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How to write a Descriptive Essay

Among the many forms of academic writings, descriptive essays present unique challenges to many people due to their personal nature. To achieve a great descriptive essay, use of detailed observations and descriptions enables one to describe your point of focus in a vivid and particular manner.

The point of focus could be a person, object, situation, notion and many more. Examples of excellent descriptive essays are those that readers for instance feel that they have really met the person, held the object or being in a similar situation being described.

When writing a descriptive essay, try using the following tips to achieve a great essay:

  1. “Showing not telling” ; Using the  sentences below, one can tell the difference;

Sentence A:       She was intelligent and always willing to assist.

Sentence B:        When the teachers announced class assignments that required students to partner, she would instantly become the class darling.

In the first statement, the reader is told that the person was intelligent and kind, while in the second sentence, both traits of the person being described are shown.

  1. Structuring; The essay structure is important when ensuring your topic make sense.

If your topic is on an event, write your paragraphs in a chronological order. In descriptions involving a person, a place, or an object, one should start off in a general manner before going into the specific details later on.

  1. Using senses; Your essay must incorporate the sense of taste, smell, sight, touch and sound for it to create an impression in the readers mind.

For example;     The smell of fried bacon placed on the table next to my bed made up for the irritating  sound coming from the old alarm clock`s bells.

  1. Using similes and metaphors; For instance:  the statement “My room was cold as ice upon getting up” perfectly describes the cold you felt upon coming out of bed to the reader.

When using similes, use “like” or “as” describe something.

Metaphors are different to similes as they don`t use “like” or “as”. For example: He has a heart of gold.

  1. Outline; Make sure you create an outline listing the details of the discussion of each paragraph. This enables the inclusion of the helpful details while avoiding an overly descriptive essay. An essay is normally considered to have a standard outline when it has an introductory paragraph, at least three body paragraphs and the concluding paragraph.

The introductory paragraph includes the thesis statement while the body paragraphs should be able to prove the statement.

  1. Conclusion; This involves making a summary of the discussion. A well written conclusion needs to have an interesting closing statement that ties everything together.
  1. Reviewing and Finishing up; Take a break to clear up your mind and rest before reviewing. This enables one to have the impression as that of your intended reader. Also involve another person in reviewing and make sure he/she has received a clear picture.

Finish up by checking up for grammar, punctuation and spelling errors and remember you can never be too thorough in reading the essay and checking for areas that need to be reworked.


Thank you so much! I’ll be back with more work next semester!

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