• A descriptive essay describes a certain object, situation,
experienced emotion or a place he has been to or even an
• An important thing for a descriptive essay is the usage of sensory
details: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste to create for the reader
the same picture that you have in your mind.
• Instead of using ambiguous, general words, the sensory language
should be precise. Descriptive essays also demands varying of
sentence structure and use of comparisons.
• If there's one thing you should remember as you write your
descriptive essay, it's the famous saying: show don't tell. But
what's the difference between showing and telling? Consider
these two simple examples:
I grew tired after dinner.
As I leaned back and rested my head against the top of the chair, my
eyelids began to feel heavy, and the edges of the empty plate in front
of me blurred with the white tablecloth.
• A good descriptive essay has to:
Give a vivid description of the subject of description;
Include all the smallest and important details;
Demonstrate the author’s emotional response caused by the subject;
Exclude every single irrelevant detail;
Structuring a Descriptive Essay
• The author represents the reasons why he describes a person, object or
• It should start with a strong opening, for example, a quotation that grabs
the reader’s attention.
• A thesis statement that should be related to the subject of description
and reveals the reason he describes it.
I have always been fascinated by carnival rides. It amazes me
that average, ordinary people eagerly trade in the serenity of the
ground for the chance to be tossed through the air like
vegetables in a food processor. It amazes me that at some time
in history someone thought that people would enjoy this, and
that person invented what must have been the first of these
terrifying machines. For me, it is precisely the thrill and
excitement of having survived the ride that keeps me coming
back for more.
2) Body: In the body there are three paragraphs:
• 2.1. Paragraph № 1 – The object itself: Here the author provides a vivid description of
the object. He includes all the observed details that are important for making a vivid portrait
and uses metaphors and comparison.
• 2.2. Paragraph № 2 – The surroundings: The author describes the atmosphere and
surroundings of an object, person, or situation. The reader should feel involved in this
environment. Metaphors and comparison are used in this paragraph.
• 2.3. Paragraph № 3 – Sensual and emotional description: The writer uses his senses of
taste, touch, smell, sound, sight and emotional description in order to make the experience
“alive”. In other words here the author needs to “replay” the object, person or situation to
the reader. Metaphors and comparison are also used here.
My first experience with a carnival ride was a Ferris wheel at
a local fair. Looking at that looming monstrosity spinning the
life out of its sardine-caged occupants, I was dumbstruck. It
was huge, smoky, noisy and not a little intimidating. Ever since
that initial impression became fossilized in my imagination
many years ago, these rides have reminded me of mythical
beasts, amazing dinosaurs carrying off their screaming
passengers like sacrificial virgins. Even the droning sound of
their engines brings to mind the great roar of a fire-breathing
dragon with smoke spewing from its exhaust-pipe nostrils.
Restate the meaning and idea of this experience for the
the importance of the described things;
the reason he actually describes it to the reader;
reframe the thesis statement
summarize the emotional and physical attitude of the writer.
My fascination with these fantastic flights is
deeply engrained in my soul. A trip on the wonderful
Ferris wheel never fails to thrill me. Although I am
becoming older and have less time, or less
inclination, to play, the child-like thrill I have on a
Ferris wheel continues with each and every ride.
Quick Tips for Writing Your Descriptive Essay
a) Planning your descriptive essay:
What or who do you want to describe?
What is your reason for writing your description?
What are the particular qualities that you want to
b) Drafting your descriptive essay:
What sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures are
important for developing your description?
Which details can you include to ensure that your
readers gain a vivid impression imbued with your
emotion or perspective?
c) Revising your descriptive essay:
Have you provided enough details and descriptions to enable your
readers to gain a complete perception?
Have you left out any minor but important details?
Have you used words that convey your emotion or perspective?
Are there any unnecessary details in your description?
Does each paragraph of your essay focus on one aspect of your
Are your paragraphs ordered in the most effective way?
Write a descriptive essay about a topic of your choice
(object, situation, experience, experienced emotion or a