The structure of descriptive essay

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A descriptive essay is one of the easiest types of essay to write, and is difficult to get wrong. The articles you find on the Internet that go into great detail are only based on the numerous options you have open to you when you write. The truth is that an academic descriptive essay need only have an introduction, body and conclusion. The hypotheses or thesis statement need only be the thing being described, and the truth is you do not need a conclusion, it is just best to add one in for the sake of your professor’s marking guide.

The “subject” or “thing” is the name given in this article for the topic of your descriptive essay. Your topic, your thing, or your subject, may be plant, animal, physical, non-physical, idea, notion, scheme, system, etc.

Ideally, your descriptive essay should include the biggest details as a priority. The rest of the essay may include smaller details, but that should only be if the word count allows it. You should also remember that “descriptive” is subjective, which means you could go on forever when you write your descriptive essay, which is why the bigger and more important facts need to be added first and then the smaller details should be added as per the amount of word count you have left.

With the last point in mind, it may be easy to ignore the fact that some people write a lot of fluff when they write. It is okay to say that people should write to the word count, but it is possible to write a lot and say very little. For example, the book “Simpleogy” by Mark Joyner covers a full book and says something that could be summed up in a sentence; which is “start a cult to sell stuff” (there, I just saved you $20 and two hours reading).

The solution to the over-writer is to over-write the essay on the first draft on purpose. Add in more text and more points than the word count allows. Then, after the first draft you should cut down the wordage and make it all a lot more concise. Keep cutting, trimming and narrowing until your essay is back within the desired word count.


Here you show what you intend to describe and you may give your reasons if you wish. Ideally, you should start with a strong opening to be sure you grab the reader’s attention. A thesis statement may be added, but it should be about the thing you intend to describe.


Start by describing the “thing” in gentle terms. Imagine that you are writing for a layperson, which means starting off slow and with things that are obvious to you. You may then gently lay out what you intend to show in very simple terms. The introduction should have done this too, but here you should assume the reader is still a layperson that needs a gentle introduction to the rest of the essay.

As you move into your essay further then you may like to set the scene. This is where you describe the things that surround your subject “thing.” This may be taken literately if it is an object or person, such as describing the location of the house or the setting the person is in. Or, if your subject “thing” is an idea or notion, then you may like to give a little history on how it came about and the other ideas and/or notions that surround it.

You may now move into the emotional and/or logical/physical side of describing your subject. If your subject is an idea or a scheme, then you can examine its merits or the pros and cons of it. Do not simply describe your subject from one angle. If you were writing about a person, then concentrating on how that person looks and nothing more would get you a bad grade.


You may not need one, but if you are going to add one, which is recommended if you are writing as part of your education, then highlight the bigger points you made and comment on how important they are. You should even relate back to your thesis statement/hypothesis, even if you are just patting yourself on the back for doing as you said you would.

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