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- How to write a descriptive essay | Example & tips
How to Write a Descriptive Essay | Example & Tips
Published on July 30, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 14, 2023.
A descriptive essay gives a vivid, detailed description of something—generally a place or object, but possibly something more abstract like an emotion. This type of essay , like the narrative essay , is more creative than most academic writing .
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Descriptive essay topics, tips for writing descriptively, descriptive essay example, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about descriptive essays.
When you are assigned a descriptive essay, you’ll normally be given a specific prompt or choice of prompts. They will often ask you to describe something from your own experience.
- Describe a place you love to spend time in.
- Describe an object that has sentimental value for you.
You might also be asked to describe something outside your own experience, in which case you’ll have to use your imagination.
- Describe the experience of a soldier in the trenches of World War I.
- Describe what it might be like to live on another planet.
Sometimes you’ll be asked to describe something more abstract, like an emotion.
If you’re not given a specific prompt, try to think of something you feel confident describing in detail. Think of objects and places you know well, that provoke specific feelings or sensations, and that you can describe in an interesting way.
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The key to writing an effective descriptive essay is to find ways of bringing your subject to life for the reader. You’re not limited to providing a literal description as you would be in more formal essay types.
Make use of figurative language, sensory details, and strong word choices to create a memorable description.
Use figurative language
Figurative language consists of devices like metaphor and simile that use words in non-literal ways to create a memorable effect. This is essential in a descriptive essay; it’s what gives your writing its creative edge and makes your description unique.
Take the following description of a park.
This tells us something about the place, but it’s a bit too literal and not likely to be memorable.
If we want to make the description more likely to stick in the reader’s mind, we can use some figurative language.
Here we have used a simile to compare the park to a face and the trees to facial hair. This is memorable because it’s not what the reader expects; it makes them look at the park from a different angle.
You don’t have to fill every sentence with figurative language, but using these devices in an original way at various points throughout your essay will keep the reader engaged and convey your unique perspective on your subject.
Use your senses
Another key aspect of descriptive writing is the use of sensory details. This means referring not only to what something looks like, but also to smell, sound, touch, and taste.
Obviously not all senses will apply to every subject, but it’s always a good idea to explore what’s interesting about your subject beyond just what it looks like.
Even when your subject is more abstract, you might find a way to incorporate the senses more metaphorically, as in this descriptive essay about fear.
Choose the right words
Writing descriptively involves choosing your words carefully. The use of effective adjectives is important, but so is your choice of adverbs , verbs , and even nouns.
It’s easy to end up using clichéd phrases—“cold as ice,” “free as a bird”—but try to reflect further and make more precise, original word choices. Clichés provide conventional ways of describing things, but they don’t tell the reader anything about your unique perspective on what you’re describing.
Try looking over your sentences to find places where a different word would convey your impression more precisely or vividly. Using a thesaurus can help you find alternative word choices.
- My cat runs across the garden quickly and jumps onto the fence to watch it from above.
- My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above.
However, exercise care in your choices; don’t just look for the most impressive-looking synonym you can find for every word. Overuse of a thesaurus can result in ridiculous sentences like this one:
- My feline perambulates the allotment proficiently and capers atop the palisade to regard it from aloft.
An example of a short descriptive essay, written in response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” is shown below.
Hover over different parts of the text to see how a descriptive essay works.
On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.
My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.
With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…
Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.
Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.
If you’re not given a specific prompt for your descriptive essay , think about places and objects you know well, that you can think of interesting ways to describe, or that have strong personal significance for you.
The best kind of object for a descriptive essay is one specific enough that you can describe its particular features in detail—don’t choose something too vague or general.
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Caulfield, J. (2023, August 14). How to Write a Descriptive Essay | Example & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved August 30, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/descriptive-essay/
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Descriptive Essay About Myself
Crafting the Perfect Descriptive Essay About Myself - Tips and Tricks
Published on: Jan 24, 2023
Last updated on: Feb 28, 2023
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Writing an essay about yourself can be tough - especially if you're not sure where to begin.
Not to worry! Writing an essay about yourself doesn't have to be difficult. With a little bit of pre-planning and organization, you can easily craft the perfect descriptive essay.
In this guide, you will find some simple tips and tricks to help you write the perfect descriptive essay about yourself. So continue reading to learn more!
What is a Descriptive Essay?
Before you jump into writing your essay, it's important to understand the basics of a descriptive essay.
A descriptive essay is a type of essay that requires you to describe something in detail. The goal is to provide readers with a full description and make them feel as though they're experiencing it themselves.
That’s why, it's important to include details so readers can connect with the you on a deeper level.
Tips to Write a "Descriptive Essay About Myself"
Now you must be asking yourself, "how do I write a descriptive essay about myself?"
Once you understand what a descriptive essay is, you'll want to start brainstorming ideas for your essay.
Here are some tips to help you craft the perfect descriptive essay about yourself
- Brainstorm & Define Your Subject Matter
Begin by thinking of something about yourself. For instance, your interests, personality traits, or important life events. Once you have your subject matter in mind, define it more specifically so that it’s easier to discuss in detail.
- Make a List of Key Qualities
Once you have your subject matter defined, make a list of key qualities that you’d like to focus on. This will help guide the structure and content of your essay.
- Gather Examples
Collect real-life examples that support your key qualities. These can be stories, anecdotes, or events. This will help make your essay more engaging and informative for readers.
- Use Creative Writing Techniques
When writing a personal essay about yourself, don’t be afraid to get creative! Try using vivid language and descriptive words to bring your essay to life.
- Use Anecdotes & Stories
Incorporate stories and anecdotes into your essay to make it more engaging. This will also help readers connect with you on a deeper level.
- Give Detailed Descriptions
Make sure to include lots of details in your description and be as specific as possible. This will help readers understand and visualize your subject matter.
- Keep it Positive
Make sure to focus on the positive aspects when writing about yourself. This will help readers walk away with a good impression of you.
Finishing Your Essay
- Check & Revise
Once you’re done writing, be sure to take the time to read and revise your essay . Read through your essay one last time and look for typos, spelling errors, or grammatical mistakes. This will help make sure that all of your ideas are well-organized and error-free
- Get Feedback
Once you’re done revising, ask someone to read your essay and give feedback. This can be a friend, an English teacher, or a professional essay writer . They may have some helpful suggestions that can help you strengthen your argument and make it more compelling.
Descriptive Essay About Myself Examples
Before you get started, it can be helpful to look at some sample essays. Here are few good essays you should check out!
Here are some examples for inspiration:
Sample of Descriptive Essay About Myself
Example of a Descriptive Essay About Myself
Descriptive Essay About Yourself Example
500 Words Essay About Myself
Short Essay About Myself
Read more descriptive essay examples to know how descriptive essays are written.
"Descriptive Essay About Myself" Topics
It can be hard to know where to start when writing an essay about yourself.
Here are some topic ideas to get you started:
- Describe your life experiences during high school
- Describe your favorite sport or hobby you do in free time
- Tell a story from your childhood
- Describe the most important lesson you've ever learned
- Describe your goals in life
- Talk about the most meaningful moment in your life
- Describe a challenge you've faced and how you overcame it
- Describe an experience that changed your life
- Discuss ways in which you've grown as a person
These topics will give you a great starting point for your essay. You are free to explore whatever topics feel most relevant and meaningful to you.
You can also take a look at other descriptive essay topics here.
With these examples and tips in mind, you would have no problem writing a compelling and descriptive essay about yourself.
However, don't worry if you need expert help to write your essay! We've got you covered!
We at MyPerfectWords.com offer a descriptive essay writing service to help you craft the perfect essay. Our descriptive essay writers are capable of creating any type of academic assignment.
We understand how important your work is, so we use only reliable sources and guarantee originality. Get in touch with our essay writing service today.
Caleb S. (Marketing, Literature)
Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.
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Search the site, search suggestions, the personal essay.
Unlike the rest of your application, which primarily consists of filling in boxes, the personal essay gives you the freedom to essentially write about whatever you want. No rules! Show who you are! Which sounds pretty cool, until you’re sitting there looking at a blank Word document.
While the personal essay is a great opportunity to infuse your voice into the application, I think some people (cough, me, cough) can get overwhelmed by it to the point where they don’t know how to begin. What do I write about? What makes me stand out? How can I explain all of this in only a few hundred words?
Well, as someone who eventually managed to get some words down on that blank document and turn out a decent college essay, here are a few words of advice.
1. Start by writing something.
I know, that sounds really obvious. But sometimes the hardest part of writing is just getting started – if you spend too much time criticizing your ideas before you write anything down, you won’t get anywhere. Write a few sentences, jot down some random ideas, note a couple anecdotes that might be interesting… just get something on paper that you can look back to. Maybe one of those ideas will catch, and BOOM you have an essay – or maybe you’ll look back to this list after a few weeks and think of something else that you would rather write about. That’s fine! The beginning of the creative process involves coming up with ideas, judging them comes later. Trust me, I took a class on this (really: it was a psych class called “Creativity: Madmen, Geniuses, and Harvard Students.”)
2. Think about something that has some significance to you.
Many students feel like they have to write about some huge, life-changing, important event in their lives. If you have something like this that you want to write about, that’s great! However, you can also write an awesome essay about something other than The Most Important Thing Ever. It can be the littlest things, if you explain their significance well, that actually stand out. In my case, somewhere in my essay I mentioned that I got up at 5:37am (rather than 5:30 or 5:45) because I liked prime numbers – and the first thing my admissions officer said when I walked into the room for my interview was, “So, prime numbers, huh?” That being said, remember that this is a college essay, so keep this audience and goal in mind as you write. When they finish reading, what do you want the admissions officers to know about you? Does this essay demonstrate something about who you are and what you care about? If not, you might want to go back to the drawing board.
3. Don’t be afraid to start over.
After finishing my first draft, I was glad to have something, but I wasn’t completely happy with it either. A week or two later, as I was reading over my essay again, I had an idea for a totally different topic - so I opened another document and completely started over. The second attempt was so much better, and I felt happy with how it turned out. It can be hard to scrap an initial attempt after spending so much time on it, but think of that time as just part of the process of getting to what you really want to write about.
4. Get an outside perspective.
One of the most useful things I did while working on my college essay was asking a couple people to read it over. At the time, I had two drafts that I was choosing between, and I wasn’t sure which one captured “me” better. When I asked my parents and teacher what they thought, they unanimously picked one option over the other. In the end, it’s important to have an essay that you are happy with – but sometimes having a fresh set of eyes can help you see what that is.
This is an important step! Both you, and perhaps someone who knows you well, should read over your essay and make sure it is in tip-top shape before you turn it in. There should be no grammatical or spelling mistakes – that gives the impression that you did not take your time on it. I know you’ve spent a long time on it by this point, but those last edits are super important!
The personal essay is a snippet of who you are and where you’re coming from – a snapshot for the admissions officers to look at as they read your application. It will never be able to capture everything about you, but you want to make sure that you’re giving them your best angle. So sit down, smile, and get to writing!
Halie Olson Class of '17
Hi everyone! My name is Halie, and I’m a senior from Framingham, MA (which isn’t too far from here) now living in Currier House.
Reflections as a senior: my favorite moments.
Mayowa Jolayemi Class of '23
Finding my "Third Place"
Gloria Maldonado Class of '24