How to Write a Descriptive Essay?

Descriptive essay

The Purdue Online Writing Lab defines a descriptive essay as “a genre of essay that asks students to describe something – object, person, place, experience, emotion, situation, etc.” Therefore, in a descriptive essay, students are required to provide a vivid account of something or someone. However, one is supposed to engage their literary skills and recreate their experience in the minds of the readers. The expectation is that one will engage their audience and virtually take them on their journey or make them feel that they have been to a particular place. A descriptive essay creates a vivid picture of a person, experience, place, situation, or any object under study and for this to be a success, one has to engage nearly all the readers’ senses. Language is, of course, important but one has to go deeper and make sure that readers feel emotionally connected as well as appreciate the subject’s significance.


Choosing a topic is the first step to writing a descriptive essay, and one needs to be careful not to have a cliché topic. Brainstorming is often encouraged here because when writing this kind of essay, one should engage the audience from the introduction to the conclusion. The ideas should flow smoothly while also clearly echoing the author’s belief.

A descriptive essay outline follows the standard essay format where one begins with an introduction, then the main body, and finally, the conclusion. One should first introduce their topic and ease their audience into their topic. The audience should never feel lost but should be able to follow the author closely while comprehending the ideas that are being communicated to them. A descriptive essay format should never be a problem because it is nothing out of the ordinary and most writers have encountered it. A mastery of the outline, however, does not guarantee a good quality essay but it is important always to abide by the writing guidelines.

Once a topic has been selected, the author should then focus on the introduction. An introduction should be captivating and keep the author interested enough to want to read the rest of the essay. One needs to take time on their introduction and avoid rushing their ideas. The audience should find the introduction fascinating as well as appealing to their senses. It is also important to include a thesis statement in the introduction. A thesis statement can be described as a statement of intent because it explains to the audience the purpose of the essay. After reading the thesis statement, one should understand the author’s purpose, topic, and angle of approach. Essentially, an author’s angle of approach defines their methodology or perspective.

Descriptive essay writing calls for the use of vivid language, particularly when explaining events or describing a person or a place. Vivid language coupled with clear and succinct language suits descriptive essays because they take the audience on a journey while also keeping them engaged and to the point. The words that one uses should be chosen carefully and they should also be relevant to the topic while also helping to echo the author’s ideas. The language should be easy enough to understand and rich enough to engage the audience’s senses throughout the entire essay.


Before delving into the main body of the essay, it is important first to list all the points from the strongest to the weakest. One should always begin their first paragraph with the strongest point that best supports their thesis statement. The main body should mirror one’s thesis statement and thus it is important to ensure that all points support and build onto the thesis statement. Each point should be in its own paragraph and should be mentioned in the first sentence of what is often called the topic sentence. The above makes it easier for one to understand the author’s line of thinking and with the other sentences in a paragraph building onto the main point, it gets easier to comprehend the ideas being communicated. One’s language, however, is the key to everything, and authors are always advised to make good use of their literary skills. Sensory details are the key to engaging with the audience and it is essential to have as many as are relevant.

A conclusion is as important as any other part of the essay and should be carefully and articulately written. Being the last thing that one reads, it is important that it has a lasting impact. In a conclusion, one should summarize their points and also restate their thesis statement. A good conclusion is a key to ensuring that one’s audience never forgets their experience while reading the essay.

Descriptive essay topics are many and if it is upon the writer to choose, one’s imagination is their limitation. There are no limits to what one can describe and thus topics are everywhere. Examples of descriptive essay topics include:

  1. Describe the statue of liberty.
  2. Describe the current political atmosphere in the United States.
  3. Describe your summer vacation.
  4. Describe the Great Wall of China.
  5. Describe your first year in college.
  6. Describe your first Uber ride.
  7. Describe the environmental changes during each season.
  8. Describe your experience when you were learning how to drive.
  9. Describe your best cuisine.
  10. Describe your best pizza joint.

The above are just a few examples of descriptive essay topics. One can describe anything they want but as already stated, one’s use of language is the key to writing a good essay. It is also important to note that one can also seek assistance if they are in need of descriptive essay help.

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