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Descriptive Essay – a Key to Mastering Academic Writing

January 30, 2020

A descriptive essay is a rather brief paper that aims to describe or summarize a certain topic. There is no need to collect arguments or to interview other people, you even don’t have to process multiple sources and reference them properly. In most cases descriptive (or expository) essays take not more than one page and don’t require days of work.

However, you should still devote enough energy to the process even if it doesn’t require specific details or arguments. In most cases, you are just asked to describe anything you see, touch, taste or feel. Students may need to describe a location, an event or even a person.

Here are the main types of descriptive essays you can choose from:

  • Essay about a person or an animal. Here students need to tell about appearance, behavior, actions, mood, and traits of character of the described subject;
  • Location. Try to choose places with amazing scenery because it will be much simpler to engage the reader. For example, Paris, New York or Rome;
  • Event. These descriptive essays can cover a birthday party, vacation, rock concert, family trip or wedding day;
  • Behavior. Here everything’s simple: you should describe the behavior of a person that stood out, was weird, inappropriate or made you proud;
  • Occupation. Writing about a dream job is a rather simple but yet personalized topic.

Outstanding descriptive essay topics for any occasion

Our experts have made a list of the most popular descriptive essay topics, so if you lack ideas and need motivation – just choose a subcategory and find the most suitable one! And no matter what topic you’ll choose always remember that your goal is to show, not to tell – draw a picture and make readers feel a part of the event or location.

Essays about a person

  1. Describe your mother, father or another relative;
  2. Give a description of a person you consider a role model – a singer, actor, politician, best friend, etc.;
  3. Why is Greta Thunberg so popular?
  4. Describe your favorite TV show character;
  5. Reveal the personality of a popular villain;
  6. Tell about the traits you admire in your best friend;
  7. What traits of character do you appreciate the most in your girlfriend/boyfriend?
  8. Would you choose Wonder Woman or Cat Woman?
  9. Describe a teacher you like the most;
  10. Explain why your best friend is better than the others.
  11. Essays about a place

  12. Give a detailed description of your house. What would you change about it?
  13. Where do you prefer resting during summer breaks? Why?
  14. Give an example of the best winter location;
  15. What is your favorite place during family holidays;
  16. Ways of making college or university campus cozier;
  17. A place you like the most in your country;
  18. A perfect place for a wedding;
  19. Tell about the countries you would like to travel to;
  20. I love my hometown;
  21. The best concert I have ever been to.
  22. Essays on mind

  23. Describe the best day you have ever had by using examples and comparisons;
  24. What was the best thing about your last trip abroad?
  25. Do you remember your fifth birthday?
  26. Create a mind map to show readers more of who you are;
  27. Describe your first day at school or university;
  28. What was the most awful experience in your entire life?
  29. Tell about the things you enjoyed doing with parents;
  30. Tell about the first time you fell in love;
  31. Describe a day, when your perception of something has rapidly changed;
  32. Give details of your visit to New York.
  33. Essays on describing an object or thing

  34. Describe your family relict;
  35. Tell about a thing that has saved your life;
  36. The most precious thing in your room;
  37. Things from Ancient Greece that every person should know about;
  38. Describe time and distance from a physical point of view;
  39. Value and importance of Taj Mahal;
  40. Planets of the Solar System;
  41. A comfortable bed is a key to a good sleep;
  42. Role of the Bible in the life of your family;
  43. Things to take to a desert island.

Structure of a descriptive essay

The structure of a descriptive essay greatly depends on the chosen topic. For example, you don’t have to follow a strict time order when writing about an object or person but it’s required when describing a place or event.

Instead of researching the topic and finding different sources, concentrate on your feelings and emotions. To get an A+ result, make five columns on a piece of paper, each of which is devoted to a particular sense. Thus, a good descriptive essay must cover all of these senses: sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound.

With their help, readers will experience a range of emotions on the topic. Of course, every topic is associated with a few particular senses, so you should stick to them when describing the matter.

The next important aspect is working on an outline. As you probably know, it acts like a plan of the future work, a compass not to let you get lost. It doesn’t matter whether you are a middle school or a university student: your descriptive essay should contain five paragraphs: introduction, around three body paragraphs, and conclusion. Luckily, there is no need to write a reference page but it may be needed if you’re describing a political event, a world leader, and other not so personal topics.

When working on a descriptive essay a great idea will be downloading examples of works on a similar topic. With their help, you’ll understand the structure and will draw fresh ideas if you’re feeling stuck. If you’re running out of time and don’t want to surf the Internet searching for descriptive essay examples, just use the check-list below!

A step-by-step guide to writing an outstanding descriptive essay

  1. Preparatory stage. Before taking a pen, you should have a clear picture of the thing you are going to describe. Evaluate all the resources you possess to decide whether there is enough data to create a solid descriptive essay. Make sure that you have enough experience on the subject and if not – try to choose another one. Focus on your emotions and the five senses (for example, smell or taste) when you’re recalling events or situations, and then write down a plan of the future work;
  2. Starting a descriptive essay. Your paper should begin with a catchy hook that aims to grab the attention of the reader. Depending on the topic and general mood a hook can be a metaphor, a simile, a quote from a book or of a famous person, lines of a poem, a joke, interesting fact, and so on;
  3. Make the first draft. It’s not a secret that even the most experienced writers hardly get a great result from the first try. So just take a pen and write down all the thoughts that pop up in your mind. Later you will have a chance to shorten or paraphrase them. Give readers an image of the topic, make them feel involved in the story. Yes, it’s a skill, not every student possesses but surely a skill that you can develop;
  4. Use a vivid English vocabulary and dictionaries. A descriptive essay is all about juggling with words and the more synonyms you know (or can find) – the better the result will be! Use vocabularies and dictionaries to enrich your knowledge of adverbs and adjectives. Only with their help, it’s possible to render the thoughts and feelings in a proper manner;
  5. Revise the paper thoroughly and then use online checkers. When your essay is ready, you should check whether it is readable and smooth and if all the paragraphs are in place. Write down all the sources you have used (if required) and then upload the essay to one of the multiple free online checkers that evaluate the text and fix grammar and spelling mistakes;
  6. Edit your descriptive essay. Correct all the mistakes including punctuation to prove that you are not only a great storyteller but also have a solid knowledge of English.

When all these stages are completed, put the paper aside and give yourself some time to relax. If you want, it’s possible to ask people you trust (friends, classmates or relatives) to read the draft. Or you can contact our professional writers and they will make sure that everything is perfect.

In case there is still some time left and you want to make your descriptive essay even better, here are the questions you can ask yourself:

  • Have I included enough details to give readers a vivid image of the topic?
  • Have I missed any descriptive details?
  • Are there enough words that describe five senses?
  • Are there any uncertainties in the essay, which may confuse or mislead the reader?
  • Have I managed to stick to a 5-paragraph format?
  • Are these paragraphs arranged smoothly? Are there enough transition words between them?

In case you worry that your descriptive essay might turn out not that great or you’re running out of time and still don’t have a topic – don’t panic! We are a team of professional writers and editors that are here to cover your back.