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How to Write a Descriptive Essay?

Published by at August 26th, 2021 , Revised On August 22, 2023

What is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a type of essay that allows you to create a narrative based on something you experience. It provides you with an opportunity for learning by describing an object, person, location, experience, emotion, circumstance, or other phenomena. A writer expresses his/her emotions creatively in a descriptive essay that attracts the reader’s attention.

What is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay?

The purpose of the descriptive essay is to portray your feelings and emotions related to any object or event that enables readers/listeners to envision what is being described. To do it, you can use sensory details that attract the senses, like sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.

The statue was tall.” or “I saw the statue looming over me. (informing)
The bikes appeared to be moving in formation, trailing one another along the street (showing).

An excellent narration in your descriptive essay can have a lasting impression on the reader’s mind.

Descriptions are either subjective or objective. In an objective description, you describe the object or event without letting your emotions and feelings influence the description.

Example: It could be:
1. An incident you witnessed or a news item: 25 people, including men, women, and children, died in a bus accident, and 5 people were severely injured.
2. It could also be a description of your business meet or

Whereas in a subjective description, you need to describe the object or event through your emotions and feelings.

When you describe the same example of a news item mentioned above in a subjective description, you incorporate more details expressing your concern about the pain and suffering the victims and their families had to suffer.

25 people, including men, women, and children, died in a bus accident, and 5 people were severely injured. It was a painful incident, people. They were screaming with fear and pain. I can still remember those screams, and I can’t forget those teary eyes and sad faces of those helpless people, including innocent children.

Similarly, when you describe your first business meeting where you had to give your business presentation, you will add excitement, happiness, nervousness, the confidence you faced before and during the presentation.

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Descriptive Essay Writing Guidelines

A descriptive essay consists of three parts- an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction part must start with a strong opening line to give the outline of the topic. If it is about any person, you can mention some specific personality traits and give some idea about physical appearance.

In the next section, you should describe your topic in detail. The number of paragraphs is dependent on the length of the essay, but in general, one paragraph should contain 150-200 words. The first paragraph will provide the theme and the idea about the content of the next paragraphs. The next two paragraphs will describe the topic. To explain the topic, you should use sensory details, imaginary language, and words, including verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

In the final section, you need to provide a summary of the topic. In the last line, re-establish your thoughts and the primary theme of the essay.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay About a Person?

Writing a descriptive essay about a person is challenging as you have to include specific traits and portray their character.

Appearance- It is necessary to define physical traits like skin colour, hair, eyes, nose, height, body structure, etc. You may also describe the type of cloth and accessories to identify the person quickly.

Manners- You should describe a person’s habits and behaviour: he smokes a cigar, drinks alcohol, or wears a hat or glasses.

Character traits-The character traits are difficult to write. You should have enough knowledge about the person to describe the character trait. Some qualities may include honesty, sincerity, or negative qualities like resentful, arrogant, miser, etc.

Emotions- You can also describe the person as melancholic, sanguine, choleric, or phlegmatic, with a sense of humour.

You can consider an essay about your mother as a descriptive essay example. While writing this essay, you should write about the special characteristics of your mother. You can then write about how she cares and nurtures the family, including how special she is to you.

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How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Descriptive Essay?

The thesis statement of a descriptive essay should remain concise, clear, and direct. It must provide an outline of the essay. A thesis statement is a guide to the complete essay, it is the essay’s theme, and the topic should revolve around this theme throughout the essay. Along with learning essay writing, you can also get professional essay help to boost your grades with minimum effort.

Descriptive Essay Types

Different types of descriptive essays are:

  • Personal descriptive essay– you should describe your personal experience—examples: a visit to your favourite holiday destination, the experience of watching a particular movie.
  • Imaginative descriptive essay– you should enhance your imagination to describe the topic—examples: a soldier’s experience in World War II, life on another planet.
  • Conceptual descriptive essay– you should write on some abstract topic like emotion. Example: Write your own opinion about love.


Example of a Descriptive Essay

Here is an example of a short descriptive essay for you:

Frequently Asked Questions

Start a descriptive essay by:

  1. Selecting a vivid topic.
  2. Creating a strong thesis statement.
  3. Outlining main points or aspects.
  4. Using sensory details to paint a picture.
  5. Organizing ideas logically.
  6. Engaging the reader’s senses and emotions.

About Grace Graffin

Avatar for Grace GraffinGrace has a bachelor's and a master's degree from Loughborough University, so she's an expert at writing a flawless essay at ResearchProspect. She has worked as a professional writer and editor, helping students of at all academic levels to improve their academic writing skills.