What Is The Purpose Of A Descriptive Essay?

What Is A Descriptive Essay?

Writers use the descriptive essay to create a vivid picture of a person, place, or thing. The purpose of a descriptive essay is to reveal the meaning of a subject through detailed, sensory observation. The descriptive essay employs the power of language and all the human senses to bring a subject to life for the reader. If readers come away from a descriptive essay with the feeling that they have really met a person, gone to a particular place, or held a certain object, the writer has done a good job. If readers also feel an emotional connection and deep appreciation for the subject’s significance, the writer has done a great job. Below is some information on how to write a good descriptive essay:

How to write a descriptive essay

Prewriting the Descriptive Essay

  • A writer should take time to think about who or what you want to describe and why. Your subject can be a person of significance in your life, or an object or place that holds meaning.
  • Once you choose your topic, spend time thinking about the qualities you want to describe. Brainstorm about all the details associated with the topic.
  • A writer should consider more than just physical characteristics, but also what memories, feelings, and ideas the subject evokes. Memory and emotion play an important role in conveying the subject’s significance. Plan the focus of each paragraph and create an outline that puts these details into a logical sequence.

 Drafting a Descriptive Essay

Drafting a descriptive essay requires a writer to follow an outline keeping in mind that the goal is to give the reader a rich experience of the subject. One of the best ways to show is to involve all of the senses—not just sight, but also hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Write so the reader will see the sunset, hear the song, smell the flowers, taste the pie, or feel the touch of a hand.

Revising a Descriptive Essay

This is the phase where students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. In revising a descriptive essay, students should reread their work with these considerations in mind:

  • Does the essay unfold in a way that helps the reader fully appreciate the subject? Do any paragraphs confuse more than describe?
  • Does the word choice and figurative language involve the five senses and convey emotion and meaning?
  • Are there enough details to give the reader a complete picture?

Editing a Descriptive Essay

At this point in the writing process, writers proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics. It is also the time to improve style and clarity. Watch out for clichés and loading up on adjectives and adverbs. Having a friend read the essay helps writers see trouble spots and edit with a fresh perspective.