Cathy A.
Cathy A.

Descriptive Essay: Definition, Tips & Examples

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Published on: May 24, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023

Descriptive Essay Writing

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A descriptive essay is the most popular type of essay writing. They are based on the writer’s personal thoughts. High school students usually go for a descriptive essay because this genre of essay allows the student to think broadly.

However, the writing process for this type of essay does not require a lot of research. It allows you to describe your thoughts in your own way.

Descriptive essays are quite similar to the narrative essay because it describes the sense of smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight through words. A descriptive essay provides in-depth details of the event, place, or incident.

Wondering how to write a good descriptive essay? Read our article and write a flawless descriptive essay with descriptive essay samples.

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What is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a type of essay which asks the students to give a description of something; for example, a person, place, incident, or an emotion, or an event. It is a detailed description, where the writer is painting a picture in words.

Different people have different thoughts and points of view. A descriptive essay allows you to explain your point of view in your own way. You should give a description of every aspect of the topic so that a reader can feel as if he has personally experienced that.

A good description will bring the reader to the actual happening of the event. Every point has to come out clearly so that the reader won’t be left in suspense. To write a perfect descriptive essay, you need to learn how to draw a real picture in the reader’s mind. A descriptive essay needs a creative mind.

What is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay?

The descriptive essay describes an event, a person, an emotion, or anything. The actual purpose of a descriptive essay is to provide a real image to the reader through a detailed description.

Unlike argumentative essays, a writer can use vivid language to bring an actual image into the reader’s mind, where the writer has to persuade the reader by providing facts and logic.

The descriptive essay uses the power of language to activate the five human senses, including touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing. This type of essay is usually assigned to the creative students so that they can bring their creativity on the paper as well as in the reader’s mind.

Features of Descriptive Essay

There are five basic features of a descriptive essay that distinguishes it from other writing types.

Let's discuss them in detail.

  • Sensory Details - A great descriptive essay appeals to the emotions of the audience and forms an association for them. In this essay type, a writer paints a picture with words so they have to be really engaging and appealing to the senses.
  • Central Theme - The content of your descriptive essay is shaped according to the central or major theme. Make sure to define the central theme explicitly and focus it on one single point.
  • Figurative Language - A key to writing an impactful descriptive essay is to use figurative language throughout the content. Use metaphors, similes, adverbs, and adjectives to describe settings and characters.
  • Precise Language - the vocabulary you use for the content should be appropriate and accurate. The language, as well as the tone, should reflect the major theme of the essay vividly.
  • Organization of Ideas - Arrange all your ideas and information in a properly structured manner.

Make sure that your descriptive writing is based on these elements to ensure its effectiveness and success.

Descriptive Essay Format

All formal writing types, including descriptive papers, require a proper format to be readable and understandable. Therefore, before starting your essay, you should create an outline of your essay. It will help you organize your essay.

List the point of discussion of each paragraph. List all the main points of each paragraph. This essay type is written using the basic essay outline. The standard 5-paragraph essay consists of one paragraph of introduction, followed by three body paragraphs, and the conclusion paragraph.

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How to Start a Descriptive Essay?

As a name implies, a descriptive essay is a form of essay that describes something – place, person, emotion, or event. This genre allows students to think creatively. If you want to connect with the reader on a deeper level, you should describe all the feelings and emotions related to your topic. And, if you are unable to connect with the reader try, try again!

Writing a strong descriptive essay requires a writer to form a strong plan. Following are the steps involved in the pre-writing or planning procedure of a good descriptive essay:

Follow the below-mentioned steps to finally begin your writing procedure for the descriptive essay:

  1. Topic selection

    Usually, professors assign the topic for a descriptive essay. But, if you have a choice to select a topic, then you have a great chance to select something which you know a lot about.

    Descriptive essay revolves around a single point, i.e., a person, an event, or a location. While writing a descriptive essay, it is the reader’s duty to convey a detailed description of the topic. So, while choosing a topic, a writer needs to keep that in mind.

  2. Brainstorming

    The next step is brainstorming about the selected topic. At this point, think of all the relevant points that exactly describe your topic.

    Brainstorm every little detail about your topic. Note down everything on paper. Organize the points and try to make sense.

  3. Thesis Statement for Descriptive Essay

    After the brainstorming session, develop a strong thesis statement. It is a very crucial part of the whole essay because it will be a prominent part of the essay.

    Your thesis statement should be designed to present the crux of the whole essay and set out the topic framework. It should be strong enough to guide the reader on what to expect in the body.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay

When you have drafted a plan for your essay, it is time to execute it effectively. The writing process of your essay will only get simpler if you have taken all the required pre-writing steps.

Follow the below-mentioned steps to finally begin your writing procedure for the descriptive essay:

  1. Introduction

    An introduction is the entry point of your essay. It should be designed to grab the reader’s attention. Usually, it sets the mood for the entire essay. Introduce the reader to the topic and what the essay will be about.

    Do not put all the details here; just give a brief introduction to the main topic.

    Start the introductory paragraph with suspense so that you can capture the eye of the reader. You can even pose a question so that the reader tries to find the answer in your essay and continue reading.

    Give a brief introduction. Describe the topic in 2 or 3 sentences by using vivid language. Use clear and concise language that leaves the reader in a satisfying situation. Use of adjectives and adverbs will also help you write good sentences.

  2. Body

    The body part gives you the freedom to write the details about your selected topic. Here you have 3 to 4 paragraphs where you can paint a picture in the reader’s mind through vivid language, persuading dialogues, or images.

    This part should support your thesis. Describe all the points in detail. The idea should come out at the beginning.

    The paragraphs should be interlinked by good transition words. Organize your paragraphs in a way that they make sense.

    As you are telling a story, create some drama. Make your essay an exciting and interesting piece of writing. Focus on your feeling and write exactly what you have experienced.

    Do not try to exaggerate things. Stick to your point!

    The use of good vocabulary is very important. The language should be clear and concise. Choose the best word for your essay description. Without the usage of proper words, you won’t be able to invoke the readers’ emotions.

    Choose the vivid language that serves the better image of your topic. Use your senses to appeal to the reader. Write slowly and thoughtfully, and use good words to convey your feelings. Be organized and leave the reader with a clear impression.

  3. Conclusion

    Finally, the conclusion paragraph presents a summary of the whole essay. It should reaffirm the thesis statement. It should be well organized and well written. It is the last thing that a reader is going to read and it will leave the final impression.

    It is the last chance to impress the reader. So, you need to pay all attention to this section. Restate your thesis statement and give a short reminder to the reader what the essay was required to cover. Make a good final statement so that the reader can leave thinking about your essay.

  4. Proofreading

    Proofread your essay to make a review. You can identify the mistakes and correct your tone. Go through your essay 2 or 3 times so that you can identify all the mistakes and correct them before final submission.

    Do not rely on autocorrect; sometimes your wrong word is also a word, i.e. “is” or “in”. Autocorrect won’t identify it as a problem, and it will change the whole meaning of the sentence. Take a short break from your work. Stepping away from your work allows you to clear your mind and relax your eyes.

    After taking a break, read your essay from the reader’s perspective.

    Does it making sense? Is it engaging? Is it appealing? Is the tone polite?

    Are your words good enough? Is it conveying the exact image of what you had in your mind?

    If your essay is answering all of the questions, you are good to go. But, if not, then you might have to correct the problem and rethink all the things which you have missed. Follow the same procedure again and again until you get to the desired image of your topic.

Descriptive Essay Examples

Below are presented some examples to help you draft your descriptive essays professionally. Follow the structure and score well in your academics.

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Descriptive Essay Topics

Choosing the right topic is very important. Because you are going to write all the tiny details of your topic. So, choose something which you know a lot about.

A descriptive essay includes writing about a person, event, emotion, a feeling. Make sure your essay engages all the 5 senses, taste, touch, smell, view, hearing, of the reader, or at least one of them.

Have a look at some popular descriptive essay topics.

Descriptive Essay Topics About a Person

  • Describe your favorite person
  • Describe your best friend
  • Describe your favorite teacher
  • Describe your enemy
  • Describe someone whom you love the most
  • Describe your mother
  • Describe your father
  • Describe your family
  • Describe your favorite brother
  • Describe a person whom you idealize
  • Describe that person who inspires you.

Descriptive Essay About an Event

Writing about an event is quite an interesting thing. You have a lot of things to describe, people over there, the food, the environment, and many more things. The first thing that you need to define is what kind of event you are going to write about.

When you write an essay on an even you should consider the following things:

  • What kind of event was it?
  • People
  • Food
  • Place
  • Time of the day

Descriptive Essay Topics About an Event

  • Describe your friend’s wedding
  • Describe your college’s farewell
  • Describe the last Christmas party
  • Describe your brother’s bachelor party
  • Describe your own wedding
  • Describe the memorable concert you have attended
  • Describe your last convocation
  • Describe the best dinner party you have ever attended
  • Describe the event you have attended where you were not invited

Descriptive Essay Topics About a Place

  • Describe your favorite place
  • Describe the place you have visited in the summer
  • Describe your grand mama’s farmhouse
  • Describe your hometown
  • Describe your favorite college
  • Describe your favorite vacation destination
  • Describe your favorite tourist spot
  • Describe your favorite museum
  • Describe your dream house
  • Describe a fancy place that you have created
  • Describe your favorite mall

Essay writing is an essential part of academic writing, and descriptive essay writing is one of them. The descriptive essay is one of the most popular types of essays in high school. It gives the students freedom of thinking, as a writer is allowed to paint a picture for the reader in simple words.

But writing an essay first draft requires practice and good writing skills. So if you doubt your skills, get a professional’s help online. is an essay writing company that provides custom services and high-quality essays and papers. Be it a simple descriptive essay or a complex college essay our writers can provide quality assistance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 elements of descriptive writing?

The four elements of descriptive writing are: 

  • Metaphors 
  • Similes 
  • Adjectives 
  • Adverbs 

What are the 2 types of description?

The two types of description are: 

  • Objective 
  • Impressionistic 
Cathy A.


Cathy A. (Literature, Marketing)

For more than five years now, Cathy has been one of our most hardworking authors on the platform. With a Masters degree in mass communication, she knows the ins and outs of professional writing. Clients often leave her glowing reviews for being an amazing writer who takes her work very seriously.

For more than five years now, Cathy has been one of our most hardworking authors on the platform. With a Masters degree in mass communication, she knows the ins and outs of professional writing. Clients often leave her glowing reviews for being an amazing writer who takes her work very seriously.

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