Descriptive Essays and Easy Tips to Write It

writing an essay

The aim of the descriptive essay is to create a vivid picture of a thing, a human, or a place. To the contrary of a narrative essay, where you have to tell the meaning of the subject through a personal story, a descriptive essay should reveal it through a detailed observation. While reading a descriptive essay, people should have a feeling that they have really seen the object, met the person or visited the particular place. Readers should feel a deep emotional connection to the subject of the essay and see its significance. Here are some steps to follow in order to write a really good work:

Show, not tell

The most important thing is to see the difference between telling, explaining and showing. As you have already guessed, writing a descriptive essay requires showing rather than telling. Try to detail your essay as much as you can, use the details of size, smell, texture, taste, etc. If you use ‘showing’ words, it will provide your readers with a bright view of your subject and will help you to succeed in your writing. Here are examples to help you see the difference:


‘After eating the dinner I felt tired and sleepy’.


‘After eating my dinner, I tilted my head backward, my eyes began to feel itchy and my eyelids grew heavy, the edges of the blue plate in front of me blurred with blue color of the tablecloth.’


‘Though I was very tired after the long and exhausting day at work, I still decided to have a dinner before going to bed because I had already ordered a take-out. While eating I felt so sleepy that I left the kitchen and went to my bedroom to lie down.’

‘Showing’ uses very specific details: though we don’t see the actual word ‘sleepy’ used, nevertheless, we can sense and understand this feeling though the descriptive words. Never mistake explanation and description! Explanation is a type of telling that reveals some additional details. When description devolves into explanation, essay usually becomes boring and uninteresting.


Before you begin to write the actual essay, try to draft the words you might use to give the best picture of the subject of your piece of work. Which sights, smells, tastes, textures, sounds are necessary for building a good description? What are the other details you can include to ensure your future readers have a bright impression based on your own feelings and emotions?


Every essay needs a good revision. Reread it a couple of times to make sure you have provided enough details and haven’t missed any important information. Check if your essay flows from one paragraph to another with the good statements. You don’t have to put too much information into one chapter, use each paragraph to describe and explain a different side of your subject. Also, don’t forget about a good conclusion. This part should tie everything together and clearly summarize all the details and what they mean to you personally.

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