How to write a descriptive essay

A descriptive essay gives a clear and detailed definition of a topic. Similar to narrative essays, a descriptive essay needs to be vivid and creative.

This type of essay tests your ability to write and paint the topic with your own words. Generally, you’ll be asked to write descriptive essays in high school or university.

A descriptive paper may describe a person, event, process, or object. The author should give a clear and vivid description of the topic instead of a metaphorical approach. It is essential to appeal to the five senses when writing a narrative or descriptive essay.

Descriptive essay example

In this article, we provide you with an overview of how to write a descriptive essay. Although some tips are included, it is always better to analyze an example paper to get even more insight.

On weekend afternoons, I love to play League of Legends in my study room. The game is online, addictive, and enjoyable, but I usually have a good time when I play with my friends. Introductory sentences: Introduce the thing you’ll describe in a subtle way by including it in your introductory sentence. I am in my own space without work and daily stress. I feel the competitive environment resulted from this game’s nature. Impression: Include a personal opinion or experience to add a personal touch.

Usually, we play a 5v5 ranked game, and we always start with a rush to enemy resources. As usual, I follow my support player as my champion is an attack damage carrier and extremely vulnerable. The rest of the team positions themselves to get kills and, of course, enemy resources. Description: Expand on the description of the subject by detailing the scene in the introduction.

Meanwhile, I need to position myself to damage enemy tanks, which are hard to combat. I save my leap for their engagement and press it when they rush on me. While my support tries to protect me, I damage enemy champions and try not to die soon. Because without me, my team wouldn’t be able to win the fight. But, whenever I use my leap, I have no choice but to die. Analogy: Define and tell your feelings and experiences when you do the thing you’re describing in your essay.

Waiting in the base to respawn, I feel hopeless and pray for my friends to win the fight without me. However, I still have high hopes of winning the game as there are many combats to fight. After all, I lost the first fight, but why not try another? Conclusion: Conclude your essay by highlighting the author’s feelings and insights on the subject.

Descriptive essay topics

Your instructor may give you a topic in instructions when writing a descriptive paper. These prompts will often ask you to focus on your own experience.

After all, finding a topic shouldn’t be hard as the aim is simply to describe something. You’ll be able to appeal to your readers as long as you master your writing skills.

These are personal topic examples, but you may be assigned to write on something outside your own experience. Then, you’ll surely make use of your imagination. You need to paint the scenario with your words.
Rarely, you’ll be asked to concentrate on feelings or emotions in general. These are called conceptual descriptive essays.
If your instructor asks you to find your own topic, choose one you feel confident about because descriptive essays test your writing process and ability and creative thinking rather than researching.

Approaches to descriptive essays

Descriptive essays are usually seen under two main approaches; these are personal and formal descriptive essays. Let’s see their differences and example topics.

Personal descriptive essay

In this type of essay, what matters is your responses and feelings to create empathy among readers. Your essay structure may become random and disorganized as long as you convey your emotions to readers.

The focus is to fully communicate with your feelings and create a piece of personal feelings and emotions. Your reader needs to picture your situation.

Formal descriptive essay

This one is similar to an argumentative essay. By following an organized and clear essay structure, you aim to describe a set of crucial points about your topic.
Instead of describing your personal approach, follow a more general and broader perspective.

However, although it is a formal paper, don’t overuse formal language and bore your reader. You can still smarten your paper up with elaborative words and phrases, verb tenses, or a nice title.

Descriptive essay best practices

We’ve listed down several best practices along with a few writing tips. You can follow these and write yourself a properly structured and intriguing descriptive essay.

Using figurative expressions

Metaphors and other linguistic twists are among the elements of figurative language. You should focus on figurative language to make your essay unique and creative.
Let’s see an example where the first is a literal description of a school and the second is a figurative one.
Youur reader isn’t likely to remember this mainstream sentence. If you want your reader to remember your descriptive essay, you should think of more creative ways to explain your setting.

Here, I have used figurative language to describe the “students” as “the future of such a small county”. This sentence is more memorable as your reader doesn’t expect such a figurative and creative approach to describing a schoolyard.

Making use of senses

Giving sensory details of your composition is also essential. Instead of describing how something looks like, you need to describe how they taste, smell, taste, and touch.
Although not every sense is applicable in every setting, try to use them as much as possible. When writing an abstract sentence, you may find it easier to use your senses metaphorically.

Descriptive essay writing tips

With the help of this quick guide including the best practices of writing a descriptive essay, you’re good to go!

Frequently Asked Questions

Start your descriptive essay by introducing the setting and the subject to your readers. Let the readers know about the thing you’ll describe.

An essay where you describe the feeling of loneliness using your experiences and feelings would be an example of a descriptive essay.

You can talk about their characters, hobbies, the things between you and them. It’s also a good idea to talk about their achievements in a figurative way. 

You need to choose a topic you can describe and give a clear and detailed description of it. You can choose a person, event, process, or object and describe them by including your insights and experiences.

Thank you for reading. If you need further information, feel free to have a look at our essay samples or contact us at live chat.

Ibrahim Akturk
Ibrahim Akturk
Content editor at Tamara Research. Translation major, huge coffee and baking nerd. Addicted to good music and great articles.

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