A Descriptive essay, also known as a sensory detail essay, aims to paint a picture with words that appeal to your reader’s senses. It is an important part of any essay and can be used in most writing situations. However, descriptive essays are often written incorrectly because the writer doesn’t understand the elements needed to write a great descriptive essay. This article aims to give you the tools you need to write descriptive essays like a professional.
A descriptive essay is a form of writing that allows the writer to describe a person, place, thing, or event. While this form of writing may seem straightforward, there are several things to consider in writing a descriptive essay that is both effective and interesting, including the use of detail and sensory description.
Bullet Point:3.This is a two-part sentence that marks a smaller point in time or a series of related events. For instance, the bullet point may identify the date and time a person met their partner, the date that a person last ate a specific type of food, or the date when someone learned a new skill.
Stem:4.This two-sentence sentence is used to connect pieces of information. For instance, if the writer wants readers to compare their days leading up to the problem they are writing about, they could include a stem that connects the events of planning a meal to the planning of their meal.
Headline:5.A heading is a sentence that introduces a person, setting, or event. The type of event could be that the person was born, that there is snow in Philadelphia (a headline about a true event), or that Barack Obama was nominated by party leadership to be the President of the United States.
Headline Example: Barack Obama was nominated by party leadership to be the President of the United States.
Line Break:6.Line breaks are short breaks inserted between words in a sentence to help the reader scroll through the text easier. They shouldn’t be used to disrupt the flow of a sentence, so make sure you are including them intentionally.
Headword:7.A headword is a word or phrase that provides additional information about a topic. This could be the name of a person, a state that encompasses a large area, or a unique characteristic or quality.
Word Order:8.Word order is the order in which the words in a sentence are arranged. For instance, the word order in a sentence of knowledge may be knowledge, event, relationship, preposition, and noun.
One of the best ways to capture your reader’s attention is to use sensory details. In the English language, we have five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. When writing a story, you want to try to incorporate as many of these senses as possible into the piece. So you should be thinking about including details about color, taste, smell, sound, and touch.
So let’s look at different ways you can incorporate sensory details into your writing.
This ad for the Virgin Mobile phone captures the feeling of holding a tank in the palm of your hand. The ad shows how the phone feels light and glows when connected to the charger. The phone looks like the typical tank-like phone, which is how the Virgin Mobile team felt when buying the phone. However, depending on your taste, you may not find this ad appealing.
As most of us know by now, the goal of any ad is to draw attention to the product. Whether it is a product quiz, a full-length movie, or a website, ads have to convince the reader to take action.
This ad for Android smartphones shows how the user interface works. Notice how the Android elements signify the features users have access to. The handheld phone resembles a game console or computer. So the different parts of the phone encourage users to change the user interface.
Descriptive or descriptive writing has the objective of drawing attention to the features the reader is interested in. For example, a traditional essay on the philosophy of mind might include a section on the different types of free will. A descriptive essay on the different features of the iPhone would not include such a section because smartphones don’t have free will.
The ad for the Virgin Mobile phone shows three different ways the user can play, charge, and connect their phone. Each action shows the user’s ability to play, charge, and connect their phone. Notice how many features a device should have if it is to be considered a modern phone.
Descriptive writing is the process of describing the appearance of a person, place, thing, or idea in as much detail as possible. One of the most common and effective ways to do this is through the use of sensory details.
Sensory detail is any information on the senses that is specifically related to the experience you’re describing. Some sensory details include:
Sensory details also refer to the information presented even though you might not consciously realize you can see, hear, touch, smell, etc. It’s important to know when sensory details are important to your story, whether they’re experienced firsthand or based on research.
Non-sensory details are other details that are sometimes included for completeness or to make a point without too much additional detail. For example:
These different types of details can be compared to the different types of sentences included in an essay.
A sentence is a simple sentence that only has one main idea. Contrasting ideas within a sentence can make the main idea more concise and punchy.
A paragraph is a longer essay that is longer than the length of a single-sentence essay. Paragraphs are made up of sentences arranged in a certain order.
A table of contents is a checklist that guides the reader through an essay. This has two purposes:
These two rules are often used to determine whether the content is suited for a table of contents. You should aim to include at least one table of contents per 1000 words of content. This is one of the hardest pieces of writing to do wrong. It might seem intuitive that the longer the content is, the more headings need to be included, but it’s important to remember that it’s often easy to make a mistake and put too many headings in one piece of writing. When this happens, it often encourages the reader to skim instead of reading. It’s a quick way to get lost in the writing and forget about the point you’re making.
Descriptive essays are a great way to engage the reader and make them feel like they’re right there with you. Here are some common mistakes students make when writing descriptive essays:
What you write about needs to fit your reader into what they believe their world is like. Make sure your descriptive essay helps your reader understand your scene by describing the setting. Important elements of a descriptive essay include:
Descriptive essays need to be concise and using your readers’ knowledge of dense language can quickly turn readers off. Here are some words and phrases your reader should avoid when writing descriptive essays:
If you describe places already described in books, you muddy the waters. Specifically, readers need to focus on how your scene or story makes these places relevant to what they already know. The best place to bring in the information already mentioned is your thesis statement. This can be found at the start of your work, where you clearly state why you wrote the essay. For example, in an essay on LinkedIn, you typically write something like: “My purpose in writing [my piece on LinkedIn] is so professors will have something new to teach their students.”
If you’re writing a summary, it’s best to use a more simple language. Skip the huge ideas and buzzwords and go with a simpler language that closes your reader in on a single idea or idea. If you’re writing an academic essay, you’re probably going to use excessive words here, too. This creates difficulty with your reader realizing what your piece is really about. Consider these adjectives when compiling your summary:
But here are some more words and phrases you should avoid:
Descriptive essays are very powerful tools in your writing arsenal. They are especially useful when you’re trying to communicate your experience to your readers. For example, if you’re writing a story about a trip you took, a descriptive essay will help your readers see the place in your mind’s eye. It will also help you to explore the different experiences that were described.
Writers often write descriptive essays for the same reason that athletes describe plays in their beloved sport. You could say descriptive essays are like “juxtaposing narrative elements to highlight contrast or contrast to highlight contrast.”
Each descriptive essay has certain requirements to meet to be effective.
Expressing your emotions does a lot of work to get someone else’s emotions to speak to you coherently. This helps you put yourself in the place of your reader and conjure up your emotions. This technique is powerful because it allows you to connect with your reader emotionally.
A great way to convey emotion is through body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and the rest of your writing. If you’re trying to communicate your experience to someone else, you can do this by expressing yourself through the words you write.
Descriptive essays should rarely start with a preface or introduction. You typically start a descriptive essay with statements that make your readers stop and ask themselves a question.
Your reader is interested in your story about what you experienced. They need to know more about the events you describe, so they can better understand what they are experiencing themselves. You express this information through your reader’s questions.
Preface statements often sound better to the reader than your opening statement. They also set the stage for your first statement, which provides more details about the event. However, they can create ambiguity in your story because of their lack of specificity.
If your first statement invites the reader to speculate about the event with the rest of your story, you have left something out.
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