In descriptive writing, the illustration effect is better achieved by using words that form a more firmer image in the mind of the reader. Describing something or embellishing the moment with senses makes it be more appealing to the senses of the reader. Say how the thing smelled, sounded, tasted, felt, or looked.
- 1 What Is a Descriptive Essay?
- 2 Using the Five Senses
- 3 How to Start a Descriptive Essay
- 4 Descriptive Essay Outline
- 5 Descriptive Essay Writing Tips
What Is a Descriptive Essay?
A descriptive essay is a type of essay which aims at helping you illustrate something to your reader in a way that they can see, feel, or hear what you are talking about.
When you hear about the word “describe”, the immediate thing that comes to your mind is how you can illustrate something with words. In describing, you can illustrate a sound, object, feeling, sound, or even emotion.
If you are looking for descriptive essay examples here is a great one below.
Descriptive essays pretty just follow the same illustration principle. They aim at helping you illustrate something to your reader in a way that they can see, feel, or hear what you are talking about. Unlike a narrative essay which reveals meaning through a personal story, the purpose of a descriptive essay is to reveal the meaning of a certain subject through detailed and vivid sensory observation. Descriptive essays use the power of language and all five human senses to bring the subject to life for your readers.
If a reader comes from reading your descriptive essay with the feeling that they have really met a person, visited a particular place, or held a certain object, then you pretty much have done your job as a writer. To some extent, one would say that descriptive writing is writing in 3-D.
Using the Five Senses
Descriptive essays are great because they help readers to see places that they might not even be able to go themselves. They also help them hear new things, smell foreign smells, taste different flavors, or touch different textures. The essays do this by use of more concrete concepts, which most often include our five senses. Sensory details are details of taste, smell, taste, texture, and sound as well as sight.
When you choose to use ‘showing’ words; those words which supply vivid sensory details fit for your subject and purpose, you will succeed in ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’. ‘Telling’ words are usually vague or ambiguous, meaning they can be interpreted in a variety of ways that may vary from what the writer exactly meant.
How to Start a Descriptive Essay
Here are some guidelines for writing a descriptive essay:
Take your time to do some brainstorming
Depending on the subject you choose or your instructor asks you to describe, make sure that you first jot down some ideas before you begin describing it. You can choose to break the subject down into small sections and then start compiling descriptive lists for each of these sections. Brainstorming gives you an opening that will guide you on how to phrase your essay and the descriptive words that will come in handy in doing so.
Use vivid language
In descriptive writing, the illustration effect is better achieved by using words that form a more firmer image in the mind of the reader. For example, why not use the word stallion instead of a horse, or tempestuous instead of violent?
Use your Senses
This is the core of descriptive essay writing and therefore there is no way of escaping it. Describing something or embellishing the moment with senses makes it be more appealing to the senses of the reader. Say how the thing smelled, sounded, tasted, felt, or looked.
Use Clear and concise language
You must make sure that your words are well selected, especially so that they can be relevant in relation to that which you intend to describe.
Aim to leave your reader with a clear impression of that which you are describing
One of your aims should be to evoke a strong sense of familiarity and appreciation to the subject you are describing in the reader. If your reader walks away with the feeling that they have felt, touched, or visited a place you were describing, then your writing was effective.
Descriptive Essay Outline
A descriptive essay outline is comprised of three main parts which include; an introduction, body, and conclusion.
After jotting down your ideas and deciding to settle on one, start with the introduction. The introduction should contain the general idea of what the whole descriptive essay is all about. You should start with a strong opening which may be a quote that catches the reader’s attention.
Here, you should elaborate the pointers that you have already written down. Normally, one point can be detailed in one paragraph, so the length of your essay could depend on the number of ideas you want to point out. You can have three paragraphs for example; with the first describing the object itself, the second describing the surroundings, and the third giving the sensual and emotional description.
The conclusion summarizes the emotional and physical attitude of the author to the described situation, subject, or person. The conclusion reiterates the meaning of the author’s ideas and why he actually describes it to the reader.
Descriptive Essay Writing Tips
TIP 1. Showing vs Telling
Instead of just telling the reader that the day was really relaxing and peaceful, use descriptive language to show them just that, and even somehow make them feel as if they were part of it.
TIP 2. Use Similes and Metaphors
Similes and metaphors help you make your descriptions more vivid. They paint a more detailed picture for your reader as well as make the illustration more interesting.
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