A descriptive essay is an essay that describes a person, place, thing, or event. When writing a descriptive essay, you are expected to be in-depth and explain your topic.
This essay uses vivid language to describe the object of description. To write a good descriptive essay, you must appeal to the reader’s five senses. Descriptive writing allows you to explore your surroundings and the people in them.
The descriptive essay is also called an “informative” or “explanatory” essay since you must explain the topic to the reader. The essential elements of a descriptive essay are topic sentence, transition words and phrases, descriptive details, and paragraph unity.
The topic sentence
It is a short statement that tells the reader what you will be writing about in your essay. The topic sentence will make the reader know if they are interested in reading your essay or not.
A transitional phrase is a word(s) or phrase that shows the relationship between sentences, examples: first, second, third, lastly. These words and phrases help to explain your essay, giving the reader a sequence of events.
These are phrases that enhance your writing by providing the reader with details about your topic. For example, you are describing a car, and you say, “It is red.” You can improve your description by saying, “It is a shiny, red sports car.”
Unity means that each paragraph in your essay should stand alone. The reader should not have to reread a section to know what you are describing. Each paragraph in your essay should focus on one idea. For example, if you are writing about your dog, “Buddy,” each section should be about your dog.
Some four descriptive essay examples are:
1. Descriptive Essay Example About an Object
I bought my car after graduating from college. It was a used car, but it only had a few thousand miles on it. I needed a vehicle to get back and forth from work, so buying used was important.
When I pull out of the driveway in my red, two-door sports car, people take notice. It is fast and fun to drive, and I enjoy getting behind the wheel.
When I bought my car, I was amazed by how shiny it looked. It even had a spoiler on the back that made my car look fast and sleek. It is a convertible, and people often stop to compliment me on my car when I have the top down.
I am proud of my car; it has a huge personality, and I enjoy driving it every day. Sometimes, when I drive it with the top down, my friends will ride in the car with me. It’s fun to go for drives on summer nights.
Some of the most intriguing features in my car are the leather seats and heated seats. The leather is soft and comfortable, plus it makes my car smell nice. I am always driving with the heater on, even during the summer.
The make and model of my car is a Honda Civic. It is new to the market and has only been out for a few years. My car is a 2014 model, and it performs very well. I have not had any major issues with the car since I bought it two years ago.
2. Descriptive Essay Example About a Pet
Buddy was a rescue dog that my parents surprised me with when I graduated from college. My parents knew how much I loved dogs, and they promised to get one for me when the time was right.
I was so surprised when they told me that Buddy would be my dog. I was thrilled! My parents even threw a party for my friends and me to celebrate.
Buddy is now two years old, and he has quickly become one of the most important parts of my life. I love him for his loyalty and protectiveness. I am so thankful that my parents got him for me.
The most outstanding aspect of my dog is his loyalty. He has never once let me down. Buddy has always known when I need him and is there for me in any situation.
He loves spending time with people and is very friendly with everyone he meets. Buddy also takes care of other animals, including our kitten and our neighbor’s puppies.
I am so lucky to have Buddy in my life, and I can’t imagine what it would be like without him. Sharing a space with him is a fun, everyday adventure.
My dog is my best friend, and I love him more than he will ever know. He responds to my emotions and makes me feel better when I am down. Even when buddy wrongs me, he tries hard to make me happy again.
I am so incredibly thankful for my dog. Buddy has helped me through so much already. I know he always will.
3. Descriptive Essay Example About a Place
The state of Arizona is full of natural beauty. The scenery varies depending on where you are, but my favorite place to go hiking is in the Superstition Mountains.
The mountains are near Phoenix, and they are full of hiking trails that lead to secluded waterfalls. They have a mysterious quality about them, and I always feel so peaceful when I hike there.
The desert is another popular destination for tourists and nature lovers. It is full of cacti, steep mountain ranges, and wide-open plains.
Most tourists who visit Arizona spend a lot of time in Phoenix, the state’s largest city. It is known for its shopping and entertainment as well as being a major business center.
Arizona boasts a long list of tourist attractions. There are museums, zoos, aquariums, parks, and wildlife preserves to visit.
The majority of its residents are young, active families that enjoy all the outdoor activities Arizona offers.
The Grand Canyon is in Arizona, and it is one of the most photographed spots in the state. It is a breathtaking view, and many people take the four-day hike down into the canyon.
4. Descriptive Essay Example About a Person
My grandfather is a very kind man. He is retired and spends a lot of his time volunteering at the senior center nearby.
He has always been very active, and he enjoys getting to know people. His most favorite thing is to make others laugh.
My grandfather goes on many road trips with my grandma. They are never in one place for too long, and they love exploring the world.
He is a wise man who has taught me many things about life. I admire his kindness and his ability to always have fun.
Sometimes I wonder if my grandfather knows just how much he means to me. Maybe he does, which is why he always makes time to chat with me when we see each other.
Every time grandpa feels unwell, he is quick to bounce back. And when he does, his smile lights up the room.
Even on his worst days, he loves being around people and doesn’t want anyone to worry about him. That is why grandpa always tries to make even the most challenging situations positive ones. Now that I am older, I appreciate his zest for life even more.
A Descriptive Essay Outline
A descriptive essay is divided into three main parts: introduction, body, and conclusion.
The first paragraph of the essay describes some aspects of the topic explored in the paper. In descriptive essays, this section usually includes a definition or explanation of the main idea to be discussed.
A descriptive essay writer pays attention to the introduction because this part sets the tone for the entire work. The introduction comprises the hook, the thesis statement, the topic sentence, and the concluding sentence.
Writing a hook is a way to grab readers’ attention and lays down the foundation for the entire essay. The main idea or a thesis statement is a sentence that contains a preview of what will be explored in the body.
The topic sentence presents one aspect of the main idea. The concluding sentence usually summarizes what has been said in the paragraph.
The second paragraph, or body of the essay, contains the bulk of the description. It should be an elaboration on the main idea of the paper. Here, you describe your topic in detail.
You can also give examples where necessary to back up your argument or position on the subject. A good descriptive essay generally consists of 2-4 body paragraphs, depending on your topic.
The body of the essay may include the following elements:
- Details and imagery – details are pieces of information that help readers experience what you’re describing. Imagery is when you use words to create pictures in readers’ minds.
- Anecdotes – these are stories and memories that help readers understand the subject matter.
- Quotes are lines from known works that you directly include in your essay to support your point.
- Comparisons – you can use these to help readers visualize the topic better. For example, if you’re describing a sunset, you could say it is as beautiful as a diamond or as radiant as the sun.
The final paragraph of this type of essay is usually a reflection on the topic at hand. A great conclusion should bring the reader back to the introduction. It might also pose a new argument or perspective on the subject, providing closure to your reader.
The conclusion of a descriptive essay summarizes what has been said in the paper and often leaves readers with a lasting impression. This section is usually 1-5 sentences long, and it can include an emotional appeal.
Writers usually end descriptive essays with a strong statement that propels readers to think about the topic. This can be any statement, as long as it adds something important to the essay.
The conclusion often includes a reference to the hook to remind readers of what they have read at the beginning. Here, you can include your opinion on the topic and express how you feel about it.
The Best Descriptive Essay Writing Strategies
To write a descriptive essay like an expert, you need to apply the tried and tested writing strategies listed below:
- Use vivid language and sensory details. Describe something in a way that makes it come alive.
- Focus on the details that make something special and give examples to highlight your point.
- Use specific rather than general words.
- Apply line breaks, paragraph breaks, and white space. A good descriptive essay looks visually appealing to readers while also allowing them to grasp your main points easily.
- Make sure that everything you write is easy to understand and use correct grammar and punctuation.
- The reader should feel like they are looking at the same thing as the writer. Remember to include details such as sight, touch, taste, and smell where necessary.
- Organize the content of your paper logically.
- Make sure that you stick to the main idea and keep digressing from it until you get back on track.
- Always go through a draft and proofread your work to check for errors. There are lots of grammar-checking tools you can use.
- Be original and don’t copy other people’s work or ideas. Plagiarism is a serious offense that can have consequences for your academic career.
- A good descriptive essay has a clear structure and flows well. It makes a good argument, provides vivid imagery and relevant examples. The essay also causes the reader to think about what has been said.
A good descriptive essay follows a logical structure and tells the story of something in detail. A good writer makes this process look easy, but it requires time and effort to master.
It’s advisable to do your research before writing about something new to stay informed on the topic. The key to doing well is practice; you can write descriptive essays for different subjects. Also, get feedback on your work from teachers or other students.