Descriptive Essay: Definition, Examples & Tips for Writing a Descriptive Essay

When you are asked to write an essay, there are many different types to choose from. One such type is the descriptive essay which is favoured by a lot of authors. In this article, we are going to be looking at the descriptive essay in a little more detail such as what they are used for and how you can write a good descriptive essay yourself. We are also going to take a look at an example of a well written descriptive essay and a selection of topics about which you could write.

What Is A Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is one which is used in order to describe something. These essays can describe anything from a person or place to an item or idea. The idea of the descriptive essay is to give the author a chance to hone their writing skills by way of description. On top of this, the descriptive essay is a great chance for the author to use their creative skills – the more vivid the description, the more the reader can picture clearly what is being talked about. This means that the writer should employ all their skills to paint an image for the audience.

How To Write A Good Descriptive Essay

Now that we have a good understanding of what a descriptive essay is, we are going to take a look at some handy tips for how to write one and the process that should be followed in order to create a convincing descriptive essay.

Choose A Topic

Any essay requires an engaging topic and the descriptive essay is no exception to this rule. When choosing a topic, you should choose something which you have an interest in as this will make you more passionate about your writing. There are a whole host of things you could write about so let’s take a look at some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

  • Describe a summer holiday.
  • Describe your oldest memory.
  • Describe a member of your family.
  • Describe a book you have read.
  • Describe a movie you have seen.
  • Describe an invention.
  • Describe a place that means a lot to you.
  • Describe your ideal home or room.
  • Describe something from your imagination.
  • Describe an outfit or an item of clothing.
  • Describe a piece of jewellery.

Create An Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is used to lay out the purpose of the essay and should be referred back to at varying points throughout your writing. It should be included in the introduction so that your readers are clear on what the essay is about.

Speak To The Senses

When planning your essay it is important to remember that a descriptive essay should appeal to the senses. When describing your subject you should include how it looks, smells, how things taste, what can be heard and how something feels. It is important to lay out these senses in your essay outline as using these will create a much clearer picture for the reader.

Create Your Essay Outline

An essay outline is used to order your ideas and make rough notes of anything that is to be included in the work. Every essay should be written with the assistance of an essay outline, and it should look something like this:

  • Introduction-Include your thesis statement, a hook to grab the attention of the reader (this could be a personal story, anecdote, joke or fact) and a little bit about the purpose of the essay.
  • Body 1st paragraph-This section will detail the first point of your essay. In the case of a descriptive essay, you might detail how something looks in the first paragraph. A traditional essay is made up of three body paragraphs and each of these should be outlined too. That being said, there is some leeway when writing an essay and you can write more or less body paragraphs depending on what you need.
  • Conclusion-This final part of your essay outline should refer back to the thesis statement and sum up all the ideas which have been presented throughout the essay.

Further Tips For Writing A Descriptive Essay

In order to write a clear, concise and easy to read descriptive essay, there are some more points that you should consider whilst writing. These tips will help you to construct an essay which will be well received and credited.

  • Make sure that you take the time to properly brainstorm before you begin writing your descriptive essay. This is important because it will help you to make sure that you include all of your ideas and miss nothing out.
  • The language that you use within your essay should be concise and clear, making it easy for the reader to get a grasp of. Whilst you want to use colourful descriptions that easily paint a picture, you do not want to over-complicate the language and therefore make the essay unreadable.
  • Consider using synonyms (understandable ones) to make your writing sound more intelligent and creative. These will also add to the descriptive flair of this type of essay.

Example Of A Descriptive Essay

In order to gain a greater understanding of what a well written descriptive essay looks like, we are now going to take a look at an extract from a descriptive essay called ‘Yarn’ written by Kyoko Mori.

Those yellow mittens which I had made in 7th grade home ec had proven that I dreamt in colour. For the section about knitting, we were 1) meant to create a pair of mittens and 2) the hands must be the same size, so when they were held together, none of the stitches would stick out of the thumb, the fingers or from the cuff. Somewhere, in between the making of the 4th and the 5th mitten to meet this requirement, I dreamt that the yellow ball of yarn which was in my bag turned green. It was so bright, it was eclectic, I awoke in the knowledge that, once again, I was doomed for a D in that class.

Descriptive Essay Infographic

Descriptive Essay: Useful Tips for Writing a Great Descriptive Essay

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