A descriptive essay offers a description of a person, event, process, idea, or thing. Descriptive essay writing utilizes illustrative language to describe all the above. Such compositions focus on creating an experience for readers rather than just narrating the events that took place. You can create a vivid picture for your audience by engaging the five senses – taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing. The best descriptive essays appeal to these senses.
When asked to compose a descriptive essay, you are expected to make descriptions on any of the following:
In descriptive essays, you will notice how the authors give a well-rounded and inclusive picture of the message they are trying to pass across. This, however, should not sway the essay from delivering its primary purpose or thesis statement while still keeping it colorful, vivid and detailed.
The following are crucial and are evident in any example of descriptive essay that you’ll come across:
The author has to visualize his experience or what he saw, heard, felt, smelled or tasted.
It offers a detailed description of events, places, objects, people or situations to a tee.
The descriptive essays are poetic.
When doing descriptive writing, you are not expected to tell your reader what you saw, felt, smelled, heard or tasted; instead, you are required to describe what you experienced. This is done using illustrative language by being keen on your choice of words to create the right mental picture and make your composition more realistic.
The words you opt to use must communicate and appeal to the reader’s senses to create an impression in their minds of a place, event, person thing or experience. You can do so by bringing your words to life. They will help set the mood or offer a more detailed description in your essay.
In literature and poetry, there is a lot of use of descriptive texts, and this is because of the power such language has on the readers.
Some of the famous literature that has utilized descriptive writing includes:
The Iron Mills; Rebecca Harding Davis’s Life
“The idiosyncrasy of this town is smoke. It rolls sullenly in slow folds from the great chimneys of the iron-foundries, and settles down in black, slimy pools on the muddy streets. Smoke on the wharves, smoke on the dingy boats, on the yellow river–clinging in a coating of greasy soot to the house-front, the two faded poplars, the faces of the passers-by.”
Check out the vivid smoke description.
To The Lighthouse Virginia Woolf, describing Charles Tansley
‘[Mrs. Ramsay] looked at him. He was such a miserable specimen, the children said, all humps and hollows. He couldn’t play cricket; he poked; he shuffled. He was a sarcastic brute, Andrew said. They knew what he liked best – to be forever walking up and down, up and down, with Mr. Ramsay, saying who had won this, who had won that …’ (p. 11)
The point of view when writing refers to a set of pronouns that an author utilizes when writing. There are three points of view, and they are; First-person, second-person and third-person.
Below is a list of pronouns that are used for the different point of views:
First-person pronouns: I, We, Me, Ours, Mine and Our
Second-person pronouns: You, Your and Yours
Third-Person pronouns: He, Him, His, Hers, Them, Theirs, They, Its, It and She
The best descriptive essays are from the first-person point of view similar to narrative essays. A lot of times students find themselves mixing points of view which affects the quality of their work. To avoid such a scenario, you can do the following;
Identify the purpose of your essay: The type of article you are writing will dictate the point of view. For example, narrative and descriptive essay examples utilize the first-person point of view while informative and persuasive essays use the third-person.
Who is your audience: Quite often students become unsure of whom their audience is. Under such circumstances, it is easy to change point of views distorting the quality of your piece. When unsure look for names specific to your readers that allows you to address them. For example, “doctors”, “investment bankers,” or “vacationers”
Descriptive writing is often used when doing any of the following:
The following guidelines will help you write a descriptive essay that is up to standard:
Research the subject topic and brainstorm ideas before you can proceed to write your descriptive essay. Compile a list of descriptive or illustrative terms to use in describing your thoughts.
To appeal to your reader’s senses, you will have to use your senses when making descriptions. It makes it easier to show rather than tell the message you are conveying while at the same time rendering your descriptive essay captivating for your audience.
A well-written descriptive essay sample will always feature one thing; the words used play a significant role in making descriptions. Therefore, you must exercise caution while choosing your words being keen only to use those that help convey your point across.
Be careful when writing your descriptive not to get carried away with emotions and get into incoherent rambling. Be keen to create logical flow and have organization in your work. For example, when writing about an event, you can arrange the paragraphs in chronological order.
As you evoke your reader’s emotions, it is vital that you do not lose sight of the primary purpose of the essay. Compose your piece in a manner that leaves your readers appreciative of your work. For example, if you are describing apples, make your reader crave for them.
To create a more transparent image of whatever you are describing to your readers, take advantage of literal tools such as synonyms, idioms, strong adjectives, and metaphors. For example instead of the word violent you can go for a word like tempestuous.
Once you’re done with writing the descriptive essay, it is vital that you take the time to have it reviewed for errors in grammar, language, spellings, punctuations and sentence structure. If possible, you can have other people read your essay to establish if it is making sense before you can have it published. Their impressions are crucial in strengthening the essays validity.
Describing a person you know can make an excellent topic for your essay. The person can be a friend, family, teacher, colleague, mentor, or a leader in society among others. To avoid getting stuck when writing, identify a person that you’re familiar with. It makes it easier to create content for your masterpiece. However, there are times you will have to write on fictional individuals such as those from your favorite video game, movie, novel or television show.
This entails recalling a long lasting and sincere emotion that you once experienced and transforming it into a beautiful descriptive essay. Strong emotions like rage, anger, loss, joy, desire or sadness make for an excellent article. Compositions on the loss of a loved one, brotherly love or war are excellent descriptive essay examples.
Check out the example of descriptive essay passage below. The text is from Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.
Catcher in the Rye
“She came in and took her coat off right away and sort of chucked it on the bed. She had on a green dress underneath. Then she sort of sat down sideways on the chair that went with the desk in the room and started jiggling her foot up and down. She crossed her legs and started jiggling this one foot up and down. She was very nervous, for a prostitute. She really was. I think it was because she was young as hell. She was around my age. I sat down in the big chair, next to her, and offered her a cigarette.
“I don’t smoke,” she said.
She had a tiny little wheeny-whiny voice. You could hardly hear her. She never said thank you, either, when you offered her something. She just didn’t know any better.
“Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jim Steele,” I said.
“Ya got a watch on ya?” she said. She didn’t care what the hell my name was, naturally.
“Hey, how old are you, anyways?”
“Like fun you are.”
It was a funny thing to say. It sounded like a real kid. You’d think a prostitute and all would say “Like hell you are” or “Cut the crap” instead of “Like fun you are.”
The above text focuses on Holden’s bewilderment on Sunny’s innocence. For a prostitute, she was quite innocent avoiding the use of any vulgarities in her speech. Note the J. D. Salinger use of illustrative language in a bid to show us just how innocent Sunny was. The book offers an excellent read for furthering knowledge on how to write descriptive essays. Several passages talk of innocence which is among the themes of the book. The museum passage also has some strong illustrative language used,
Your descriptive essay can focus on a place or an object that you harbor strong feelings for. However, you may be forced to describe a place/object from history or fictional world. Examples include historical sites such as the pyramids of Egypt, your college, workplace, your haven, and Pandora’s Box among others.
Reading any descriptive essay example will offer insight into such kind of writing. Focus on captivating the readers, by showing rather than telling them what you saw, got a whiff of or heard. The idea is to let your audience get a hint of what you experienced. Going through various descriptive essay samples helps you advance your writing skills bringing you closer to perfection. It takes time to nurture writing skills and therefore such resources and practice will come in handy.
Take the time to plan your work, create an outline and once you’re done writing, ensure that you review your piece. Literal tools and illustrative language are crucial for descriptive essay writing, and you ought to take advantage of them. We hope that this guide will help you craft awesome descriptive essays. If still having problems with this, contact us, and one of our professional writers will help you come up with an interesting piece.