describe someone, you give a picture in words to your readers. To
make the word picture as vivid and real as possible, you must write
specific details that appeal to your readers' senses (sight, hearing,
taste, smell, and touch). More
than any other paragraph, a descriptive paper needs sharp, colorful
Here is a paragraph written by a student describing her
The young woman in the picture has a face that resembles my
own in many ways. Her face is
a bit more oval than mine, but the softly waving brown hair around it is
identical. The small,
straight nose is the same model I was born with. My mother's mouth is closed, yet
there is just the slightest hint of a smile on her full lips. I know that if she had smiled, she
would have shown the same wide grin and down curving "smile lines" that
appear in my own snapshots.
The most haunting features in the photo, however, are my mother's
eyes. They are exact
duplicates of my own large, dark brown ones. Her brows are plucked into thin
lines, which are like two pencil strokes added to highlight those fine,
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is about - approximately
of medium height
- Eyes, Hair and Shin
has brown eyes
is a redhead
has black hair
- has a light
is dark skinned
- Other Characteristics
has a beard
a small nose
- The Descriptive Essay
When you describe something, you give your
readers a picture in words. You need to observe specific details that
may appeal to your readers. A descriptive paper needs sharp and
When you are describing the way something
looks, physical appearance and space -not time - is what you should
focus on. Therefore, you should arrange your sentences and details
according to where the objects being described are located. This
type of organization is referred to as spatial organization. In
a descriptive paragraph or essay, you must make very clear the
location of the objects you are describing. Also note that the
arrangement of the details in a descriptive paper depends on the
subject and the purpose.
description is a mode of expository writing which is relied upon
in other expository modes, we sometimes find difficulty in
imagining a purely descriptive essay. In a narrative, for
example, description can make the setting of characters more
vivid; in a process paper it can insure that the audience
understands the finished product. Regardless of how we use
description, it is easy to see that it strengthens an essay
ask, "But how do I write a purely descriptive essay? What's
the point of description? What's so different about it?"
There are three characteristics of a purely descriptive essay
which are worthy of remembering.
descriptive essay has one, clear dominant impression. If,
for example you are describing a snowfall, it is important
for you to decide and to let your reader know if it is
threatening or lovely; in order to have one dominant
impression it cannot be both. The dominant impression guides
the author's selection of detail and is thereby made clear
to the reader in the thesis sentence.
descriptive essay can be objective or subjective, giving the
author a wide choice of tone, diction and attitude. For
instance, an objective description of one's dog would
mention such facts as height, weight, coloring and so forth.
A subjective description would include the above details,
but would also stress the author's feeling toward the dog,
as well as its personality and habits.
- the purpose
of a purely descriptive essay is to involve the reader
enough to help him to actually visualize the things being
described. A description essay deals with the
distinctiveness of the object or scene.
descriptive essay relies on concrete, sensory detail to
communicate its point. Remember, we have five senses, not
one or two.
- The author
of a descriptive essay must carefully select his details to
support the dominant impression.
very often relies on emotion to convey its point. Because of
this, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives convey more to the
reader than do nouns.
- Unless the
description is objective, you must be sure that the dominant
impression conveys an attitude.
- Try giving
all the details first; the dominant impression then is built
from these details.
- Check your
details to be sure that they are consistent with the
dominant impression. You might even want to write down the
five senses on a scratch piece of paper and check to see
that you have covered them all.
- Try moving
your reader through space and time chronologically. For
instance, you might want to describe a train ride from start
to destination, or a stream from its source to the point at
which it joins the river.
- Use a
then-and-now approach to show decay, change or improvement.
The house where you grew up might now be a rambling shack.
The variations on this strategy are endless.
- Select an
emotion and try to describe it. It might be more difficult
to get started, but it can be worthwhile.