Descriptive Essay | Purpose, Elements and Descriptive Essay Meaning

Descriptive Essay: An essay is a piece of writing that gives a view of the author. The definition is somewhat vague as it overlaps with the definition of a letter, pamphlet, story, and article. Essays are classified into formal and informal types. The formal ones are written with the serious purpose of dignity, local organization, and strength, whereas the informal ones are personal ones.

A descriptive essay is a form of essay writing. As the name already suggests, descriptive essays are those essays that describe something. In this genre of essay writing, writers have to describe anything, be it a place, a thing, a person, an experience, or even a situation. There are many examples in English literature of descriptive essays to read, such as ‘The Taj Mahal’ by Salman Rushdie, ‘Yarn’ by Koyoko Mori, and many others.

In this article, we will also go into details about the process of descriptive essay writing. This article will help students improve their essay writing skills and give them a clear look at the basics of the process. Many descriptive essay pdf is available online, which helps students read them and learn more about essays.

Descriptive Essay Writing

What is Descriptive Essay?

An essay that gives a detailed description of the topic and paints a picture in the mind of the readers. The topic can be anything an object, a memory, a person, or even a place or an experience. The definition may seem similar to that of narrative essays, but in reality, descriptive essays are very different from narrative ones as they present a different perspective.

A descriptive essay is the most expressive form of an essay. Descriptive essay helps sharpen students’ analytical skills, which is helpful for them in their future studies. This is the reason why descriptive essays are given to students of high school and college. This encourages the students and their ability to create an image by appealing to the readers’ senses.

When assigned with writing a descriptive essay the writer is often provided with a specific topic or a choice of topics. Usually the range of topics vary from personal descriptive essay prompts which includes describing something from their own experience. Imaginative descriptive essay prompts demands the writer to describe something out of their experience using the help of imagination. Conceptual descriptive essay prompts the writer to describe about something which is vague such as an emotion.

Guidelines for writing a Descriptive Essay

An effective descriptive essay requires selecting a good topic, creating an outline, organization of ideas, and adding useful, relevant information to the essay.

Selecting a topic

The selection of a good topic is essential. The topic should be attractive enough to keep the reader stuck throughout the essay. The writer should write down the points which he is going to elaborate. For instance, if the writer chooses a topic of say mountains then he should first jot down the points such has the weather up there, the view from the mountains during sunset, the snowfall, etc.

The list once completed then the writer can go on describing the each topic on the list one by one. In this way the writer should be able to give a good description of the topic given to them by their instructors or the topic chosen by themselves.


Keeping the ideas of the essay organized is very important. The writer can fall into an incoherent rambling of emotions and senses. Still, the writer has to maintain a proper and organized structure of the essay. If a descriptive essay comes unorganized, then the reader will not stick to it till the end. But an organized essay will leave the reader with a clear sense of what the writer was trying to say.

Choice of Language

The writer’s choice of words should be necessary. Better use of words will help the writer create a better image in the mind of the readers. Instead of using common words like cheap and violent, the writer should go for words like miserably and tempestuous, respectively. The use of better words often has various nuanced meanings, which helps the writer.

The writer should be meticulous about their choice of words. They need to maintain a clear connection between the relevancy of words used and the idea of the essay. The writer should be effective in his use of adjectives, adverbs, verbs and even nouns. Writers are often preferred to use better words for description instead of clichés because clichés often provide a conventional description of the subject.

Clichés donot allow the writer to describe the subject in their own unique way.

A Good Introduction and Conclusion

A good introduction at the beginning of the essay is critical. It introduces the idea or the characters of the essay and gives an overview of what the essay will be. A good introduction will get the reader hooked up with the essay.

The conclusion is the last chance for the writer to impress the reader. The conclusion should summarise the entire essay. The last line of the conclusion is where the main aim of writing the essay is finalized, and it leaves a long-lasting impression in the mind of the readers.

Clear Impression in the mind of the Reader

One of the primary goals of writing a descriptive essay is to create a connection between the subject and the reader; if the reader starts looking at the subject in the same way as the writer after reading the latter’s essay, then the essay can be termed as an excellent descriptive essay.

Informative Thesis Statement

This statement decides the purpose of the essay. The writer should use descriptive words and be creative while writing the thesis statement. The statement should be clear and precise as it is the soul of the writing. Creating suspense around the thesis statement helps in attracting readers toward the essay.

Descriptive Essay 2

Elements of a Descriptive Essay

There are precisely five essential elements needed in a descriptive essay. These are :

  • Sensory Details: Descriptive essay involves giving minute details about the subject to arouse the reader’s emotions and associate them with the essay. A picture of the subject is painted in the mind of the readers, involving the senses of touch, sight, and others. Even if the subject is abstract the writer might incorporate senses metamorphically. It is always useful for the writer to explore it’s subject more than just what it looks like. Bringing in sensory minute details helps in creating a image of the subject in the reader’s mind which cannot be achieved by just describing how the subject looks.
  • Figurative Langauge: One of the main elements of descriptive essay writing is figurative language. The use of similes, adjectives, and metaphors helps create a sketch of the subject in the mind of the readers. This helps the readers connect with the writers and helps them look into the subject from the same light as the writer.
  • Central Theme: The central theme of the essay directs the essay and the contents. The central theme should be based on a single point and be well-detailed. A loose central theme will affect the essence of the essay.
  • Precise Language: The type of language used in the essay is very important. The essence of the essay depends on the words that are used. It is always advised to use sound and good words rather than using ambiguous and vague words. The words of the essay should be in apparent connection with the idea of the essay.
  • Organisation of Ideas: Another essential element of descriptive essays is the organization of the ideas. The chronology and spatial location of the essay should be maintained to acquire the readers’ interest until the end. The ideas if not well organized, the readers won’t find any interest in reading the article.

Purpose of Writing a Descriptive Essay

The primary and sole purpose of a descriptive essay is to describe the subject of the essay. The subject can be anything or anyone. The essay gives a clear image of the subject in the mind of the readers, and for this to happen, the writer has to use vivid language. This helps in carrying the message of the essay.

The essay doesn’t necessarily focus on giving factual information as it is not for convincing anyone about anybody or anything. This is where descriptive essay writing becomes different from argumentative ones. Instead, a descriptive essay focuses on giving out minute details about the subject, which helps the reader see the subject in the same light as the writer.

Descriptive Essay 1

The Takeaways from this article

The article will be helpful for students in improving their writing skills, especially their essay writing skills. It will help them differentiate between different forms of essay and will be helpful for them if they pursue literature shortly. The article will also be helpful for the likes of budding writers and will improve their way of writing and the type of English they use.

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