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How to Write a Descriptive Essay | Example & Tips

Published on July 30, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on November 28, 2022.

A descriptive essay gives a vivid, detailed description of something—generally a place or object, but possibly something more abstract like an emotion. This type of essay , like the narrative essay , is more creative than most academic writing .

Table of contents

Descriptive essay topics, tips for writing descriptively, descriptive essay example, frequently asked questions about descriptive essays.

When you are assigned a descriptive essay, you’ll normally be given a specific prompt or choice of prompts. They will often ask you to describe something from your own experience.

You might also be asked to describe something outside your own experience, in which case you’ll have to use your imagination.

Sometimes you’ll be asked to describe something more abstract, like an emotion.

If you’re not given a specific prompt, try to think of something you feel confident describing in detail. Think of objects and places you know well, that provoke specific feelings or sensations, and that you can describe in an interesting way.

The key to writing an effective descriptive essay is to find ways of bringing your subject to life for the reader. You’re not limited to providing a literal description as you would be in more formal essay types.

Make use of figurative language, sensory details, and strong word choices to create a memorable description.

Use figurative language

Figurative language consists of devices like metaphor and simile that use words in non-literal ways to create a memorable effect. This is essential in a descriptive essay; it’s what gives your writing its creative edge and makes your description unique.

Take the following description of a park.

This tells us something about the place, but it’s a bit too literal and not likely to be memorable.

If we want to make the description more likely to stick in the reader’s mind, we can use some figurative language.

Here we have used a simile to compare the park to a face and the trees to facial hair. This is memorable because it’s not what the reader expects; it makes them look at the park from a different angle.

You don’t have to fill every sentence with figurative language, but using these devices in an original way at various points throughout your essay will keep the reader engaged and convey your unique perspective on your subject.

Use your senses

Another key aspect of descriptive writing is the use of sensory details. This means referring not only to what something looks like, but also to smell, sound, touch, and taste.

Obviously not all senses will apply to every subject, but it’s always a good idea to explore what’s interesting about your subject beyond just what it looks like.

Even when your subject is more abstract, you might find a way to incorporate the senses more metaphorically, as in this descriptive essay about fear.

Choose the right words

Writing descriptively involves choosing your words carefully. The use of effective adjectives is important, but so is your choice of adverbs , verbs , and even nouns.

It’s easy to end up using clichéd phrases—“cold as ice,” “free as a bird”—but try to reflect further and make more precise, original word choices. Clichés provide conventional ways of describing things, but they don’t tell the reader anything about your unique perspective on what you’re describing.

Try looking over your sentences to find places where a different word would convey your impression more precisely or vividly. Using a thesaurus can help you find alternative word choices.

However, exercise care in your choices; don’t just look for the most impressive-looking synonym you can find for every word. Overuse of a thesaurus can result in ridiculous sentences like this one:

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how to write conclusion for descriptive essay

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An example of a short descriptive essay, written in response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” is shown below.

Hover over different parts of the text to see how a descriptive essay works.

On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.

My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.

With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…

Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

If you’re not given a specific prompt for your descriptive essay , think about places and objects you know well, that you can think of interesting ways to describe, or that have strong personal significance for you.

The best kind of object for a descriptive essay is one specific enough that you can describe its particular features in detail—don’t choose something too vague or general.

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Caulfield, J. (2022, November 28). How to Write a Descriptive Essay | Example & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved March 2, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/descriptive-essay/

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Jack Caulfield

Jack Caulfield

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How to Write a Conclusion for an Essay

Kelly Konya

You’ve done it. You’ve refined your introduction and your thesis. You’ve spent time researching and proving all of your supporting arguments. You’re slowly approaching the finish line of your essay and suddenly freeze up because—that’s right—it’s time to write the conclusion.

For many, the conclusion is the most dreaded part of essay writing . Condensing all the points you’ve analyzed in a tidy little package is certainly easier said than done. How can you make a good final impression while emphasizing the significance of your findings? 

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Learning how to write a conclusion for an essay doesn’t need to feel like climbing Everest. It is wholly possible to tie everything together while considering the broader issues and implications of your argument. You just need the right strategy.

What do you want to leave your readers with? Perhaps you want to end with a quotation that adds texture to your discussion. Or, perhaps you want to set your argument into a different, perhaps larger context. 

An effective conclusion paragraph should ultimately suggest to your reader that you’ve accomplished what you set out to prove.

How to write a good conclusion

As you set out to write your conclusion and end your essay on an insightful note, you’ll want to start by restating your thesis. Since the thesis is the central idea of your entire essay, it’s wise to remind the reader of the purpose of your paper. 

Once you’ve restated your thesis (in a way that’s paraphrased, of course, and offers a fresh understanding), the next step is to reiterate your supporting points. Extract all of the “main points” from each of your supporting paragraphs or individual arguments in the essay . Then, find a way to wrap up these points in a way that demonstrates the importance of the ideas. 

Depending on the length of your essay, knowing how to write a good conclusion is somewhat intuitive—you don’t want to simply summarize what you wrote. Rather, the conclusion should convey a sense of closure alongside the larger meaning and lingering possibilities of the topic. 

What your conclusion should include

Now that you know what a good conclusion encompasses, you can get into the finer details. Beyond restating your thesis and summarizing your points, what else should the conclusion include?

Here are some strategies for ending your essay in a savvy and thought-provoking way: 

Ask yourself: “So what?” 

At some point in your life, a teacher has probably told you that the end of an essay should answer the question “So what?” or “Why does it matter?” This advice holds true. It’s helpful to ask yourself this question at the start of drafting your thesis and come back to it throughout, as it can keep you in tune with the essay’s purpose. Then, at your conclusion, you won’t be left searching for something to say.

Add perspective 

If you’ve come across a fantastic quote in your research that didn’t quite make it into the essay, the conclusion is a great spot for it. Including a quote from one of your primary or secondary sources can frame your thesis or final thoughts in a different light. This can add specificity and texture to your overall argument. 

For example, if you’ve written an essay about J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, you can think about using a quote from the book itself or from a critic or scholar who complicates your main point. If your thesis is about Salinger’s desire to preserve childhood innocence, ending with a biographer’s statement about Salinger’s attitude toward his own youth might be illuminating for readers. If you decide to amplify your conclusion paragraph in this way, make sure the secondary material adds (and not detracts) from the points you already made. After all, you want to have the last word!

Consider the clincher

At the very end of the essay comes your closing sentence or clincher. As you think about how to write a good conclusion, the clincher must be top of mind. What can you say to propel the reader to a new view on the subject? This final sentence needs to help readers feel a sense of closure. It should also end on a positive note, so your audience feels glad they read your paper and that they learned something worthwhile. 

What your conclusion should not include

There are a few things that you should definitely strive to avoid when writing your conclusion paragraph. These elements will only cheapen your overall argument and belabor the obvious.

Here are several conclusion mishaps to consider:

Whereas your introduction acts as a bridge that transfers your readers from their own lives into the “space” of your argument or analysis, your conclusion should help readers transition back to their daily lives. 

By following this useful roadmap, you can feel confident that you know how to write a good conclusion that leaves readers with a solution, a call to action, or a powerful insight for further study.

how to write conclusion for descriptive essay

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Descriptive essay conclusion

how to write conclusion for descriptive essay

Writing a conclusion for a descriptive essay is a little different than one might expect. The conclusion is not the time to provide a full description of the setting, or to use fancy language to describe how things look, feel or smell. Instead, focus on summarizing what you want your reader to take away from this essay.

You will need to ensure that your entire descriptive essay has a clear argument and is focused on one or two main ideas. Never try to cram too many different ideas into one paper; it will only make things more complicated and cause you to lose track of which point you are trying to make in each paragraph.

Use your own words and leave out jargon as that will only confuse your reader.

Descriptive essay topics

Descriptive essay outline, how to start a descriptive essay, descriptive essay examples.

Use different words than those you have used in earlier parts of the essay for each new description, but don’t change too much otherwise it may seem like you are rambling and lose the point of the descriptive essay entirely

Close with a sentences that reinforces your main ideas and summarises the descriptive essay that you have written, but do not overuse quotes or statistics to make the conclusion sound more persuasive.

Descriptive essay conclusion structure

The conclusion to a descriptive essay should not be longer than two or three paragraphs and should stay focused on this particular topic.

Use quotes from someone who clearly stated a similar relationship or compared those points mentioned above. This makes the essay more catchy and entertaining for your audience.

When you have too many points to summarize or resolve, then your reader might feel overwhelmed rather than informed by what you have written in this paper. A clear and concise conclusion is always better than one that rambles on with topics that were only mentioned briefly before; if those details were important enough to include in the initial draft then you should spend more time on them now.

A good conclusion will not only summarize the details of what has been written, but also provide a statement about what your reader should take away from this paper by using words like “however,” “nevertheless,” “in other words,” or some form of these statements in order to express that point clearly and concisely while still keeping it creative.

If there is any doubt as to whether your descriptive essay has effectively resolved all points that have been made in earlier paragraphs, then go back over those sections and make sure they are clear enough for someone else to read without being confused about what was said or left unsaid. Re-reading your work after you finish writing it will help ensure that you do not have any errors in grammar or spelling that you had previously overlooked when you were still typing.

Everything that has been written so far in an essay must relate back to its concluding sentence; otherwise, the reader will feel like nothing was really resolved and nothing new was learned. If you make the mistake of providing information that does not answer every question raised in previous paragraphs then your reader will feel as though this descriptive essay is incomplete or unfinished, which means they may just throw it away rather than feel inclined to read more about the same subject matter.

An example of a paragraph on how to end a descriptive essay:

In conclusion, how to end a descriptive essay is a skill I now have imbued within my being that enables me to successfully complete an arduous task such as writing the best essays for college admission committees around; therefore, because I have made myself want to be able to argue like Clarence Darrow by using extreme rhetorical devices and techniques in order to get all of them job offers from prestigious law firms with offices on Wall Street, I will now be able to increase my chances of landing the career that I am destined for by using words as weapons against those who think they can win a debate against me.

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Ending sentences in descriptive essay writing

Ending your descriptive paper is very vital for a final impression. Now, you need to decide on the ending sentences that will add some spice and interest to your readers.

literary analysis essay examples

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  1. How to Conclude an Essay

    Table of contents Step 1: Return to your thesis To begin your conclusion, signal that the essay is coming to an end by returning to your... Step 2: Review your main points Next, remind the reader of the main points that you used to support your argument. Avoid... Step 3: Show why it matters

  2. How to Write a Descriptive Essay

    Tips for writing descriptively. Use figurative language. Figurative language consists of devices like metaphor and simile that use words in non-literal ways to create a memorable ... Use your senses. Choose the right words.

  3. How to Write a Conclusion for an Essay

    An effective conclusion paragraph should ultimately suggest to your reader that you’ve accomplished what you set out to prove. How to write a good conclusion. As you set out to write your conclusion and end your essay on an insightful note, you’ll want to start by restating your thesis.

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    Descriptive essay conclusion structure Use the first conclusion paragraph for summarizing your main ideas, but try not to quote too much from the actual text... Use the second paragraph to detail how you concluded what you wrote about earlier in this essay. Be specific; don’t just state that it was ...