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A descriptive essay can be one of the most enjoyable writing tasks you’ll ever complete as a school or college/university student writing for academic purposes or even if writing is your career. Simply, it gives you an opportunity to share an experience with your readers and paint a picture with words, providing a vivid description of a particular subject.

A descriptive essay could be a newspaper article, an account of a single event, a travelogue, or a memoir of a personal experience. And where education is concerned, an essay/homework for a class can take the form of a book report, research paper, graduate/Ph.D. dissertation, creative writing assignment, or a question in a course exam that counts toward your grade for a diploma or your GPA.

But when you’re getting started, it can be challenging and you may feel like you need a tutor. Well, you don’t! The following tips will help you understand the structure of the essay to empower you to write a descriptive essay that uses sensory details so your readers feel like they were there with you.

What Is the Structure of the Essay?

The first step in writing a descriptive essay is to plan the structure. This means deciding what you’re going to include and how you’ll order it. You should start by introducing your topic. Then, move on to specific details about that topic. So, the main parts will be the introduction, the body, and the conclusion (just like a cause and effect essay, for instance). Basically, this is the structure that you’re going to use when writing most types of essays.


1. The Introduction

While writing the introduction of a descriptive essay, it’s essential to grab readers’ attention. It can be done in several ways.

For example, it could be presenting a personal story, a brief anecdote about something related to your topic, an interesting fact, or asking a question. Once you have them hooked, it’ll be easy to move on to describe your topic in more depth. To make sure you’re on the right track, looking at other descriptive essays examples can help put the idea into perspective for you. Moreover, the essays written by professionals may teach you a lot and you can use this knowledge when working on assignments in the future.

The last paragraph of the introduction should also have a sentence that foreshadows what readers can expect to find in the main body of your essay (a thesis statement). This will help them understand how each part is interconnected and lead them to the heart of the essay.

2. The Body

The body is where you can really dig into your topic. In each paragraph, focus on one main idea or aspect of the topic, using details to appeal to five different senses. This means describing what things looked, sounded, felt, smelled, and tasted like.

Specifically, start each paragraph with a topic sentence. That serves to describe what readers can expect to find in the paragraph. Then, share the details that appeal to a specific sense and use sources or research when necessary. Finally, close the paragraph by explaining how these details helped you better understand the topic (your analysis).

And remember, the body should be the longest section of your descriptive essay because it takes time for readers to experience what you want them to experience.

3. The Conclusion

The conclusion of a descriptive essay serves the purpose of bringing your readers back to where you started (the thesis statement) or tying up any loose ends that could lead to a second descriptive essay.

Reinforce your thesis statement and summarize what you’ve said in the body. Then, explain how it changed your perspective (maybe share a lesson learned). The best conclusion leaves readers thinking long after they’ve finished reading your essay.

You’re All Set!

Descriptive writing is one of the best ways to let readers experience something through your eyes. It’s more than just telling them what you did; it’s helping them feel like they were right there with you.

Now that you know the structure of the essay, you’ll be able to paint a detailed picture that captures your readers’ imagination and invites them into your world as a writer.

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