Descriptive essay.

A descriptive essay is a written assignment intended to describe the matter to the readers so that they get the essence of it. By the matter we mean a person, a place or a building, an object or an event.

Describing People

A description essay about a person should be structured in the following way:

a) the introduction where you state general facts about the person, saying when, where and how you first met him/her;

b) the main body in which you describe their physical appearance, personal qualities and hobbies/interests. You start a new paragraph for each topic;

c) the conclusion in which you express your personal attitude towards the person;

When describing someone you know well or see often (i.e. a friend, a neighbour etc), you should use present tenses. When describing someone who is no longer alive, or someone you met or got acquainted a long time ago and you do not see anymore, narrate in the past tenses.

Descriptions of people can be found in articles, letters, narratives etc. Your writing style depends on the situation and the intended reader.

When you describe someone’s physical appearance, you start with the general features (i.e. height, age) and move on to the more specific ones, such as hair, nose, eyes etc. You can also add a description of the clothes the person likes to wear.

When describing someone’s personal qualities, you should support your description with examples and /or justifications. You can also describe someone’s personality through their manners by:

a) referring to the way they speak;

b) describing the gestures they use;

c) mentioning a particular habit they have

Describing Places/Buildings

A descriptive essay about a facility or a place should have the following parts:

a) the introduction, where you give the name and location of the place or building and/or the reason for choosing it;

b) the main body suggests describing the main aspects of the place or building in detail – for example, when you describe a place you should describe what you can see and do there; when you describe a building you should describe its exterior and interior, as well as give historical facts about it;

c) the conclusion includes your comments/feelings and /or a recommendation

Descriptions of place or buildings can be found in tourist magazines, travel brochures, stories, letters, etc. The style you use depends on the situation and the intended reader. For example, in an article or a magazine you should use a semi-formal style and a polite, respectful tone. You normally use present tenses to describe a place/building. You use past tenses to write about historical facts.

Describing Objects

Description of objects can be found in catalogues, advertisements or parts of letters, stories, reports or articles.

When you describe an object, you should give an accurate picture of it. Your description should include information about size, weight, shape, pattern or decoration, color, origin and material as well as many concerning special features.

To describe objects you should use a variety of adjectives. Always list opinion adjectives first, followed by fact adjectives. These are formally listed in the following order: size, weight, age, shape pattern, color, origin or material. Avoid using all of them one after another, as it makes your description unnatural.

Describing Events

A description of an event should consist of:

a) the introduction in which you give name, time, place, and reasons for celebrating;

b) the main body in which you describe the preparations and the actual event in separate paragraphs, using present tenses to describe annual festivals, or past tenses to illustrate those you attended some time ago.

c) the conclusion which includes people’s feelings comments or final thoughts about the event.

You can use a variety of adjectives and adverbs to make your description more vivid.

You can use the passive to describe events when the activity is more important than the agent.

Descriptions of festivals, events or celebrations can be found in magazines, newspapers or travel brochures, or as parts of letters, stories, etc. Your style depends on the situation and the intended reader.

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