A Closer Look at Descriptive Essay Writing

Updated: Jan 18, 2016

Writing a descriptive essay is like painting a picture with words.

Clother look at descriptive essay writingDescriptive essay is one of the major types of essays, requiring the student to provide a description of an object, person, place, device, - or just about any other type of thing that can be described verbally. Very often writers of descriptive essays are likened to artists who need to paint their pictures using only words – and that's exactly what is happening in descriptive writing.


Main purpose of descriptive writing is to hone students' writing skills. In order to write an effective and a memorable essay, students need to master such important aspects of writing as arranging ideas logically in a paper, using rich vocabulary and using connection words that ensure text flow. The ultimate goal of a descriptive essay is creating a picture so vivid, that readers easily retain the described object in their imagination. This is usually attained by using figurative language, comparisons, metaphors, metonymy, allegory, exaggeration and other literary devices. 

Documentation and hard research are not always necessary components (although they may be).


In its typical format it should take the five paragraph essay structure and should consist of an introduction, two to three body paragraphs and a conclusion. Such structure is often likened to a hamburger.

Here is an article that explains in greater detail the structure of any five paragraph essay. A typical 5 paragraph essay is between 400 to 500 words in length.


1. Appeal to the reader's imagination and senses: describe how the thing looked, smelled, felt, sounded or even tasted, or even thought or imagined. Example:

We imagined they weren’t just mere dogs, but gigantic, slobbering wolves.

2. Use adjectives to describe things. They are probably the most important words that create a picture in your readers' mind. Use a synonyms thesaurus if you feel you're running short of descriptors. Example:

The warm summer sun and the clear blue summer sky are such a marvelous experience.

3. Use literary devices. Things like simile and metaphor are the most basic ones. They will definitely add weight to your essay. Examples:

His rough fingers that felt softer than silk when they brushed her skin (simile)

Aunt Kathie's long fingers were thin gnarled branches (metaphor)

4. Use inversion (or inverse word order) for emphasis. Example:

These were the neighborhood people


These are the basic tips and techniques for writing an impressive descriptive essay. Tools and literary devices should suffice for any of the college level writing. Remember to edit and proofread your essay once you are done with a draft of your paper. This will help to eliminate silly mistakes and is likely to prevent you from losing points. 

If you are still unsure how to write your descriptive essay, you can always ask for professional assistance from our writers. Privatewriting.com is the world’s leader in providing custom writing services, including descriptive essay writing. Feel free to contact us and we will come up with a top-notch product that exceeds your expectations. Once you are ready, feel free to request assistance via chat, phone or email.

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