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Descriptive Essay – what is this and how to write it

Probably, each of you heard about such a kind of essay, as descriptive. Its purpose is to compose a vivid picture in the reader’s mind with the help of a description. Unlike other types of essays, where the main role is assigned to dry figures, facts and the results of scientific research, in the descriptive essay it is necessary to influence the reader’s feelings and emotions.

The descriptive essay definition

Descriptive essay – this prose work is not of a large volume, where you need to illustrate someone or something with the help of words. You can describe everything, anything: man, animal, flower, emotion, sound. A student is most often asked to describe a person whom he/she knows well.
The concept of the essay is a bright, emotional and memorable description of something, using all five senses: vision, taste, smell, touch, and hearing.
Descriptive essays develop students’ mindfulness, artistic style of writing, fantasy and vocabulary.
In this article, we describe how to write a descriptive essay correctly.

Step One: Select a person or an item to describe it

We recommend you describe a person whom you know very well. Perhaps it’s your father, mother, friend or girlfriend, a work associate, a teacher, aikido coach, etc. The main thing is that you know about him a lot and have a lot of material for work because the descriptive essay differs in large volumes.
However, no one forbids you to describe a fictional character from a book or film. For example, you can tell about Lord John Roxton from Arthur Conan Doyle’s book «The Lost World». You can describe a person from your favorite TV show or even from a video game.
If you are faced with the task of describing a place or an object, write about the place that makes you strong feeling. Maybe it’s your home, school, university, circus, cinema, nightclub. If you write about the subject, describe the gift of a friend or a portrait that hangs in your room on the wall.
But this should not be confined. You can write about a fictional object like a spaceship, a magic wand, your “Ferrari” and other fantastic items.

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Step Two: Choose an emotion

Sometimes in descriptive essays, you need to write not about something tangible, but, for example, about emotions. You can describe strong emotions like:

  1. Anger;
  2. Love;
  3. Passion;
  4. Hatred;
  5. Desire;
  6. Fury.

It’s best to describe emotions using your own life experience because that’s how you can describe them in the most colorful and detailed manner.
In some cases, you can describe more specific emotions. For example, self-hatred or love for parents.

Step Three: Make a list of touch details

So, a person has five sensory systems. So draw five columns on a paper and name each one in honor of one of the senses. Write in each column as much detail as you can think of for the topic. These notes will be useful in your essay.
For example, if you write about your father, write in the column “Sound”: “The jingle of keys from the car in the father’s hand, the buzzing of his razor, the low voice, when he is talking on the phone with a business partner.”

Step Four: Write an essay

Now that you have a topic for the essay, as well as a lot of notes, create a workflow chart. The descriptive essay has a very simple structure of three parts:

  1. Introduction;
  2. The body;
  3. Conclusion.

A standard descriptive essay consists of five paragraphs. The first paragraph is an introductory part. The next three are the body of the composition. The last paragraph is the conclusion.
If you are writing a voluminous essay, you can divide it into three parts using headings. And each part will have as many paragraphs as you like. Ask your teacher if you need to write an essay out of five paragraphs, or there are no restrictions.
The descriptive essay should include the main idea – the thesis. In it, you indicate the purpose of the essay. The thesis is placed in the introductory part and then corrected in the conclusion.

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The last step: add bright adjectives

Do not hesitate to use bright adjectives. Let these adjectives express emotions. Be extremely specific. Use adjectives that draw a clear image in the reader’s head.
You can use adjectives such as “hefty”, “rude”, “sharp”, “bright”, etc. For example, your father can be described as “hard”, “hefty”, “smelling of gasoline”.