Descriptive Essay Outline, Structure, Format

A descriptive essay outline is often used to organize the essay. All details should be included in descriptive essay writing, but it is helpful for writers to have an outline format to help them plan their essays.

Outlines can help give structure and organization to a paper that would otherwise seem disjointed or chaotic.

It might sound like overkill when you are just writing about your favorite hobby or your dream vacation spot, but an outline will help you make sure nothing important gets left out.

Structure of a descriptive essay (outline format)

This descriptive essay format is maily based on a 5 paragraph essay outline. Make sure you review other examples to understand how to create outlines for different types of essays.

Introduction/Background Information:

Introduce your audience to the topic. Is this a place? A type of place? What are you describing? Just like an introduction to an essay, try to grab your reader's' attention by creating curiosity.

Include details that describe what it looks like, sounds like and smells like. These are various words you can use in writing an essay.

Do not go into excessive depth, just enough to get them interested and involved in the description.

Body Details/Paragraphs:

Use adjectives and verbs to describe what you see, hear, taste and touch. (Descriptive Verbs List)

Include everything that is important; however, do not include things like 'it was hot' because everyone knows it was hot.

Be very detailed in your description. Use all five senses -- sight, smell, hearing, feeling and taste.

Create a 4-5 sentence paragraph for each of the following details:

  • What does it sound like?  This might be the most difficult one for beginning readers/writers as they have trouble sitting through long paragraphs with nothing but descriptions of outside noises or sounds from the environment.
  • How does it smell?  It can be frustrating to create detail after detail only to see it all end up in one paragraph complaining about how something smelled.

For example, when describing a type of food (or any other object) try using words like spicy, sweet, bitter, yummy, delicious , etc... rather than vanilla, fruitiness or plain . These word choices help to get your audience to feel, rather than describe.

  • How does it taste?  If you are describing a specific type of food or beverage, this is your chance to give the reader a detailed look into how something tastes that they may have never experienced before.  

Spice up the introduction with details and then add more thoughts throughout the body paragraphs as needed while updating your essay plan.

Learn also how to write a body paragraph for an essay.

Conclusion Paragraph:

Be sure to summarize the entire essay in one or two paragraphs with no more information than what is contained in these sentences. This is your opportunity to make a lasting connection with your reader and leave them thinking about how much you enjoyed describing this place, person, object, event! 

Learn how to end an essay with examples.

Descriptive Essay Outline Example About a Person

An essay outline about a person might open with a description of the person from your perspective.

Next, you could describe their physical appearance, such as age, height and weight, hair color and style, eyes and skin tone.

Then, you could talk about what they are wearing and any accessories they have on them.

Be specific - include details like whether or not they are wearing makeup or jewelry.

You will also want to note if anything is unusual about their appearance, such as visible tattoos or scars.

Here is an overview of a descriptive paper outline about a person:

  • Introduction: Use the first paragraph to introduce your subject and essay, and explain why you are writing about this particular topic. Here is a set of descriptive essay introduction paragraph examples for review.
  • Body paragraphs: This is where you will go into detail about each of the details in your outline. Use your second or third body paragraph for specific details that fit under the topic of your first body paragraph.
  • Conclusion: Use the conclusion to wrap up your essay and explain any further thoughts you have on the subject matter.

How To Write An Outline For The Description Of A Person Or A Thing?

The answer depends on what kind of descriptive narrative essay you want to write about.

If it's a person, start with the physical attributes: hair color, height, weight and so on. This is easier if you have actually been around the person to observe; otherwise, you may need to use what other people have told you.

The next step would be clothing -- does this person like shiny things? Does he or she wear comfortable clothes or must they look good at all times?

Some aspects of personality can be seen in clothing choices -- for example, wearing pajamas to work on casual Fridays is probably not the best way to show off your fashion sense. Finally, include any quirks or habits that are unusual for someone else (or maybe just strange-looking/sounding!).

Importance of creating Descriptive Essay Outline Template

  • To write great essays, descriptive essay outline template steps in handy because an outline saves time and guarantees proper organization for the whole process.
  • The right type of outline will help you reach the desired results and save time by outlining the entire process for you.
  • It will tell you what to write about in each paragraph and how many paragraphs it takes to get your point across.
  • It will show when it's time to move on or return back to previous material.

Descriptive Essay Outline Worksheet

A descriptive essay outline worksheet can help you plan and write your essay. It is also helpful to use a descriptive essay outline worksheet when you are reviewing an essay you have previously written.

A descriptive essay outline worksheet is very similar to an outline in that it includes the subject, main points and details, but there is no need to worry about the exact order of information because paragraph-specific details come at the bottom of each item on the list.

You can create a descriptive essay outline worksheet with basic paper and pen or type out one using Microsoft® Word.

Tips on how to structure descriptive writing

  • Take some time to observe someone who interests you -- it could be a classmate, family member or co-worker.
  • When you feel they have been in your presence long enough to write a detailed description, start writing your essay by taking note of everything that stands out about their appearance.
  • Write down every single observation and then go back and add more detail as needed.
  • If you are not sure what descriptive words to use, try describing the way they move or what their voice sounds like compared to someone else's voice you have heard before.
  • Remember, details make all the difference in an effective descriptive essay!
  • Review how to structure an essay.

List of descriptive essay outline template pdf

Note that we have a long list of descriptive essay outline templates in pdf, links will be shared in the documents section of our website

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