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How to Write a Descriptive Essay – A Detailed Guide

If you are a student (or have ever been one), you’re surely familiar with essays. These types of written assignments are the most popular among tens of others, giving teachers an ability to evaluate your knowledge of the topic, to collect information, and to render it to the readers.

If you want to write an astonishing descriptive essay and make your readers stand and applaud to your performance, follow the tips of our expert writers below. These people have been providing essay and research paper writing help for years so they definitely know what they’re talking about!

What is a descriptive essay?

A descriptive essay is probably one of the simplest genres any student needs to create throughout academic life. Its main purpose is to describe a certain issue – location, person, object, experience, situation, emotions, and so on. Through such assignments, tutors teach students to render their experiences to others. Moreover, this type of writing gives students enough freedom to express themselves, using any literary tools and instruments.

Your writing shouldn’t obey strict rules or formatting requirements doesn’t need academic references or evidence. You just need to tell about your own experience or ideas on the chosen topic. Basically, there is only one main rule that you will need to follow in order to make your writing flawless: rewrite your essay as many times as needed until the reader gets a clear understanding of what you want to discuss.

Your goal is to describe a matter and to make the reader a part of the story. Just make sure you choose a great topic, and it will already be half of your success. To learn more about this type of writing, just go on reading our guidelines!

What is the purpose of a descriptive essay?

As you already know from the essay’s definition, its main purpose is to describe any topic, given by the tutor or chosen on your own. However, it is not as clear as it seems, because teachers have their own goals when giving such an assignment.

With its help, you learn to choose a proper issue to describe (it must be interesting for the audience, relevant and should make you feel passionate), improve your writing skills and surely learn more about your personality and inner thoughts. Such a task is a great chance to make your voice heard and a great investment into the future: most likely you will need to write letters, make public performances or hold meetings throughout your career life.

Descriptive essay outline & format

Unfortunately, most of the students don’t know how to write papers and don’t have separate subjects, devoted to such a complex process. That is why we are not aware of different essay types, formatting styles, and other important peculiarities.

Luckily, there is plenty of information online, and you can sharpen your skills at any time. Let’s start mastering the descriptive paper by learning how to write an essay outline.

You probably know that outline is a plan of your future work, and with its help, you get a chance to prioritize arguments, to choose things to discuss and to avoid writer’s block.

A descriptive essay outline is similar to outlines of any other assignments and should consist of the following paragraphs:

A good description must also contain a thesis that allows readers to get familiar with what your essay will discuss and whether it is worth their time and attention.

Just take a separate piece of paper and write down several drafts of your paper’s structure. Write down the things you are planning to discuss and include them to a corresponding section. Congratulations, after this stage, you will find describing any issue much simpler!

Thesis statement for a descriptive essay

As we have already mentioned, it is impossible to write a descriptive essay without an introduction thesis. It should be included at the end of the introduction and must follow such rules, as:

  • Must be brief and straight to the point.
  • Must explain the main idea of your assignment.
  • Must be readable and simple to understand.

How to write a descriptive essay

By now, you know everything about descriptive essay format and what elements it must consist of, so it is the right time to dive deeper into the topic and discuss every paragraph thoroughly.

It is not important whether you are describing a person, a place, or an event: make sure all of the three sections are in place.

1. Start with the introduction

You should always start a descriptive essay with an introduction. It is the first section the reader sees when getting familiar with your work. That is why you need to make it catchy, interesting, and to motivate the audience to learn more about the subject.

If you fail to create a catchy text, you risk of losing the attention of the readers: they will simply be bored and won’t pay proper attention to your message.  It is an introduction, which helps the audience to comprehend what you’re going to talk about and why you have selected a particular topic.

Here are the tips that you may need:

Start with a hook. To catch the reader’s attention from the very beginning, you have to write a hook. Depending on the topic of your essay, you may turn to a joke, a quote, statistics, a hint, or a rhetorical question. The last two are the best options because they motivate the audience to go on reading and to find out the possible answer;

Remain brief. Never make your text watery and wordy. Just give the audience information on what you are going to describe in the body paragraphs. Avoid including too many details because the reader will simply lose interest in reading further.

Include a thesis. The final sentence of your introduction should consist of a thesis. It is a sentence, which contains the goal of your essay. Its main goal is to explain the audience what they should expect from the rest of the essay. You can compare the thesis to a book’s table of contents: when you look through it, you get an idea of what the book is going to tell you about.

So what a good thesis should include?

Definition of essay’s main goal. You don’t need to provide a complicated explanation of the topic and the things you want to discuss. Remain brief and describe the main idea in a few words. All the clarifications will be given in body paragraphs;

Personalized words and phrases. Say no to clichés and common phrases. When choosing words for your thesis, you need to remain creative. Never start your essay with ‘In this essay I will discuss…’ Half of the readers won’t want to read it further;

Add suspense to your thesis. The audience should want to learn more about the topic and continue reading. If the topic is flat and boring, no one will want to waste time on reading body paragraphs.

2. Continue with the body

Once the introduction and thesis statement are written, you need to start working on body paragraphs. They make up the biggest part of your future essay, so all of the issues will be covered here. The body must complement and explain your thesis. Here are the tips you need to remember:

Begin every body paragraph with the main sentence. It should be a fact or an issue that you want to discuss further in the text.  Then provide a broader description of the issue;

To make your essay sound good and coherent, you need to use powerful and appropriate linking words. Make sure you select interesting conjunctions that will enrich your text and make it smooth and readable. If you are complementing your prior thoughts, you need to use addition conjunctions and if you want to contradict – use contradiction ones;

It is not important whether you are a school or a college student: the structure of your essay will always influence the final grade. That is why you need to pay careful attention to the way you organize your paper. Every paragraph should consist of not more than six sentences, and those sentences shouldn’t be too long or too short.

3. Finish with the conclusion

The final section of your essay is always a conclusion. It is your last opportunity to attract the audience to the topic and to show your full potential as a writer.  Even if some of your body paragraphs weren’t as strong as you wanted them to be, the final paragraphs are the elements that can influence the opinion of the audience. That is why it is so important to devote all of your passion and energy to the last sentences.

Make sure you don’t include any new information to the final part of your essay and just paraphrase everything that you have stated before. Add such conjunctions, as ‘To finish with..’ or ‘As a conclusion..’.

In this section, you also need to restate your thesis in order to remind the audience what issue you were trying to cover. Once you are done with this stage, you need to provide key points of body paragraphs. However, you don’t need to go deep into details, avoiding wordiness.

Final sentences of your essay should be catchy and intriguing, suggesting readers to conduct future research and learn more about the topic. When your conclusion is ready, you need to write essay’s review (if required by the teacher).

Narrative & descriptive essay: learn the difference

There are so many essay types that sometimes it becomes quite challenging to distinguish one from another. It also concerns a descriptive essay and a narrative one. If you are also puzzled, below are the main differences these essay types have.

First of all, narrative essays are usually told from the first person (i.e. ‘I’ or ‘me’), while description papers usually avoid the first person or have no person at all. Another important difference is that the narrative essay is more about action, while descriptive is concentrated on a side glance on the situation.

A descriptive essay doesn’t follow a chronological order, so you need to organize your paper in another way. For example, by dedicating a separate paragraph  to every topic or issue that you are discussing.

Tips for writing an outstanding descriptive essay

Despite its simplicity writing a descriptive essay may sometimes take too much of your time and nerves. If you want to avoid such troubles, you simply need to follow the tips below:

  • Collect all the necessary information on the topic.
  • Analyze obtained information and structure it to make it look like one unit.
  • Once your essay is ready, you need to make sure whether all the paragraphs and sections (i.e. introduction, body, and conclusion) have a logical connection.

There are plenty of examples online, so even if you don’t have inspiration or doubt whether you are doing everything properly, just study samples on the web.

For example, if you need to describe a certain location, follow an approximate plan:

  1. Start with an opening sentence that will render your main idea.
  2. Provide a brief but detailed description of the location you want to write about.
  3. Tell about how you feel, when being at that place and explain why you have chosen it for your essay.
  4. Give a precise description of the place.
  5. Give all the relatable details and facts that can enrich your essay.
  6. Finish your essay with a summary.

Remember, the more places or details you are willing to describe, the more paragraphs you will need to create. Usually, descriptive essay consists of five paragraphs. However, you should also pay attention to the tutor’s requirements and guidelines.

It often happens that students can’t complete all of the tasks because of a tight schedule, part-time jobs, illnesses, or any other reasons. They also may lack interest in the topic. In such a case, they can simply turn to professional writers, who have the necessary experience and background in writing a flawless essay.

In case you have any questions left, just contact our managers, and we’ll be happy to solve any issues!

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