Descriptive Essays

Descriptive essays describe something - an object, person, place, event, situation etc. They are usually an account of a particular experience. Descriptive essays are written to create a vivid picture of something in the minds of the reader. It is a detailed observation that includes employing all the senses to create an image that a person can relate to or visualize to have a better understanding of it.
When writing a descriptive essay “Show, don’t tell”. This will ensure that while writing a descriptive essay you will refer to all the five senses: smell, taste, sound, touch and sight. You will also have to use strong and specific verbs to do so. Brainstorming before actually starting to write an essay is a must. Know the characteristics, ideas and feelings associated with the topic. Create an outline to put all this in a logical sequence and start writing the essay.
Important points to remember while writing a descriptive essay:
  • The first step should always be to jot down the points that come to your mind when you think of the essay topic. This step will be helpful when you actually start writing the essay.
  • Make sure you choose words that would describe the situation the best. This will include using figurative language and a lot of adjectives and specific verbs. You can also use similes and metaphors to make the essay effective.
  • Descriptive essays are all about making the reader experience the situation and for this appealing to the senses of the reader is crucial. For example: if you are describing a flower, the sense of smell and sight is to be used so that the reader can visualize and at the same time experience the feeling of seeing the flower.
  • An important aspect of writing a descriptive essay is to evoke a sense of familiarity and connection in the reader. The reader should be able to relate and understand the description given in the essay.
  • Avoid rambling or repeating things in the essay when you describe something. Over emphasizing can lead to disinterest of the reader in the essay. Writing specific and meaningful content will always make you score points for the essay.
  • Try to present an organized and logical description. This means that each paragraph should be well planned with an introduction, body and conclusion.
  • Lastly, the most crucial part is to review, modify and reorganize the essay. Re read your work while keeping the reader in mind. Never forget the goal of writing the essay and make sure the essay is precise in its detail.
In descriptive writing, there are two kinds of description: Objective description and Subjective description.
Objective description focuses on the object described and does not convey the writer’s emotions, feelings or personal reactions to the object. It is basically the precise information about the object.
Subjective description conveys the writer’s emotions, feelings and opinion about a person, place or thing. This is used to evoke feelings in the mind of the reader. Here the writer refers to the five senses to produce a desirable effect and convey meaning.
While writing a descriptive essay, both the objective and subjective description maybe mixed although this may depend on the aim of the writing.
How to organize a descriptive essay?
You can organize a descriptive essay by answering the following questions:
  • Who or what do I want to describe?
  • What is the reason for writing my description?
  • What are the particular qualities that I want to focus on?
Arrange the ideas in a particular order after a brainstorming session. The sentences should be arranged so that the reader can imagine and re-create the images portrayed in the essay. Use a particular order to organize the details into paragraphs according to the order of importance.
Describing a person
In an essay describing a person, one body of paragraph is given to the decription of the person’s appearance, one paragraph describes the character and another discusses the lifestyle and hobbies of the person described.
Describing a place
In describing a place, it is a good idea to organize the description from a specific point of view. While framing a picture of a place/building/scene in the mind of the reader, use subjective descriptions i.e. describe the place using all the five senses.
Describing an object
The method of objective description is used to describe an object or thing by describing its physical categories i.e. size, weight, shape, pattern, colour, material etc and also explain its value to you and other people.
Evaluating the essay
After you have written the essay, start evaluating it by answering the following questions:
  • Does the introduction give the reader a clear idea of what to expect?
  • Are there enough examples to support the idea expressed in the thesis statement?
  • Does each paragraph focus on one aspect of the description?
  • How are the details arranged? Are they in the order of importance (general to specific)?
  • Is the essay coherent?
  • Is the conclusion effective?
  • Is the language of the essay descriptive?
  • Is the language precise?
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