What Is a Descriptive Essay?

This article will look at the descriptive essay and provide a step-by-step writing guide. Stay tuned until the end for some helpful writing advice!


What exactly is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a sort of composition or paper in which the author discusses an object, person, process, or event in great detail. Creating a vivid reading experience or showing rather than telling is the writer’s ultimate goal while writing a story (metaphorically).

The five senses are typically invoked in descriptive writing: taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. (For example, Jack’s coffee mug exploded into tiny shards of glass, drawing everyone’s attention at the office.) When writing an excellent descriptive essay, it is essential to always appeal to the senses.

A descriptive essay aims to paint a complete picture for the reader by appealing to the five senses. Last but not least, your work should be meaningful. It could be anything from a life lesson to a story about how an object influenced your life. It’s all about bringing your brilliant ideas to life.


What is the difference between a descriptive essay and a descriptive paragraph?

You should understand the distinction between a description and a descriptive essay when writing this type of paper. A description can be as simple as a single paragraph or several paragraphs with no specific structure. In contrast, a descriptive essay has five or more sections and a clear and complete form. A descriptive essay is typically written logically, with a good thesis statement at the end of the introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. On the other hand, a description does not always have a structure. Its primary purpose is to describe an object or something else, with no additional academic layers.


The Problems That Could Be Addressed in Your Paper

  • A location. The most important thing to remember when describing a place in your work is to do so excitingly and uniquely. Your reader(s) should be able to sense the beauty of your chosen cities, such as New York or Rome.
  • A human being. You may discuss a person in this paper. It can range from just describing their physical appearance to more extensive descriptions of their activities, behaviors, emotions, and characteristics, among other things.
  • A creature. It would help if you described the animal in this type. It could be due to its appearance, behavior, or biology.
  • An occurrence. It would help if you described what happened in this section. It could be your last vacation, a concert, a wedding, an anniversary, a summer music festival, graduation day, or something else entirely.
  • A way of acting. If you want to write about someone’s behavior, you should use this type of descriptive writing. Perhaps you want to describe your friend’s unusual behavior or highlight how certain people behave in different situations.
  • A profession. You must write about a job or occupation in this section.


Two Classic Methods of Writing a Descriptive Essay

Personal Essay

You must describe an experience using your feelings and responses in this section. Readers may experience empathy as a result of this work. It can also be disorganized and hazy. If you want to write an excellent personal essay, you should concentrate only on the aspects of your experience that best express your feelings. Don’t be afraid to use vivid, evocative language in this type of assignment.

Here are some ideas for personal essay topics:

  • Describe your favorite film and its impact on you.
  • Describe your summer swimming experience in the azure sea.
  • Thinking back on your birthday and all the events that have shaped you in the past

Formal Description

This descriptive writing style is similar to an argumentative essay. Your main goal should be to communicate a set of critical points or to describe something in detail—all while adhering to a logical structure. It is necessary to employ particular types of data to construct a thorough picture of what you are describing rather of relying solely on your own personal experience. This approach can also be interesting, especially if the reader is more interested in the paper’s topic than the writer’s response to it. Nonetheless, avoid using overly formal language.

Formal descriptions can cover the following topics:

  • A news story that summarizes an event or provides information about the location where it occurred.
  • An essay that describes climate change, politics, or historical events.


Topics and Ideas for Descriptive Essays

It is not difficult to come up with descriptive essay topics. You can describe almost anything, from your favorite car to the current weather. We’ve compiled a list of suggestions to get you started. Hopefully, you’ll find some good descriptive essay topics to pique your interest.


  1. Describe Someone

Choose someone you know well—doing so will provide you with plenty of material to write about. Select from family members, friends, teachers, and so on. You might even write about a celebrity who is willing to share details about their personal lives with the press, such as the Kardashians, Kanye West, or Taylor Swift. A well-known superhero, such as Spider-Man, is also intriguing. Character studies of such fictional figures have been conducted from academic and non-academic perspectives.


  1. Describe an Object or a Location

You may also describe an object or location with which you have a special relationship. This may be your high school, a playground, or even a toy that used to scare you when you were a kid, depending on your perspective. Fictional locations are also acceptable!


  1. Describe a Feeling

Remember the most genuine emotion you’ve ever felt and turn it into a descriptive essay. You may select a strong emotion such as anger, happiness, loss, desire, or rage. It does not have to be a personal emotion; it could be observed.

You can also create a descriptive essay about anything that is described utilizing the five senses of the human body, such as touch, sight, taste, smell, or hearing.


  1. Making an Outline for a Descriptive Essay

When it comes to descriptive essay writing, keep in mind that a well-structured paper outline is your golden ticket. It will not only help you organize your thoughts, but it will also make your essays flow better.

The following are the components of a descriptive essay outline:

An introduction

  • Sentence with a hook
  • Background/Contextual information
  • Thesis assertion

Body paragraphs

  • The sentence about the topic
  • Sensory specifics
  • Actual specifics

A conclusion

  • All major points are summarized.
  • Climax Statement

It is critical to devote sufficient time to the description victim because all of your illustrations will revolve around it.



The introduction introduces your subject to the reader and provides sufficient context for them to understand your work fully, but keep it brief and engaging for the reader (s). When studying how to write a descriptive essay opening, keep in mind that the first paragraph of your paper will set your descriptive essay apart from the rest.

A descriptive essay introduction, like any other college paper, must include the following points:

  • Despite the fact that the entire document should be filled with intriguing and vivid descriptions, catching the reader’s attention from the beginning is preferable.
  • Background/Contextual Information: Tell the reader what you’re about to describe and why it’s important to you. Could you give them a synopsis of your paper?
  • Thesis Proposition: The thesis for a descriptive essay should be a brief but comprehensive summary of the work. In it, you must state the subject of your description as well as the purpose for doing so.


Body Paragraph(s)

A paper usually has three body paragraphs. They address three distinct points or arguments. It is entirely up to you—or your professor—how many body paragraphs to include in your descriptive essay. Sometimes, a section will suffice to tell a story, while a book will be required other times.

The following is an example of a body paragraph:

  • Starting with a topic sentence is an excellent place to start. For example, the orange appears to be a familiar fruit; it is around citrus fruit whose color corresponds to its name.
  • Include sensory details. Make use of relatable senses when describing the orange.
  • Include accurate information. Include descriptive details in your body paragraphs at all times. Finish a body paragraph by introducing the following one. Transition sentences are meaningful because they help readers become immersed in your writing. Your writing will improve, and it will no longer appear as if you are reading a list of facts.



Your conclusion should summarize all of the main points in the body text according to the descriptive essay format. It is a good idea to compose a concluding statement that is related to the major subject of your paper. Once this is completed, the article is finished. We recommend that you proofread your descriptive essay for grammatical errors.

Consider including the following in your conclusion:

  • Demonstrate the Importance of the Details: Go over some of the paper’s key points. Give a recap of what you’ve covered so far, and prepare the audience for the clincher statement.
  • The first thing to do at the end is to reflect on the work’s original purpose. Please share your thoughts on why you chose to write about this topic and how it has affected your life.
  • Clincher Statement: The clincher is the final sentence of your paper that either reinforces the overall purpose of your essay or leaves your audience with an intriguing thought, question, or quote. You’ve most likely spent a significant amount of time brainstorming a hook to entice the audience. Allow your audience’s thoughts to wander after they’ve finished reading the paper.


Writing and Revision of Your Descriptive Paper

The stages of writing the paper are as follows:

  • Stage of pre-writing Here, you must examine all of the sources you have and determine whether or not they all provide essential information on the topic of your choice.
  • You are making the first draft. You should begin your paper with a robust and engaging hook that piques the readers’ interest. It could include an unusual metaphor or a literary quote.
  • You are putting together the first draft of your descriptive essay. You only need to write down all of the words that come to mind at this point; you’ll be able to narrow down your ideas later.
  • You are using enriched English vocabulary and online dictionaries to add details to your paper. To help the descriptive essay leave a lasting impression, use your English vocabulary to add missing feelings, such as hearing.
  • Using various free online grammar checking tools, revise and edit the paper.

Let us now go over the final step in detail: reviewing your paper. Take a break after you’ve finished writing. Before editing your essay, it’s always a good idea to clear your mind.

When you return to your descriptive essay, consider the following questions:

  • Have you provided sufficient context in your introduction?
  • Is the paper simple to read?
  • Is the thesis relevant to the paper’s content?
  • Is the language in the paper vivid and descriptive?
  • Will the clinching statement have a long-term impact?
  • Are there enough details for your readers to get a complete and vivid picture of your description?
  • Is each section of your work devoted to a specific aspect of your description?
  • Is there any unnecessary detail in your description that can be removed or replaced with more meaningful information in your paper?
  • Overall, does this paper make sense to you as a reader?
  • Is there any grammatical or punctuation error?

Grammarly or the Hemingway app can sometimes help you sort through your grammar. However, it is always preferable to learn the rules of grammar on your own and become the best writer you can be. Once you’re confident you’ve completed the final draft, read it aloud or give it to a friend to read. Sometimes constructive criticism is required to tie up loose ends in your writing.