Descriptive Essay Helper: Definition, Purpose, Writing Hints and 50 Topics
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Descriptive Essay Writer
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What Is a Descriptive Essay?
If you want to succeed in descriptive essay writing, it is essential to know what is a descriptive essay. Check out the following definitions, which will help you to identify descriptive essays in the best way:
- A descriptive essay is a brief academic paper that is focused on the detailed description or summation of a specific issue, phenomenon, topic or occurrence. A great thing about a descriptive essay is that it does not need any additional collection of responses, i.e. via interviews or questionnaires as in argumentative papers.
- As it can be inferred from the name, a descriptive essay aims at describing something. As such, a descriptive essay may describe anything and can thus be written on any topic: you may provide a descriptive essay about a person or a descriptive essay about an object, etc. More so, you may focus on some memorable or remarkable experience. The thing is to master the ability to describe objects in great detail and as vividly as possible. Therefore, you need to appeal to emotions, feelings, and all five senses.
- A descriptive essay is a type of academic essay writing, where you are expected to provide such a vivid description of some person or phenomenon that your audience might feel as if they see the object/ person with their own eyes.
A successfully written essay should have the following characteristics:
- it should appeal to the five senses;
- it should vividly use images;
- it should be succinct and detailed in nature.
What Is Descriptive Writing?
Descriptive writing is a type of academic writing that has the aim of vividly depicting some object, person, phenomenon or event with the help of words and literary devices. As such, the descriptive paper provides readers with bright descriptions of things, places, people, events, etc. Focus should be placed on details and vivid descriptive vocabulary. Moreover, appealing to senses is highly encouraged.
What Are the Five Senses in Descriptive Writing?
One of the fundamentals of descriptive writing is to make sure that the essay or some other piece of writing appeals to all five senses of the reader. Be sure that you appeal to more than one sense, as your piece of writing will lack dimension and depth. Check out how to appeal to all senses:
- Appeal to sight. By appealing to sight, you can make the reader observe the situation or see some object/ person with his/ her own eyes.
- Appeal to sound. If you are describing some sounds, some concert, some speech, the sound of the waves at the seaside, you should definitely appeal to sound in order make the setting come alive for the reader. Use appropriate adjectives, adverbs, as well as literary devices for describing sounds.
- Appeal to smell. Many wonder what role smell plays in writing or how can one convey smell when writing an essay or an article. The answer is simple – when appealing to smell, you can make your reader really nostalgic, especially when describing the smell of some well-known objects or places, particularly from childhood memories.
- Appeal to touch. When appealing to touch, you can depict a specific experience or event as either pleasant or traumatic. To achieve a specific effect, use corresponding adjectives and figures of speech.
- Appeal to taste. Normally, these senses can be evoked when one is drinking or eating. So, the best option to appeal to the sense of taste is when your essay deals with some bright taste of some food or beverages.
There is also the widely known sixth sense, which is a kind of sense that is inexplicable to some extent. Still, it may be appropriate when telling some types of stories. The sixth sense refers to intuition or premonition about some dramatic or even tragic events.
Descriptive Essay Definition
A descriptive paper is a brief piece of academic writing that should provide a topic summary as well as describe personal experience of the writer as well as his/ her impressions. The main focus should be placed on the description. Therefore, you may write a descriptive essay about a place, person, object or a descriptive essay about an event, etc. A great thing about descriptive essays is that you do not have to add others` responses or add some scientific evidence. The key of writing a descriptive essay is to use sensory appeal. For example, if you write a descriptive essay about food, please appeal to the taste and smell first of all. You may as well appeal to touch.
What Is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay?
As it can be already inferred from the title, the core purpose is to describe. As such, you may describe virtually anything that comes to your mind, that you see or that you have experienced. When you intend to describe some object, person or a phenomenon, you should appeal to all five senses in order to make it vivid. As such, you may use imagery, literary devices, etc. When you are writing a descriptive essay, your purpose is not to argue a specific topic or persuade your audience in some opinion or standpoint. Your aim is to paint a picture with words. Descriptive essays are majorly a part of creative writing assignments but they may also be assigned as parts of academic writing tasks, essay compilations, or articles in blogs, magazines, etc. Even though the style of writing is free, the paper needs logical organization that enables the topic to flow smoothly. Therefore, it is important to organize the paper and make sure it is not confusing in meaning.
What Should a Descriptive Writing Include?
- Vivid descriptions and sensory details. You should be able to paint a vivid picture of the described phenomenon in order to evoke specific feelings in your target readers.
- You should be well versed in the use of figurative language and literary devices. Therefore, if you do not know what a comparison, simile, metaphor, epithet, and other literary figures are, please look up the definitions and examples on the net.
- Use specific language instead of general language. Each adjective or adverb that you use should be used with a specific purpose.
- Make sure you organize your paper in a concise and logical way. Some of the possible way to organize ideas in your essay are the following: spatial (when it comes to location), chronological (when it comes to the time frames), and in the order of importance (priority).
Descriptive Essay Components
Just like any other academic assignment, a descriptive essay should have the following elements:
- Introduction. In the opening paragraph, please introduce the subject or topic of the essay. Make sure you include a hook in the introductory paragraph so that you make the essay appealing to your audience. Remember that the introduction should be appealing enough to make the readers read your essay till the end.
- The main body. This part comprises of body paragraphs. On average, there are 3-5 body paragraphs depending on the paper length. In the body paragraphs, you have to discuss the ideas in detail and develop the message that you initially intended to convey in the thesis. Be sure to provide specific examples and illustrations in the body paragraphs.
- Conclusion. Here you need to pinpoint to the most important ideas that you have discussed. Provide your own perspective on the issue and summarize the main paper findings.
How to Write a Descriptive Essay?
- Select a topic.
- Come up with a strong and clear thesis statement.
- Make sure you decide to which senses you will appeal in the process of writing.
- Compose an outline, which serves the function of the essay backbone.
- Think of what conclusion you want to have (what findings to obtain after presenting the essay).
- Review, edit, and proofread the paper after writing.
How to Start a Descriptive Essay?
It is essential to know how to start a descriptive essay and be able to cover the writing steps consistently. So, check out the following steps how to approach the process of writing the descriptive essay introduction:
Analyze the Topic
- investigate all the possible perspectives of your chosen topic;
- observe not just the topic on its own but also the background or the surrounding;
- concentrate on the most vivid details inherent in the subject. Think of the ideas you might develop in relation to them;
- be considerate and attentive.
Pay Attention to the Physical Settings
- consider the surroundings of the discussed subject;
- pay attention to the position of the thing described in relation to the adjacent objects;
- make sure you take into account the time of the day, the light, and other aspects;
- focus on the position of the object as well as its shape.
- is the described subject living or non-living?
- pay attention to the texture / skin, color, shades, expression, age, smoothness, and other features.
Add Up Some Drama
- be sure that drama plays an important role in creating descriptive essays. Add some drama in the settings, where it is possible and relevant;
- with the help of drama, make the description of static objects more lively;
- with the help of drama, provide an attention-grabber, or a hook, in your paper.
Focus On Your Feelings
- when describing the object, person, etc., add description of your own feelings and emotions in relation to the described object;
- be honest and genuine when speaking of your own feelings and emotions;
- do not orient yourself on others` emotions and feelings (how others would feel about the situation, experience, thing, person, etc.).
Use Specific Vocabulary (that appeals to senses)
- when talking about emotions: sneer, grumble, beg, etc.;
- when referring to the tone or pitch of sound: squeak, shriek, etc.;
- when referring to the volume of sound: cry, yell, whisper, scream.
Refer to Psychological Aspects
- if you need to describe some emotions or way of conduct, always look for psychological aspects of these emotions;
- describe the emotions or feelings and indicate the moment they appeared;
- pay attention not only to the emotions but also to the body language.
How to Write a Thesis for a Descriptive Essay?
Since a thesis is one of the core elements of any essay, it is essential to get to know how to write a thesis for a descriptive essay. First of all, you need to put forward the purpose of your piece of writing in the thesis statement. The purpose will be a so-called guide throughout the paper. The thesis statement appears first at the end of the introductory paragraph and is then reiterated in the conclusion (to pinpoint the importance of the topic once again).
The thesis statement should have the following characteristic features:
- it should be brief and succinct;
- it should be comprehensible and the main idea should be easily understood by the audience;
- it should convey a central idea of the paper.
In Descriptive Writing the Conclusion Should Do the Following
In descriptive writing, the conclusion should be concise and logical. You need to write it without introducing any new information but only by restating the most important facts mentioned before. So, an effective descriptive essay conclusion should adhere to the following requirements:
- it should appeal to emotions and feelings;
- it should provide a call to action concerning a specific issue (especially if the paper`s goal is to change some policy whatsoever);
- finish the paper with some provocative statement;
- provide specific recommendations.
Descriptive Essay Writing Hints
If you find descriptive essay writing challenging, the following descriptive essay writing hints will come in handy for you:
- Choose a specific object of description. It can be a thing, a person, an event, etc. If you want to provide a good and vivid description, the most suitable strategy for doing it will be observation. For example, if you need to provide a descriptive essay about the beach, what you have to do is go to the beach and observe what you see, hear, feel, etc. You need to bring the picture to life by using descriptive adjectives, adverbs, and figurative language.
- Outline the most vivid or striking details that make your object of description stand out. Put primary focus on them.
- After you have gathered details of description about the object, be sure to organize the details in a logical sequence. Moreover, be sure to provide transitional phrases between ideas and paragraphs. To bring more reality into the story, use vivid examples.
- When using descriptive words, be sure that they are clear. When the message you convey is ambiguous and confusing, there are all chances that your target audience might misunderstand you.
- Provide a clear conclusion. It should be comprehensive and well-structured. Reiterate the thesis statement and make sure you sound more convincing.
- Use appropriate language that corresponds to the topic of your paper. Be careful when choosing descriptive vocabulary when referring to the object of description.
- Make sure you separate the emotions and feelings you have in regards to your object of description. Do not overload the words with numerous meanings and try to provide clear details when describing. It should be clear to the readers what you feel about the described object.
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3 Popular Descriptive Essay Examples
- Celebrating Nerdiness Definition by Tom Rogers
- A Soldier's Story (1984): with Critique and Summary
- Eminem "Not Afraid" Parody Music Video
Descriptive Essay Topics for College Students
If you have not been given a specific topic for your descriptive essay, be sure that you can use ideas from the following list of descriptive essay topics for college students.
Topics for Descriptive Essay Writing for College Students
- Your dream profession after you graduate.
- The most memorable trip of my life.
- The very first time I remember myself flying in an aero plane.
- My memorable summer vacation.
- My learning process of driving a car.
- My first day at college.
- My best friend.
- The most surprising present in my life.
- A situation when I felt embarrassed.
- Your experience meeting strangers.
Topics to Write a Descriptive Essay on High School Life
- My pet.
- How would I feel if I met my favorite actor?
- My favorite holiday.
- Describe what you do when you are alone at home.
- Describe the process of learning a new skill.
- Your ideal weekend.
- Your best summer.
- Your favorite toy from childhood.
- The most vivid details of your personality.
- A place where you would like to live for the rest of your life.
Descriptive Essay Writing Topics for Nine-Graders
- The ideal world you would like to live in.
- Your ideal house.
- The most impressive journey of your life.
- The person you admire most.
- The best design for your own flat. Describe it in detail.
- Which person, in your opinion, made the most significant contribution in history?
- The experience of falling in love for the first time.
- Your favorite household chores. Why do you like them in particular?
- Which laws do you disagree with?
- Do you remember your first cooking experience? What was it like?
Descriptive Narrative Essay Topics
- Describe a moment when you met some person who made a great contribution into your life.
- Describe the experience of moving to another house.
- How did you get your first pet?
- The birthday party you will remember for the whole of your life.
- The birthday party that is the most disappointing for you.
- The most exciting game you have ever played.
- Your first experience performing in front of the audience.
- Your weirdest encounter.
- The most unusual or strange thing that has ever happened to you.
- How did you feel at the moment when you experienced rejection?
Descriptive Essay about a Picture
- Choose a photo of transformation and describe it in detail.
- Select a photo of protest and describe it.
- Describe a photograph of the local even that you have attended.
- Describe a picture of an abandoned house.
- Describe two pictures of the same building taken at different times.
- Describe a photo of a family.
- Describe a photo of a father with his children.
- Describe a picture depicting a day of ordinary life.
- Describe a photo taken behind the scenes.
- Describe a photo of some picturesque place.