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Based on the description, we can see waves hitting the shore as the tide comes in, hear the water as it hits the sand, smell the salty air, and feel the warm sun. See how the senses use concrete things we've all probably experienced to some degree in our own lives to help you visualize a new scene? This is how a descriptive essay uses things we are familiar with - in this case, our five senses - to take us to a tropical paradise. Even more, the description helps set a mood by using more vivid language to complement the sensory-based description.

The author shows us, rather than tells us, what the afternoon on a beach is like. Rather than saying, 'I heard the waves as the tide came in,' the author says, 'As the waves leisurely collided with the shore, I could hear the delicate lapping of the water as it met the sand.

He or she shows us what it's like to be out there on the beach when the tide comes in during the afternoon, rather than just giving us a play-by-play. The same vivid language also helps the author to create a mood for this description.

We can begin to experience the same peacefulness through the use of words like 'leisurely' and 'delicate. Another useful technique for setting a mood with your descriptive writing is to use similes and metaphors. A simile is a phrase comparing two unlikely things using 'like' or 'as' in order to make a description more vivid.

You've probably heard the phrase, 'running like the wind' before. This is an example of a simile. Rather than saying, 'running really fast,' you replace the speed with something that might represent running quickly, like the wind. A metaphor has the same function as a simile, but the comparison between objects is implicit, meaning there is no 'like' or 'as' used to signal the comparison. Here's an example of a metaphor from good old Shakespeare: As you can see, similes and metaphors are another tool to help make your descriptions more vivid.

They paint a more detailed picture for your reader, making it easier for them to understand what you're saying, not to mention more interesting, because you are showing them what you have in your mind's eye, rather than just telling them.

By now, you probably get the idea that the style choice for your descriptive essay is pretty open. The subject of your essay and the mood you want to create really dictates how your essay is structured. Really, the only rule is to make sure you describe your subject as vividly as possible, using the five senses and showing versus telling.

Get FREE access for 5 days, just create an account. There are, however, a few ways you can organize your descriptive essay to make it even easier for the reader to follow what you're saying and visualize your subject. One option is to organize your essay from general to particular. For example, if you were describing the new Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas, you might start out by describing the setting - the smell of the corn dogs frying, the crowds of people, the happy children dodging in and out of the midway games - then get into his grandiose size - after all, everything is bigger in Texas, right?

After that, you describe the details: By organizing your essay in this order, your reader not only understands what Big Tex looks like, but they are able to visualize the entire scene as well.

As you can see, this structure works particularly well when the subject of your essay is an object. If the subject was the entire State Fair of Texas rather than just Big Tex, you might choose to organize your essay spatially. Essays organized this way start at one point in a setting and work their way around, describing all of the elements. This allows you to take your reader on a tour of all of the fairgrounds, from the Ferris wheel and midway, to the food court lined with fried food inventions, to the Cotton Bowl stadium.

Rather than describing a thing or a place, your essay might focus on an event. In this case, structuring your essay chronologically is probably your best option. If you were writing your descriptive essay on what you did during your day at the fair, this would be the way to go.

Beginning with what you did first, you walk your reader through all the events you encountered during your day. So, remember, a descriptive essay allows a reader to understand the essay's subject using illustrative language. The best way to paint a picture for your reader is through use of concrete examples, like the five senses, paired with more vivid, abstract language that creates the mood and helps set the overall tone. Similes and metaphors are figures of speech that can help you better describe your subject and make your writing more interesting by comparing your topic to fitting, yet unlikely descriptive terms.

While many organizational forms are suitable for descriptive essays, three techniques can be particularly helpful: To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.

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By creating an account, you agree to Study. Explore over 4, video courses. Find a degree that fits your goals. Watch this video to learn more about the techniques and elements that can help you fill the picture with lots of great details.

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What is Expository Writing? How to Edit and Improve Essay Content. What is Narrative Writing? Test Prep and Practice. Middle School Language Arts: Kelly Roach Kelly earned her Master of Mass Communication from Arizona State and has taught consumer behavior and communication courses at the undergraduate level.

A descriptive essay allows you to paint a picture for your reader in words. Defining a Descriptive Essay When you hear the word 'describe,' what does it mean to you? Using the Five Senses Descriptive essays are great because, in a sense pun intended , they can help us see places we might not be able to go ourselves, hear new things, taste different flavors, smell foreign smells, or touch different textures. Behold, the power of using the five senses in a descriptive essay: Telling Even more, the description helps set a mood by using more vivid language to complement the sensory-based description.

Organizing By now, you probably get the idea that the style choice for your descriptive essay is pretty open. Want to learn more? Select a subject to preview related courses: Lesson Summary So, remember, a descriptive essay allows a reader to understand the essay's subject using illustrative language.

Learning Outcomes After this lesson, you should be able to: Explain the purpose of a descriptive essay Describe how to use the five senses and abstract language in a descriptive essay Define similes and metaphors and explain how to use them in a descriptive essay Identify three ways to organize a descriptive essay. Unlock Your Education See for yourself why 30 million people use Study. Become a Member Already a member? Earning College Credit Did you know… We have over college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1, colleges and universities.

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Writers use the descriptive essay to create a vivid picture of a person, place, or thing. Unlike a narrative essay, which reveals meaning through a personal story, the purpose of a descriptive essay is to reveal the meaning of .

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- Descriptive Essay - The Swimming Pool The tiles were still dirty from the residue of chlorine and pittle combined into one thick layer of impossible gunk. This gunk surrounded the edge of pool right where the water met the lowest part of the tile and was even apparent underneath the shallow water fountain around the back end.

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Descriptive Essay Samples One of the most popular forms of essays, it is important to grasp how to write one. Look at our samples of descriptive essays to understand how to write them on your own. Apr 02,  · What Is a Descriptive Essay? The descriptive essay asks the writer to describe something—an object, person, place, experience, emotion, or situation. This essay attempts to convey how that subject looked, felt, tasted, sounded, smelled, and so on, and express the emotion or sensation so clearly and vividly that the reader can feel Reviews:

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Descriptive essays do this through the use of more concrete concepts, which most often include our five senses. Behold, the power of using the five senses in a descriptive essay: 'As the waves leisurely collided with the shore, I could hear the delicate lapping of the water as it met the sand. If you have got a task to write a descriptive essay at school or university, it is hardly worth immediately taking a pen and putting thoughts on paper.