How to write a descriptive essay - Step by step guide

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 descriptive 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

  • your own life experiences,
  • things you have seen in movies or books, article's pictures and so on.
  • You can also take help from friends and family if they know anything that could be useful for your essay

Whether 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. 

What is a descriptive essay

A descriptive essay 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. It 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;

  • The structure used

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

  • The Senses

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.

  • Use of figurative language

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.

  • Emotions

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;

  • a person,
  • an object,
  • an experience,
  • a situation,
  • a place, or places.
  • hospital
  • church

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

How to start a descriptive essay

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:

  • Use a strong opening sentence to picture your reader’s attention.
  • Use figurative language;
  • ask a rhetorical question or an unusual statement.
  • Write the thesis statement as the last line in your introduction.

Read more on how to start a descriptive essay fast

Structure of a descriptive essay

As mentioned, an essay has three parts.

  • Introduction

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.

  • 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.

  • Conclusion

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. 

Tips for writing desctiptive essays

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

  • Whether you're describing food, a person, or even your own feelings about something, using the words 'I feel' in descriptive essays is very important because it gets your readers to connect with what you're saying. If you don't make them feel certain emotions when they read it then they won't want to finish reading!
  • In descriptive essays, it's very important not to use the same phrases over and over again. Not only is it a big writing no-no , but it will make your essay sound like every other paper on the topic! Find different adjectives or verbs for each sentence you write so that your readers never get bored.
  • Avoid repetition: Sometimes when you're describing something in a descriptive essay, it can be hard to think of a way to say exactly how you feel about the object without repeating yourself. You could try not just describing the object, but contrasting it with something else (my eyes are bright green while my friend's are dark brown).
  • If you want the reader of your essay to finish reading, you need to show them how they'll enjoy doing it! Instead of just saying that a beach is nice, try using adjectives like 'glistening' or 'crunchy'. Those phrases aren't as boring as plain old 'nice', and don't include any words that you've used too much already
  • If you want to use figurative language in your essay, make sure it's the type of language that students enjoy reading. This means using similes, metaphors, alliteration, or personification throughout. Students love creativity, so just be careful not to cross the line into writing badly.
  • When writing descriptive essays, you have to remember that using lots of adjectives doesn't make your essay better. Using the right adjective at each point can make a world of difference, and here's where you'll find them!

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.

Do not introduce new ideas in conclusion.

End with a strong closing remark.

Learn more: how to end a 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: descritive 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 favourite holiday destination. This is probably a highschool 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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