Descriptive Essay Samples

Given that descriptive essays are one of the prevalent forms of writing, it is essential to understand their structure and style. Explore our descriptive essay samples to become familiar with this engaging genre of essay.

Descriptive Essay Examples and Samples

Essays are an integral part of students’ college lives. Descriptive essays can change learners’ minds about writing, even if they usually dislike assignments. If you want to learn how to write a descriptive essay, this article has tips and examples. 

Defining descriptive essay examples

The best way to define a descriptive essay is by painting a picture with real-life examples. Say, you went to the movies to see your favorite actor on the big screen. The film surpassed your expectations and you could not wait to share your opinions with your friends. And when you did, you remembered to mention all the slightest details because they moved you, made you laugh, cry, think, or dream. The descriptive essay is the same as talking to your friends but on paper. 

If you need to describe something or somebody, emotions or events, people or objects then this type of composition meets your goal. Please, note that the format of the description is rather broad and consists of many different details. Make sure to use vivid and evocative language. Descriptive essays are not like academic writing. So, feel free to be creative and inventive with language. 

What is the purpose of a descriptive essay?

A descriptive essay is a type of writing that has zero limitations. Students who feel uneasy about following strict rules and formal terminology can share all their creative potential. Figurative language, rich vocabulary, unique comparisons, colorful emotions, and even more can be present in your writing. Your composition should move and touch readers. 

There are many writers whose powerful words and bold ideas were eloquently put on paper so that nowadays their writing approach is still considered brilliant. If you are new to descriptive essays, consider getting familiar with the works of Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Marcel Proust, and Charles Dickens. For instance, let’s take a look at some of the most famous lines written by the English writer, Mr.Dickens: 

“He had not a pliant face, he had rather a stiff neck, rather a tight smooth head with short hair clinging to it at the sides, a soft way of speaking, with a peculiar habit of whispering the letter S so distinctly, that he seemed to use it oftener than any other man.”

“An ugly old man, with the lower part of his face all covered with a stubbly grey beard, rushed out of a dirty den behind it, and seized me by the hair of my head. He was a dreadful old man to look at, in a filthy flannel waistcoat, and smelling terribly.”

These are the first introductions of characters in Dickens’ novels. Not only does he interest the reader by making his characters real, but also he artistically describes quirks, physical appearance, and mannerisms. All this makes reading an unforgettable experience and writing a true craft. 

But when at school or college, consider writing a descriptive essay as a chance to boost your writing skills and learn to talk about traditional things from different perspectives.

Tips for writing a descriptive essay 

Becoming good at something is about honing your skills. Dickens, Woolf, Hemingway, and many others spend hours polishing their writing. Part of this approach is to learn from personal mistakes. Luckily, there are many handy tips that can save you some time. 

Tip 1. There are no limits

It’s been said and done that descriptive essays are about raw and real emotions. And you should confidentially follow this statement. A descriptive essay is more effective when a writer uses various language approaches. For example, you can be inventive with figurative language and season your composition with metaphors and similes. Take a look at the following examples:


There were many golden leaves in the park. It was fall.
The park was a canvas of autumn’s gold, painted by nature’s hand.

The first sentence is the basic examples of description. It is mundane and boring. If you want to make readers experience emotions, go above and beyond with creative language. 

Tip 2. Senses

Sensory details matter. When describing something you should not fixate on appearance only. Remember to refer to smell, sound, touch, and taste. While this tip is tricky and must be used appropriately, you still need to try and incorporate it into your description. The effect is unforgettable. Take a look at these examples:


It was late January, and the temperature was so low that my teeth clattered.
The room’s silence felt like the heart of a glacier, deep and unyielding.


She was a good cook but this time her pastry was bitter.
She was a culinary maestro, but this time, her pastry tasted like a bitter note in an otherwise harmonious symphony.

To make sure that this tip works, use this cheat sheet when you are looking for appropriate descriptive language:

  • Touch: smooth, soft, fragile, arid, dry, dull, sandy, elastic, overdone, fluffy, fleshy, delicate, thick, gritty, sticky, chilly, warm, bumpy.
  • Sound: screaming, blasting, noisy, murmur, ring, tinkle, deafening, mute, silence, screech, booming, whisper, rumble, buzz, chirp, drone, harmonious, muffled, resonant, rustling. 
  • Sight: bony, massive, flat, high, separate, dark, dazzling, bright, shimmering, radiant, shining, foggy, misty, huge, gigantic, vast oversize, gloomy, twinkling, sparse, dense, blurry, vivid, opaque, transparent.
  • Taste:  sour, bitter, pungent, bland, watery, tasteless, creamy, crunchy, fatty, sweet, sugary, zesty, salty, bad, smoky, spicy, rich, tangy, astringent, mellow. 
  • Smell: acrid, perfumed, briny, burnt, earthy, suspicious, flowery, aromatic, fresh, gaseous, minty, moldy, scented, musty, stinking, rotten, pungent, piney, scented, stagnant, flawed, citrusy, woody, sour, musky.
  • Emotions: satisfied, content, blissful, glad, delighted, satisfied, content, joyful, thrilled, thrilled, delighted, mad, furious, infuriated, irate, incensed, sore, miserable, low, despondent, depressing, bleak, distressing, miserable, crushed, confused, uncomfortable, baffled, bewildered, upset, puzzled, disoriented. 

Tip 3. The right words

When writing a descriptive text you need to be careful not to come across as grotesque and too much. Daring metaphors are welcome only when there is time and place. 

There are other language builders that comprise the bigger part of your descriptive essay. Everything is as easy as ABC. Pay enough attention to nouns, verbs, and adverbs in your composition. At this point, the text mirrors your thoughts and ideas. That’s why you would want to think twice about over-relying on cliches and stereotypes.


I know I should have sent this birthday card on time, but better late than never!
Dragging the long-forgotten manuscript out of his drawer, he mused, ‘Better late than never,’ before diving into his novel’s final chapter.

There is nothing against idioms, cliches, and stereotypes. After all, they are a big part of our life. Try to spice things up and find a new interpretation. 

However, there is a fine line between fresh perspective on words and inappropriate use. For example, many think that using as many thesauruses will help them create one-of-a-kind text. You do not want to be like Joey Tribbiani who tried to write a touching letter and spoilt it with an overdose of weird synonyms. 


After concluding his peroration, he ambulated towards the ingress, exhibiting a countenance imbued with ebullience.
After finishing his speech, he walked towards the door with a beaming expression.

The use of the right words can completely change the tone of voice and the main goal of your descriptive language. 

 Descriptive essay outline examples

When you know the fundamentals and the main part of the descriptive essay, it is time to hit the pen and paper or your laptop and start writing. Writing any paper is overwhelming. That’s why you must always follow a step-by-step approach and guidelines during the writing process. 

Choose a prompt and brainstorm

If your teacher gave you a prompt or a task the writing process can be a tad fast. But, if you are starting from scratch, it is necessary to ask yourself the right questions when choosing an appropriate topic. “What moves me?”, “What do I care about the most?”, “Who influences me?” and questions like this can help you choose the right topic. Not to forget all the results of your brainstorming, jot down everything so that it is easier for you to pick the right topic. 

Write an introduction

The backbone of every essay is a powerful introduction that can interest readers. In the first section of your composition make a powerful point that can leave a lasting impression. The hook must be vivid and moving in a descriptive essay sample. Finish the introduction with the thesis statement. The last sentence must be clear and concise. Remember not to overuse figurative language at the end of the introduction. 

Body paragraphs

Usually, the descriptive essay consists of three body paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on the specific topic and explain it from start to finish. Do not be shy to add as many details as you find necessary. But be careful not to come across as inconsistent in your thoughts. The cherry on top for all body paragraphs is to add real examples and emotions. It builds a bridge between the author and readers. 


The final part of any essay is the conclusion. In the descriptive essay, it must summarize all the points that were discussed earlier in the text. However, the writer can introduce their own way of finishing the essay, by reiterating the main thesis from the introduction. 


What is a descriptive essay with examples?

An essay with a description is one that talks about vivid details and describes a couple of the five senses, such as taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight.  Take a look at the following examples to understand how to start your descriptive essay: 

“Autumn, often described as nature’s grand finale, brings with it a sensory symphony that resonates with many. As the world prepares for the repose of winter, the day takes on an atmospheric aura unique to this season. This essay aims to capture the essence of an autumn day, spotlighting its rich tapestry of colors, sounds, smells, and tactile experiences. Imagine trees draped in hues of amber, ruby, and gold, their leaves rustling in a rhythmic dance to the gentle breezes. The air, cool and crisp, carries with it the faint aroma of woodsmoke, hinting at cozy evenings by the fireplace. Even the sun, softer now, casts a golden hue, turning the world into a canvas painted with warm, dappled light. Let’s journey together into this day, exploring each vivid detail and immersing ourselves in autumn’s unparalleled charm.”

What are good examples of descriptive sentences?

Good descriptive sentences are the ones that have everything in balance. Meaning that the writer uses expressive language in good proportion with traditional language but still can present information in a unique style: “The old wooden floor creaked beneath her feet, each step releasing the scent of years gone by.”; “Crimson and gold leaves swirled in the chilly wind, creating a tapestry of autumn magic against the soft, gray sky.”; “The velvety chocolate melted on her tongue, a sweet symphony of flavors, from bitter cocoa to creamy vanilla.”; “A gentle lullaby of waves whispered against the shore, their rhythm cradling the moonlit beach in nocturnal serenity.” ; “Dew-kissed roses in the early morning shimmered, their petals soft as silk and fragrant with the promise of a new day.”

What is good descriptive writing?

Good descriptive writing examples are when the author can paint a picture with words, and narrate the story so that it appears before the reader’s eyes. The key is to touch upon all five senses such as sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. 

What is an example of a descriptive paragraph topic?

There are many different examples of descriptive paragraph topics. For instance, the writer can talk about their favorite events such as a concert or a birthday party. Or they can describe the most important person and what role they played in their lives. There are endless examples and they depend on your choice and importance to you.