How to Write a Descriptive Essay?


Guide for writing influential Descriptive Essays with easy to understand instructions and compelling tips. This article includes 6 powerful steps and 7 incredible tips for helping you to write better Descriptive Essay essays.

A descriptive essay is an enjoyable read for everyone. It gives a vivid description of various aspects of the topic being covered. It is an opportunity for the writer to give his or her impression of the topic under consideration and allow the reader to view the subject as they do. This article is aimed at helping writers create a comfortable format they can use to write interesting and well formed descriptive essays.


What Is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a piece of writing that allows the writer to as accurately as possible give their impressions of the subject matter and allows the readers to see it in the same way. It features the use of plenty of descriptive language, and requires lots of imagination. The description of the event or item does not need to be factual, but it should be believable. How well a writer describes it will determine how easily a reader will believe it.


This work tends to work best for writers with a healthy imagination as they find it easier to create and explore different characters, events and places. Those who do not have much imagination can use research to get details they can use to formulate their own descriptions. For instance if describing a thanksgiving dinner, a writer may draw on personal memories and create a descriptive essay around this or go online to find out the menu and traditions that surround the holiday. It is not necessary to have firsthand experience of the situation. Being able to describe the events in a believable and reminiscent manner is all that is needed.

Instruction Steps

1. Pick An Interesting Subject

When it comes to picking the topic to be covered in a descriptive essay, the writer should ensure that it is one they are familiar with. The reason for this is that it is easier to provide in depth descriptions of an item or situation you are familiar with. For instance it would be more difficult for a foreigner to describe the excitement of the Superbowl while an American would find it very easy to give details on it as it is a part of his or her culture.

2. Make an outline

An outline helps to provide a guideline which the writer can follow to make a well presented article. In the outline, a writer can identify key areas to make note of and the smaller details or sub-points that will help illustrate further these areas.


The thesis statement should also be a part of this stage. It is the overall purpose or goal in writing the descriptive essay. For instance, a writer may be writing a descriptive essay on badly scarred neighbour. The writer can detail how all the children in the neighbourhood are scared of the man but how in reality he is truly a kind person whose scars were as a result of getting burnt while in the course of his duties as a fireman. Describing the disfigurement of the character and how it bellies the reality of who he is will help to create an intriguing thesis statement and title.

3. The Introduction

The introduction is the hook of the story. It is the starting point and it must be interesting enough to make a reader more curious as to what they will find if they should read on. It should provide the thesis statement that points to what the descriptive essay is about.

4. The Main Body

This is the meat of the text. Here the writer will need to provide focus on the descriptions. Details will need to be more specific. In keeping with the basic essay structure, the main body should be made up of three paragraphs. Hence, the writer should have three areas they would want to focus on. Each key point should come from the outline already made and the sub points indicated used to flesh out the rest of the paragraph. In each paragraph there should be additional descriptive language used to paint a clearer picture for the reader.

5. The Conclusion

The conclusion should be the culmination of the text thus far. It should bring together and tie up all the description and narration that has been provided in the introduction, leading into the main text. The writer can also give reason as to why the essay is important.

6. Reviewing and Proofreading

After the writer has completed a draft of the descriptive essay, they should take a break. The descriptive essay should be left alone for at least one night. This way, when the writer comes back to it, he or she will be able to clearly see where there are discrepancies and decide if the flow of the narration is creating the intended impression.


It will also give the writer a chance to see if he or she went overboard with the descriptions. Sometimes a writer will use so many descriptive tools they may end up contradicting themselves. This is why proofreading is important and the use of an outline.


1. Make generous use of descriptive language

Make generous use of descriptive language. This is mainly done through use of adjectives and similes. Descriptive essays are meant to be highly evocative and give the reader a clear impression of how the characters senses were triggered. The writer can detail tastes, sounds, smells, images and textures through their descriptions. It is all aimed at creating a vivid picture in the readers mind. It also helps to keep the reader interested. The more sensory perceptions they can identify with, the more they will want to learn.

2. Do not repeat the descriptive words

Do not repeat the descriptive words. Make use of a thesaurus to find other ways of describing the same attribute in different parts of the text.

3. Learn how to show and not tell

Learn how to show and not tell. This technique is all about using descriptive language to expound on a normal occurrence. Rather than telling the reader that the funeral was sad, a writer can go into details of how the character walked into the deceased’s home and suddenly remembered all the good times they had together. Small anecdotes also help in making descriptions of the feelings more potent and relatable.

4. Do not shy away from intense wording.

Do not shy away from intense wording. Saying a character was bad is very ambiguous. Use specific phrases or words like sharp tempered or evil minded. That helps to shape the character more clearly in the readers’ mind.

5. Character

When writing about a character, give details on their character and what emotions he or she evokes in people.

6. Information

While it is important to be believable, the information given in a descriptive essay does not have to be factual. The reader is not looking to be given facts and figures. He or she want to be given lively descriptions that stir their imagination and help them to visualize the scenario, situation or person as the writer intends.

7. Research

If a writer decides to describe something they are unfamiliar with, then research is important for instance, writers of stories et in the Victorian era need to research the kind of dressing, furniture, transport, culture and manner of speaking that was used at that time. In this way they can provide more authentic accounts.


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