearly, the topic scope is important for you.

Writing begins in mind. When you write on something you love, you are likely to work on it more passionately compared to someone who picks on a topic they do not like. Therefore, pick on something you have a strong feeling about. That way, the chances of writing a top-notch essay are high.

The flow of narration when writing a descriptive essay is important. The professor should easily follow the piece and award you good grades based on the ease of comprehending the message communicated. To test that you have a topic that you can write on effectively, have a list of possible events. Brainstorm on what you can recall about them. Pick on the one that you have a clear chain of events and adequate information.

There is a word count or work volume that is specified with every essay task that is issued. You should neither exceed nor write words that are below the specifications. Therefore, you need to pick on a subject you are sure to cover within the word count directive.

If you do not have the expertise and experience required in choosing topics, you may not yield the best results. Therefore, it is good to seek assistance. Fortunately, we have experts who have dealt with such tasks for many years. They understand the type of subjects that impress professors. Therefore, you can have the surety of a good grade.

Check Our Free Descriptive Essay Examples

Do students face challenges writing essays these essays? Yes. First, some are facing the tasks for the first time and do not have the experience on how to select a topic. When directed to select their subjects, they end up with one that is too complicated to write on successfully. Other students do not possess the right language prowess that is necessary for the preparation of these essays. The eventual pieces they prepare cannot attract good grades.

How can descriptive essays examples be of help? When you read other pieces prepared by proficient experts, you get an idea of the subjects you should opt for in your subject area. That way, you reduce the chances of picking a topic that may take you many hours to complete. Additionally, you learn the language that suits your paper. When you study many pieces, you can also become an expert in preparing them.

Fortunately, we have where you can access descriptive essay examples conveniently. These essays can assist you in the process of learning how to prepare your papers. Besides, we have experts who can help you prepare stellar descriptive essays. Therefore, you do not strain in the process of preparing these pieces.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay Structure

The flow of the content is an indication that you know the type of work you are expected to handle. Consequently, you should ensure that your descriptive essay outline is comprehensible. What are the key components of descriptive essays?

Prepare an Introduction Worth Reading

Prepare a Breathtaking Descriptive Essay Conclusion

It is the introduction of the essay that gives your professor an idea of the level of competence you possess. When it is attractive, the professor finds a reason to go through the rest of the information and eventually awards you with a good grade. An introductory paragraph that has suspense is good. You can create suspense by including questions that the readers can find answers to by reading the rest of your content. Moreover, do not give many details in the introductory paragraph. If the professor already knows the content you intend to discuss in the paper, they see no reason to read the rest of it.

In the last section of the introductory paragraph, write a thesis statement. What does a descriptive thesis statement do? A correct thesis for descriptive essay should define the areas your paper is to cover. Be creative in the way you outline the content you intend to write so that descriptive essay thesis can resonate with your audience. If struggling with how to write a descriptive essay introduction , our experts can offer assistance in part and the rest of the task.

What Should Be Written in the Paper Body?

The section forms the bulk of the paper content. It is where you give a proper description of the events, people, or processes in question. It’s exactly where a descriptive essay thesis statement is used. What is the descriptive essay format of the body? Each paragraph should begin with a comprehensible topic sentence. After that, embark on the description of the idea you have introduced in the paragraph. There should be a proper link to the ideas in each of the paragraphs through the proper use of transitional words. For better organization of the work, ensure that you only deal with one idea in every paragraph. After you have exhaustively described one idea, proceed to another.

It is the final section of the paper. Here, you have a final chance to impress the professor on your abilities. It should be clear that you are now nearing the end of your work. You should reiterate your thesis statement for descriptive essay and highlight the main narrations in the piece without sounding repetitive. Additionally, the reader should have a take-away point from the descriptions in the paper. Make it brief, punchy, powerful, and worth a read.

Finally, reread the definition descriptive essay then correct any mistakes made. A refined essay gives a good grade. Ensure the whole essay is well-organized.

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If there are topics that are confusing or you simply lack and motivation, we can work on your paper fast while ensuring you receive the stellar descriptive essay you deserve. Contact us now, and let’s get started on your homework!

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How to Take Descriptive Writing to the Next Level

Lindsay Kramer

Sometimes, writing feels like you’re climbing up a hill. A slippery, muddy hill. During a rainstorm. 

Even when the words are there, it can be tough to get the feeling onto the page. You might have listed the events you’re covering and presented all the facts clearly and logically, but when your writing doesn’t feel engaging, something’s missing. That something is descriptive writing. 

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Descriptive writing consists of a variety of techniques and choices you make in an effort to give your reader an accurate, three-dimensional impression of the subject you’re writing about. It’s part word choice , part figurative language, part comparison, and part knowing what to include and what to leave out of your writing to set just the right mood .

When to use descriptive writing

Use descriptive writing almost anywhere your writing can benefit from immersive scene-setting. Most kinds of writing can benefit from a little bit of descriptive writing. Some, like fiction, poetry, and memoir, can benefit from a lot of it. 

Instead of listing all the types of writing that can benefit from descriptive words, phrases, and sentences, here is the short list of the kinds of writing where this type of content is not appropriate:

Descriptive writing is juicy. It evokes the reader’s senses. It’s the perfect tool for accurately communicating something that isn’t tangible, and that’s precisely why it’s not appropriate for the more formal, objective kinds of writing listed above. 

Use descriptive writing when your goal is for the reader to feel like they’re standing in your shoes. The most effective way to write about the euphoric feeling of affection you felt when you adopted your puppy may be to use descriptive writing techniques to make the reader feel like they’re the one seeing Fluffy wag her tail and feeling her lick your hand, rather than simply listing her physical features. Descriptive writing promotes empathy in your reader and personalizes your work. 

Descriptive writing techniques

There are lots of different ways you can make your writing more descriptive. Here are a few of the most common descriptive writing techniques:

A metaphor is a descriptive technique that likens one thing to another. Take a look at these examples of common metaphors:

By stating that one object is another, you’re saying they share certain traits. You aren’t saying they’re indistinguishable or that they’re actually the same object; you’re expressing that the reader will encounter these specific traits in a very similar way in both objects. 

A simile is like a metaphor . And yes, that was a simile. 

Just like a metaphor, a simile describes something by comparing it to something else. The difference between the two is that a simile uses the word “like,” “so,” “than,” or “as” to make the comparison. For example:

With a simile, the comparison typically isn’t literal—it’s hyperbole that emphasizes the statement being made, much like it does with a metaphor. If you aren’t familiar with the term “hyperbole,” don’t fret—we’re covering it later on in this section.  

Sensory writing

Sensory writing depicts a scene through your senses. Take a look at these examples:

As you can see, sensory writing typically incorporates other kinds of descriptive writing, like similes, metaphors, and hyperbole. 

Freewriting is a great way to channel your senses and craft some spot-on sensory writing. Just open your word processor or notebook and start writing what you think, feel, or have experienced. There are no rules, no restrictions—just move everything that’s happening in your mind onto the page, walking through sensations like how you feel, what you hear, what you see, and what these sensations are driving you to do.  

When you use an extreme statement to make a point, you’re using hyperbole . Here are a few quick examples:

You know it wasn’t actually a million degrees, you most likely haven’t been alive long enough to not have heard a specific name in the past century, and surely there are many other boyfriends who are kind and thoughtful. But when you say things like this, you aren’t confusing or lying to your listener—you’re intentionally exaggerating to express just how extreme something was: It was very hot outside, you haven’t heard that name in a long time, and your boyfriend was very romantic. 


It was a joyful bouquet. Each flower had a distinct, vibrant face and together, they were a happy choir of enthusiastic friends, ready to break into song at any moment. 

We’re talking about flowers here and, as you know, flowers don’t have faces, voices, or friendships. But see how giving the flowers in this description human qualities like faces, voices, and interpersonal bonds gives you a clear image of the bouquet being described? It’s not just a collection of flowers; it’s a coherent group of fresh, healthy, colorful flowers. 


Onomatopoeia are words for specific sounds. If you’ve ever watched the live Batman TV show from the 1960s, you’ve seen such onomatopoeia as “bam!” and “thwap!” flash across the screen during the fight scenes, creating a comic book-like feel. That’s what onomatopoeia does—it immerses you in the scene by giving it a “soundtrack.” 

What is a descriptive essay?

A descriptive essay is an essay focused on describing something. That “something” can be anything, such as an event, a place, an experience, an object, or even a person. Descriptive essays aren’t exactly the same as other kinds of essays , though you might find yourself using descriptive writing in other essay types to strengthen your argument. 

In a descriptive essay, your goal is to make the reader feel like they’re experiencing the subject you’re describing firsthand. For example, let’s say you’ve been assigned to write a descriptive essay about the role pizza plays in your campus culture. 

Your descriptive essay might include lines and passages like: 

Sweet relief came over me when I got that notification text saying my pizza had arrived. My stomach was roaring; it was 2:00 a.m. and I hadn’t eaten since dinner at 6:00. Unlike my roommate, whose study habits and time management allowed her to go to bed at midnight, I was up working on a paper that was due in about eight hours. Thick socks on my feet, I quietly stepped away from my desk and out into the hallway to meet the driver at the door. The pizza was already paid for, so all I needed to do was take my hot pie of cheesy stamina from his nocturnal hands and get back to work. While walking back to my room, the garlicky smell emanating from the box lulled me into a state of relieved relaxation, but this relaxation was gone in a flash when I realized where my key was: not in my pocket, but sitting on my desk. 

Compare this to a cause-and-effect essay on the same topic. Instead of trying to make your reader’s mouth water, you’d instead craft a narrative of the effect the local pizza shop has had on your campus culture. You might start by discussing the food options you had before it opened and how the pizza shop upgraded students’ access to delicious food and changed their approach to ordering out. In a persuasive essay , your goal might be to convince the reader that adding the pizza shop to the list of local vendors who accept meal plan credits is a good idea, and in an analytical essay, you’d state a specific position about the pizza shop (for instance, how it’s an inextricable part of campus life). And you’d defend that position with clear evidence (more than half of the pizza shop’s deliveries are to campus, the shop regularly hires students, and the shop caters a significant number of events on campus, for example). 

Give your writing extra polish

Crafting a compelling piece of descriptive writing can be tough, especially if descriptive writing is new to you. The two keys to becoming a pro at descriptive writing are to read a wide variety of writing types and practice, practice, practice. This doesn’t mean you have to write an immersive novel or start cranking out poems by the page—you can train your descriptive writing muscles by working a little bit into each of your future assignments. Maybe you add a metaphor to your next history essay’s intro or work some similes into your upcoming economics presentation. 

Wherever you’re working on descriptive writing, Grammarly is here to help. Before you hit “send” or “submit,” have Grammarly give your writing a once-over to catch any spelling mistakes , punctuation errors , and even instances where your tone is less than perfect for your writing’s goals. No matter what you’re aiming to achieve with your writing, Grammarly can help you achieve your goals. 

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Descriptive Essay

Descriptive Essay Writing

Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023

How To Write An Impactful Descriptive Essay?

By: Cathy A.

12 min read

Reviewed By: Melisa C.

Published on: Dec 17, 2019

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.

Students usually get this type of essay in high school and college. Writing a descriptive essay is different from other essays.

You need to focus on describing a certain person, place, or event.

Luckily for you, the following blog post will provide some helpful tips on how to create an engaging essay.

Continue reading to learn how to write an A-worthy descriptive essay.

Descriptive Essay

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What is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a detailed paper that describes a place, person, situation, object, or emotion. 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. The purpose of this 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 as a high school or college essay assignment.

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.

What is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay?

The purpose of a descriptive essay is to describe a person, place, or personal experience in vivid detail so that the reader can create a picture in his mind.

The descriptive essay is written to get the reader to understand by using descriptive language. It is different from narrative essays, where the writer tells the story about someone else. Usually, it starts with a real-life event and then the content follows the author's imagination.

Descriptive essays are not intended to persuade the reader or show facts and figures to prove something. Descriptive essays are like word paintings that contain personal and descriptive details and these are mostly assigned to students of creative writing.

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:

Analyze the main subjects in detail and observe minute things.

Physical Settings

Describing the physical settings is a must in a descriptive essay. When describing, keep the following points in mind.

Physical Features

When describing the physical features of the subject, living or nonliving, consider the following points.

Create Drama

Storytelling and drama are 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.

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 them.

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.

Psychological Aspects

Writing about a certain situation or behavior of a person focuses 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 had 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.

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".

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.

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How To Write A Descriptive Essay?

When you write a descriptive essay, you help your readers visualize an event, a person, or a 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:

Here are the steps to write a descriptive essay easily.

1- Choose an Engaging and Focused Essay Topic

An important step that all strong descriptive essays share is having a focused topic. Before you make the outline, identify the purpose of your essay and use it to create an appropriate thesis statement.This type of paper does not require much personal opinion from you. Its main goal should be focusing on information that will make a dominant impression in readers' minds instead.

2- Research and Gather Important Details

When writing a descriptive essay, it is important to make sure you include as many details and sensory information as possible. This helps your reader fully understand the images that are being presented in their mind's eye.You can organize these ideas into categories so they're easy for you to access when needed.

3- Create an Outline of Your Essay

Your essays must be organized by having subheadings that are clear and concise. Group your main points into individual body paragraphs, each of which should only cover one idea or topic at a time.

4- Write your Essay’s Introduction

A good introductory paragraph is much like a road map because it provides direction to your readers.

It provides relevant background information before diving into more specific details related to how something works or why something happens. These could include statistics or stories from real-life scenarios.

5- Write the Main Body Section of Your Essay

Each body paragraph should start with a topic sentence that keeps the reader hooked on what you are saying. Use specific details instead of making generalized statements, and make sure to give examples if necessary.

6- End with a Strong Conclusion

The conclusion of an essay is the final paragraph, and it should summarize all that you have said throughout. It's a good idea to restate the main points and key details from the essay in this section.

It is important so the reader has everything they need for better understanding before ending off on something new.

If necessary be sure not to introduce anything odd or unusual, to avoid any confusion.

7- Proofread and Revise the Essay Carefully

Once you are done writing the essay, proofread and revise it carefully. Make sure that it is free from all kinds of errors.

Descriptive Essay Outline

Like all the other essays, a descriptive essay also follows the usual 5-paragraph essay structure and format.Before starting, it is important to create an outline. Following are the fundamental elements of your descriptive essay outline:

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 engaging introduction so that the readers read the essay till the end.

Start the essay in an easy-to-understand way and language. Provide 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 a descriptive essay.

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, which 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.

A 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 the reader on what to expect in the essay body. It is like a table of contents of a book, to the reader on contents you will get an idea of what the book is all about so you get to understand it better.

It is like a table of contents of a book. By reading it, you will get an idea of what the book is all about.

A good thesis should contain the following things:

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

“Even though monarchy is long gone, Buckingham Palace is here to remind us of the aesthetic beauty of that era.”

“One of the characteristics of Spider-Man is his youthfulness, and the fact that he talks to himself more than Hamlet.”

“For numerous reasons, the dark forest is my greatest fear, though not a fear which is necessarily smart to face.”

Descriptive Essay Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs of the essay come 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 idea in one paragraph. Fusing different ideas will confuse the reader.

Build your paragraphs according to the thesis and introduction.

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 keep in mind is the conclusion, which is as important as the rest of the essay.

To make it interesting and thought-provoking, include the following points:

After writing the conclusion, make a review of your essay, identify the mistakes and maintain a good tone throughout the essay.

Descriptive Essay Format Sample

Here is the descriptive essay format to help you understand how you can write a winning descriptive essay.


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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.

Living Beings

When you want to write about a person like a family member, consider the following elements:

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:

Inanimate Subjects

Geographic locations and structures.

When your subject is a place or a building, add the following points:

Human behavior and psychology is a compelling descriptive essay subject. When writing about it:

Event Or Travel Experience

A travel experience makes a good descriptive essay since you have experienced the event first hand.

Give a detailed description of the place, people at the venue, and the atmosphere of the location.

Idea, Concept, or Occupation

When writing on such topics, focus on how an idea or concept affects society and its different aspects.

Example Descriptive Essay Topics for Students

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:

Descriptive Essay Examples

Study these descriptive essay examples and sample papers 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.

Having a descriptive essay assignment with a short deadline? Looking for someone to do my essay for me ?

5StarEssays.com academic writing professionals are ready to help you. They read the essay details before writing and make sure that they incorporate all the details in it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the features of a descriptive essay.

A descriptive essay provides a perfect opportunity for writers to express their feelings on any subject. Descriptive writing has rich sensory details which appeal to all of your senses.

How do you start a descriptive essay introduction?

The introduction to the descriptive essay should set the scene and introduce the main topic. You can use these sensory details to get a sense of what the essay is all about.

What are the two types of descriptive essays?

There are two types of descriptive essays. The first type deals with people, and the second one is about objects.

What are the elements of a descriptive essay?

Here are the key elements of a descriptive essay.

What makes good descriptive writing?

Good and effective descriptive writing consists of vivid sensory details that appeal to all senses including the sense of sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste. Moreover, these essays also explain people’s feelings in writing.

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  1. How to Write a Descriptive Essay

    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.

  2. Descriptive Essays

    Descriptive Essays 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.

  3. What is a Descriptive Essay?

    A descriptive essay is a piece of writing that describes something, such as an object, place, person, or event. What is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay? A descriptive essay is meant...

  4. Descriptive Essay: Definition, Topics, and Examples

    A descriptive essay describes something - a person, an event, a place, or a personal experience in detail. The purpose of this essay is to provide enough detail about the topic to enable the reader to picture it. If you want to learn how to write an excellent descriptive essay, this blog is for you!

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

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Descriptive Definition & Meaning

    Descriptive definition, having the quality of describing; characterized by description: a descriptive passage in an essay. See more.

  8. 15 Good Descriptive Essay Examples for All Students

    A descriptive essay is often referred to as the parent essay type. Other essays like argumentative essays, narrative essays, and expository essays fall into descriptive essays. Also, this essay helps the student enhance their ability to imagine the whole scene in mind by appealing senses.


    descriptive definition: 1. describing something, especially in a detailed, interesting way: 2. A descriptive area of study…. Learn more.

  10. What Is a Descriptive Essay?

    Essay assignments include different forms of the genre, including expository, descriptive, narrative and persuasive. In a descriptive essay, the student describes a person, memory, situation, place, experience or any object. In contrast to other types of essays, the descriptive essay allows the writer to use many ...

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    A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.

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    Professional Essay Writers - We Are Proud to Introduce Them to You! Our essay writer service has been fortunate to attract some of the best and fastest academic writers online. Our Professional Writers Are Our Pride . EssayService attracts and employs the best and fastest essay writers online. Every writer in our team is highly educated ...

  14. How to write a descriptive essay

    A descriptive essay by definition is a piece of writing that requires a student to describe something. It could be a person, an emotion, an opinion, an object, to name a few. Descriptive writing is meant to create a mental picture for the reader. By using the right writing style, the writer is able to achieve this.

  15. What Is a Descriptive Essay? Examples and Guide

    A descriptive essay is sort of what it says on the tin. It's a type of essay that involves describing a person or object, though it can really extend to any sort of noun, like a place, event, experience, or emotion. If you think that seems pretty broad, you're right. You're technically describing something in every essay.

  16. Define The Descriptive Essay

    Define The Descriptive Essay. 1423. Customer Reviews. Hire experienced tutors to satisfy your "write essay for me" requests. Enjoy free originality reports, 24/7 support, and unlimited edits for 30 days after completion. Level: College, University, Master's, High School, PHD, Undergraduate. 411. Customer Reviews.

  17. Descriptive Essay: Topics, Outline and Writing Tips

    A descriptive essay is all about describing the subject in great detail. Being a type of expository writing, it gives you great freedom to paint a picture with your words, shares a once in a lifetime event with the reader or makes them feel something.

  18. Structure of Descriptive Essay

    Descriptive Essay: Definition and Meaning. We share our moods and impressions through descriptive essay writing. The very important thing is to involve all possible sensory details. All sights, touches, smells, sounds and tastes must help the reader to see the same picture that the writer has in his / her mind. It must be mentioned, that ...

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    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.

  20. How to Write a Descriptive Essay

    A descriptive essay is a type of essay which asks the students to give a description of something; for example, a person, place, incident, or an emotion, or an event. It is a detailed description, where the writer is painting a picture in words. Different people have different thoughts and points of view.

  21. Descriptive Essay Writing Tips + FREE Examples

    Additionally, the reader should have a take-away point from the descriptions in the paper. Make it brief, punchy, powerful, and worth a read. Finally, reread the definition descriptive essay then correct any mistakes made. A refined essay gives a good grade. Ensure the whole essay is well-organized.

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