Descriptive Essay: Step-By-Step Guide With Samples

descriptive essay

When it comes to essay writing a descriptive essay, the best way to start is by describing a person, place, or thing. After all, the most important part of a descriptive essay is the sensory details you provide.

Do you have to write a descriptive essay for your class, but don't know where to start from? Don't panic!

In this blog post, we'll show you the basics of writing a descriptive essay and give you some tips and tricks to make it easier. In addition to providing detailed instructions, we’ve also included several samples to help get you started. So what are you waiting for?

Let's get this started!

What is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is just another type of academic essay writing. In this genre of the essay, a student describes an object, place, person, experience, etc. This essay asks the students to write about a particular experience and describe it.

It includes the writer’s own experience; it gives a writer the freedom to portray things and situations artistically. The purpose of this essay is to form imagery for its readers.

If you cannot make your audience see and feel what you have been through, then the purpose of this essay is lost.

Difference Between Narrative And Descriptive Essay Writing

A descriptive essay, in other words, paints a picture, but instead of colors, the words are used. And to do this, use adjectives, adverbs, and other literary devices in your writing. These words are used to evoke the emotions of your audience and make them see what you saw.

However, in a narrative essay, a writer has to narrate a complete story instead of focussing on a person or object.

Components of a Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay comprises five components. These components together help in forming an effective descriptive essay.

The components include:

  • Sensory Details

    An effective and winning descriptive essay will hit the reader’s emotions and help them get attached and associated with your writing. This essay has the ability to create a picture of the selected topic for its audience and must be appealing to the senses that include touch, smell, and taste.

    This makes your audience feel and see things that you are trying to convey.

  • Figurative Language

    A descriptive essay demands you to use figurative language. This is to help readers visualize what is written there in your essay.

    To do this, use metaphors, adjectives, and adverbs to write a character sketch of people, their emotions, places, and experiences.

  • Theme

    The theme of a descriptive essay serves as navigation for its details and content. Therefore, your essay’s central idea or theme should be explicitly defined, so your essay’s purpose and meaning are clear to your audience.

  • Language

    The language of your essay should be appropriate and compliment the topic and theme of the essay. Direct and precise words are recommended to use instead of vague and ambiguous phrases and words.

  • Organize Your Thoughts

    Organizing all your thoughts and ideas is essential in a descriptive essay. The order of events and incidents in this essay plays an important role. They form a transition in the essay, maintaining the logical flow.

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How to Start a Descriptive Essay?

"How do you begin a descriptive essay?"

An essay is strong if its starting is firm and interesting. Therefore, it is very important to have a strong starting in your descriptive essay. To give a nice start to your essay, make sure to do the following things:

  • Analyze

    The first thing is to analyze the topic or the subject of the essay in detail. Observe every minute detail to make your descriptive essay effective.

    The best way to start is to begin by observing all the aspects of your topic and the things surrounding it. Look for all the details on the subject and build a point of view. Be creative and thoughtful.

  • Setting

    The physical setting and placement of things in a descriptive essay play an important part. Describe the position and the things around the subject.

    Talk about all the features of the scene. For example, it’s lighting, the order in which things are placed, decoration and embellishments, the shape of things, and all the observable details.

  • Features

    Describe the physical features of the subject to make your readers believe that they can see the subject. For example, if the subject is a human, describe its expressions, age, skin, appearance, etc.

    If presenting a nonliving object, describe it with its colors, texture, etc.

  • Drama

    You can never create a good story without adding drama to it. Similarly, for a descriptive essay to be successful, you have to add drama to it. The element of drama is added to make your writing exciting and engaging the audience of all sorts.

    It is risky to add drama to your writing. Only the right amount will work for you. The unnecessary drama will affect the sentence structure and ruin your whole essay. Make sure to add drama just to complement your essay.

  • Writer’s Feelings

    Writers need to focus on their feelings in the essay as well. So, before starting to write your essay, think about the topic or the subject and carry the same feeling in the whole essay.

    Writing based on feelings will hit the readers in the right place and read your essay attentively.

  • Vocabulary

    When you have to describe emotions and paint pictures with words, vocabulary is everything. The use of the right words can make your essay. Think about the words you are using to describe people and objects.

    Even for situations, vocabulary is everything. Don’t write the first word that comes to your mind.

    Look for synonyms that best suit the situation or feeling. A reader feels everything with the words you choose.

  • Psychological Aspects

    When you write about people and their situations, it involves psychological aspects to describe their feelings and emotions.

    Suppose you describe the death of your beloved one in the essay, you know how you felt and all the psychological aspects. Their departure left a hole in your life, and you couldn’t think straight.

    Present these feelings by choosing the right and appropriate words that best describe the feelings and the situations you or your characters were in.

  • The Question ‘Why’

    When you analyze your topic or subject, ask yourself some questions before you start writing your essay. For example,

    • Why is your chosen subject the way it is?
    • Why does your main character look like this?
    • Why are things around us the way they are? etc.

When you write this frequently, you will know its importance and how to use it naturally.

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How to Write a Descriptive Essay?

Descriptive essays are written to make your audience visualize what you want them to see about a person, an event, or a story. You made the readers feel what you felt.

When writing a descriptive essay, the writer aims to hit the reader’s five senses, including touch, taste, smell, etc. To do this, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Describe your subject in detail and thoroughly.
  2. Look into the small details and focus on them. Add these details to your essay.
  3. Share what you feel or what you have experienced. This will help to better connect with readers.
  4. Discuss all the sensory details of your characters and subjects.

Keep in mind that a descriptive essay is written with a purpose. To make your essay effective, make sure that this purpose is not lost while writing it. Creativity and innovation present the blend of purpose and story to make your essay remarkable.

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Descriptive Essay Outline

Like all other academic writings, the descriptive essay writing format has to be meaningful and structured. A descriptive essay follows a traditional and basic essay outline with an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

The features of good descriptive essay writing are discussed in detail:


According to the tips by an essay writer to write an introduction, the introductory paragraph of a descriptive essay should contain:

  • A hook to grab readers.
  • Limited information about the subject or the topic.
  • Overview of the key points of the story or an essay.
  • Just introduce the topic and do not give away all the sensory information.
  • Summary of the main argument.
  • The last lines of your introductory paragraph must include a thesis statement.

Main Body

It includes the essay’s body paragraphs, which detail the topic and the thesis statement. To write a better body for your descriptive essay, add all the interesting information.

Your body paragraphs should:

  • Start with topic sentences and all the information in the particular paragraph that is related and important
  • Contain transition between all the paragraphs to maintain a logical flow of your essay
  • Be direct and explicit


All the paragraphs in the main body of your essay should lead up to the essay conclusion. It is the final verdict that you give about your writing.

The conclusion is written by:

  • Restating the thesis statement that you made in the introduction of your essay
  • Summarizing the key points in the body
  • Adding the final or closing statement
  • Giving the course of action away for the readers if required

It is important to realize that a conclusion shouldn’t be bigger than the introduction of your essay.

Create an outline of your descriptive essay before you start writing. It will help you not miss the details in your essay.

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Writing Guidelines of a Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essays are not as easy to write as you think. However, if you follow these guidelines, you will be successful in impressing your instructor and audience.

  • Brainstorm

    A key to better writing is to brainstorm ideas. When you know your topic, think about the ideas in your essay and write them down to make a rough draft, gather all the ideas and points and form a structure.

    Research how to describe characters and present your characters and situations creatively in your essay to make your descriptive writing compelling.

  • Accuracy

    Using appropriate language and correct words is key to accurate writing. Using words with vague and ambiguous meanings will just create complications in your reader’s mind, and your essay’s purpose will be lost.

    Precision is important to present a realistic image of a subject to the readers. Use simple yet strong words to describe subjects to make your readers feel and understand them.

  • Aim to Hit Senses

    You are writing a descriptive essay, so it must hit the reader’s senses, and he should feel everything presented in the essay. Therefore, your writing should appeal to all the five senses of your audience.

    Talking about how your subject looks like or smells is important. It helps your audience comprehend and understand your subject better.

  • Organize

    All the information and events should be organized and must highlight the key idea. Never lose focus on the key points when writing other details in your essay. Instead, organize your thoughts and ideas while giving the descriptions.

  • Proofread

    No, your essay is not worthy of submission right after you finish writing it. Your essay needs to be revised and proofread to make sure that there are no mistakes and errors. Make your essay flawless by punctuation, spelling, font, and grammar checking, etc.

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Descriptive Essay Examples

Before you start writing an essay, it is important to go through some

descriptive essay writing pdf examples to craft your essay perfectly and professionally.

Following are some descriptive essay samples for you:

Descriptive Essay About a Person (PDF)

Descriptive Essay About a Person

Descriptive Essay About a Place (PDF)

Descriptive Essay About a Place

Descriptive Essay Writing Examples for College Students (PDF)

Descriptive Essay Writing Examples for College Students

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Descriptive Essay Writing Topics

There are a plethora of descriptive essay topics to write about. For example, you can write about a person, place, memory, object, etc. In addition, all high school, college, and university students can choose the strong descriptive essay writing prompts given below.

  • Your first day after marriage with your partner.
  • First experience of bungee jumping with friends.
  • The moment you realize that college education is important.
  • Worst day of your life.
  • Last day of your high school.
  • How important is love in one’s life?
  • My first tear of joy
  • My star gazing partner
  • My worst nightmare
  • My pet peeves
  • My favorite painting
  • Most embarrassing moment
  • Expectations of moving to a city
  • Your role model and an inspiration
  • Character Sketch of your favorite character in the Game of Thrones
  • Discovering the universe
  • How is dance an expression for you?
  • My favorite TV series?
  • My favorite teacher

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Descriptive Essay Writing Tips

Here are some tips to make your descriptive essay writing look like a professional wrote it.

  • Take your time to go through the prewriting phase of descriptive essay writing. Think about the object or topic that you want to write about.
  • When you have finalized a topic, narrow down the qualities that you want to talk about in your essay. This will make your essay specific and to the point.
  • When you are describing an object, make sure that you give a description of more than just physical features. Include feelings and memories in the essay too.

Follow the guide to learn how to write the best descriptive essay. If you are not confident about your writing skills and are confused about the writing process, take help from us at

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