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How to Write a Description Essay

Descriptive essays are written to describe a certain, place, object, person, animal, or product; it is written with the sole purpose of describing the chosen topic well. The descriptions in some cases, maybe clinical if required by the chosen topic.

Descriptive essays are an important aspect of writing. This is because, no matter what is being written, descriptions are a necessary feature to ensure clarity of thought for the reader. Narrative essays, short stories, products out in the market, all are explained using descriptions, some more than the others. The purpose of a descriptive essay is to reveal the meaning of a subject through detailed and sensory observation.

Types of descriptions

The aim of the descriptive essays that are being written is that it utilizes vivid sensory descriptions. There are different ways to approach this, the first being, that the descriptions are should be able to show something to a reader, rather than just telling the reader.


- The cat was lying in the sun, after the night of rain. (telling the reader)

This is a simple statement and does not include many descriptions to tell the reader, why and how the cat was lying.

- The cat was lazing and sleeping in the sun, allowing its warmth to seep into its bones after the cold and rainy night. (showing the reader)

Here, by giving minute details of the actual scene, the writer is able to show the reader with the descriptions, with verb usage such as “lazing”, “sleeping”, “warmth” and finally, “cold, and rainy night”. These give the reader ample idea of the sensory details. Therefore, through this example, it is clear that telling the reader of the circumstances is different from giving them an actual picture of what is happening.

Describing a scene, or product or person/place/animal using sensory description is when the writer is able to successfully able to show the reader the actual scene. Another thing to consider then will be an explanation.

Explanation versus description

In descriptive essays, explanations have a different perspective. Explanation in a descriptive essay is when it is interjecting background material and does not contain any sensory description or necessarily contribute to the overall effect of the subject.


The family’s house was surrounded by large bins of trash that had been left out since the time they moved out. There was a broken window from the burglary the previous week that hadn’t been fixed, giving one way into the house. (Explanation)

The large bins around the house emanated the rotting decaying smell of uncleaned trash since the family left them out. Last week, there was a burglary, that left a large gaping hole in the surrounded by shattered glass, offeringa way into the darkness. (Description)

These are great examples of how descriptions differ from explanations.

How to write a descriptive essay?

Here we have included an outline of what a descriptive essay should look like in the layout sections.

1. The first step is to choose a subject that can be described well.

2. Once the topic has been chosen, a thesis statement must be written. The thesis statement in the descriptive essay is the creation of the writer’s thoughtson the subject, and this is the framework for the body of the essay.

3. Use all the sensory details as discussed above, as opposed to only explanations of the topic.

4. Creating an outline or layout is important. Generally, school students are asked to write about five paragraphs, whereas college students have more liberty in terms of the length of the essay. The five paragraphs written will follow the standard structure of introduction, body, and conclusion.

5. For college students, three paragraphs may do, as long as the topic is well described. The idea of paragraphs is that for each subtopic, there should be a paragraph; there are basically organized ideas in an essay or writing. It also makes it easier to read.

6. The conclusion is a summary of all the points in the essay. The outline or the layout that was first created should be able to give the main points for the conclusion. The conclusions are what the reader often remembers and takes away from the writing and thus, it is important to be able to create a good conclusion.

To write a conclusion of a descriptive essay, one must summarize all points mentionedin the essay. Writing a good descriptive essay will require topic selection and description. The description must contain sensory descriptions, as opposed to explanations as both have different meanings.

A descriptive essay does not need a plot to be written about, it can talk about people, things, places, animals, products, food and much moreDescription Essay, as long as people can visualize what is described with the help of sensory descriptions.


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