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How to write a descriptive essay

Let nouns and verbs do the work of description for you. With nouns, your readers will see; with verbs, they will feel. In the following paragraph, taken from George Orwell's famous anti-imperialist essay, "Shooting an Elephant," see how the act of shooting the elephant delivers immense emotional impact. What adjectives would you expect to find in a paragraph about an elephant? big? grey? loud? enormous? Do you find them here? Watch the verbs, instead. Notice, too, another truth about description: when time is fleeting, slow down the prose. See how long the few seconds of the shooting can take in this paragraph. You can read the entire text of George Orwell's story by clicking , and you can read additional essays by this famous author of and at

Even if you already know how to write a well-structured essay, you may wish to refresh your knowledge and reaffirm what you already know.

5 Examples of How to Write a Good Descriptive Paragraph

Read Jeffrey Tayler's "The Sacred Grove of Oshogbo" (first published in , used with permission) and try to determine exactly at what passage in the text do you become aware of the point of Tayler's essay. Take note of the rich detailing of the forest, the caretaker, and the minister from the city and try to describe how the details lend themselves toward the purpose of the article. Another Atlantic essay, Jeff Biggers' — filled with wonderful details of a remote town in Mexico — is also available here.

However, the best way to write an essay that will pass the test, is to practice, practice, practice.

To write a descriptive essay, you’ll need to describe a person, object, or event so vividly that the reader feels like he/she could reach out and touch it.

Descriptive essays can be the easiest essays to write, once you come up with a good topic