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09/04/2019

How do you write a descriptive essay?

QUESTION
How do you write a descriptive essay?
My teacher told us to write a descriptive essay, and said it had to be two pages long typed. Now i have no idea what to write about or how to write it. The only thing i can think of would be to write about one of my vacations somewhere, is that too broad of a topic? Any help or suggestions would be great. Thanks.

ANSWER
You’d do better to write about something concrete, such as one place you visited on a vacation. Then if you can focus on one overall impression or feeling that that place creates, so much the better. Then think of two or three aspects of the place that contribute to that feeling.

Now you’re ready to begin. A two-page typed essay should consist of several paragraphs (absolute minimum four–introduction, two body paragraphs, and conclusion). Those “aspects,” with lots of concrete examples and details to develop each one, will be your body paragraphs. The thesis statement, which should be the last sentence of the introduction, should cover all the aspects but need not mention them specifically.

So write the thesis, and write two or three sentences to go before it–to catch the reader’s attention, provide background information if necessary, and generally lead up to the thesis. Now you have an introductory paragraph of three or four sentences.

Decide in what order you want to arrange the body paragraphs, and write the first one. Mention one aspect of the place in the topic sentence, and use sensory images–visual ones especially, but sounds, smells, touch/feeling sensations, and even tastes can also be appropriate.

The other body paragraphs should be constructed the same way, but each of their topic sentences should begin with transition from the previous paragraph into the present one. Don’t just stick in a transitional word like “furthermore” if you can help it, but use an actual phrase that looks back to the preceding paragraph–something like this: “Even more awesome than the bent spruce trees at the top of Spruce Knob was the sight of the surrounding countryside from up there.” Then you proceed to give the details of that feature of the place.

If you have more than two body paragraphs (some teachers absolutely insist on three, but this one never did), the last one should begin with a transition that lets the reader know that this is the last one and should focus of the most impressive part of the place being described. Then you develop it as before.

The conclusion simply sums up the impression made by the earlier parts of the essay. You could mention again, briefly, the features or aspects you’ve described, and then you can close by restating your main idea in different words–letting the reader know that you’ve done what you set out to do. The conclusion should be about the same length as the introduction.

If any advice I’ve given here contradicts instructions your teacher has given, then of course do it the way he or she told you to.