A descriptive essay is considered to be one of the easiest types of writing assignments. This belief is tied to the fact that such an essay doesn’t require you to develop your own point of view on a topic or a complex system of arguments. The purpose of a descriptive essay is merely to present a certain situation or event and describe it for the reader.

However, despite its straightforward nature, such a writing piece still requires several elements that need to be done right:

Hone your writing style

Unlike other types of essays, here, your writing style is one of the most important aspects of your work. As you don’t have a lot of room for experimentation with the content, your style is the place where you can unleash your creativity. Your task is to write in such a manner that is both engaging and informative for the reader.

Choose the right topic

If you were given a broad topic by your teacher that sounds something like “World War I” you shouldn’t try to cover the entire war, but instead focus on a single aspect, period, or battle to make your descriptive essay a success. A good topic has to be specific enough to fit on a couple of pages, but not so specific that you won’t find a sufficient amount of information about it.

Another advice for picking a topic is to go for the one that you are interested in. If you feel an emotional connection to the chosen subject, you’ll have a better chance of writing an engaging text.

Allocate time for research

After you’ve picked your topic, spend a reasonable amount of time reading research materials. Remember that your task is to find the most interesting facts from different sources and turn them into a coherent whole. During this process, be sure to carefully write down any quotes or sources you use so that when you have to format your essay, you don’t have to look up where you found that information.

Don’t slack on editing

If you want to receive a good grade for your descriptive essay, you shouldn’t stop at rereading your first draft once. Polish your work by reading it multiple times, deleting or changing unconvincing or poorly-written paragraphs, adding more relevant facts, etc. This way you can be sure that you’ll get an in-depth and interesting essay as the reward for your troubles.

Descriptive Essay Structure

Even though the requirements for writing a descriptive essay aren’t as strict as for other types, you still need to structure your work properly. The outline of such a writing piece should consist of an introduction, a thesis statement, a main part, and a conclusion.


In most cases, a descriptive essay begins with a brief introduction. This element serves to create a spark of interest in the reader, entice them with an interesting or useful fact, prompting them to continue reading forward. It can be either a shocking statistical figure about a social issue, an intriguing detail about a new invention, a funny story, or a gripping quote.

Afterward, you have to explain what the essay is going to be about. Whether you are writing about the life of a famous artist, providing insight into a literary piece or historical event, you have to introduce that topic in a few sentences.

Thesis statement

The thesis statement should contain the primary idea of your essay that you will explain in the main part of the text. Your thesis statement shouldn’t be controversial or vague and shouldn’t be expressed in a doubtful form. For example, if you were writing about trench warfare during World War I, you’d have to highlight the main characteristic of this event, without expressing your opinion on the matter.

Before you start writing the main part of your essay, it’s better to add a couple of transitional sentences. For instance, you can present the main points on which you’ll expand upon in the following paragraphs.

Main part

The main part of your descriptive essay should consist of facts that support your thesis statement. The easiest way to do so is to use simple concepts. You start by describing a single point and then back it up by providing proof and facts. In the topic we mentioned above, it would look like this: “One of the primary weapons that were used during trench battles were poison gases. This fact is documented in…. They were used because they allowed to…, etc.” After you’ve given context to your first point, you move on to the next one and follow the same formula. It’s advised that you use at least three ideas to cover your topic adequately. Proof can be added in the form of quotes, rewritten sentences, etc.


You should start your conclusion by reiterating and rephrasing your thesis statement. It’s also recommended to include a summary of the facts that you’ve listed in the main part of your work. Remember not to express any controversial thoughts, as it’s not the purpose of a descriptive essay. End the piece with an asserting sentence that would motivate the reader to continue finding out more about the topic.

Descriptive Essay Examples

Now that you know how to structure your essay and learned the tips on how to make it a success, here is a list of topics that may inspire you to come up with some topics of your own.

General topics:

  1. The person that inspires you the most
  2. The perfect vacation
  3. The importance of having a healthy relationship with your family
  4. The first months of being in love
  5. The job of your dreams

Literary Sciences & Art:

  1. Irony and humor in literature (based on “Three Men in the Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome)
  2. The obsession of Ahab (based on “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville)
  3. The purpose of art (based on “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde)
  4. The role of Fine Art in our lives
  5. Fauvism as an art movement


  1. The establishment of the Nazi regime in Germany in the 1930’s
  2. The Black Tuesday of 1929
  3. The reasons behind the collapse of the Roman Empire
  4. The First Crusade
  5. The Caribbean Crisis of 1962


  1. Society’s influence on our self-perception
  2. The phenomenon of “psychic vampires”
  3. How to cope with unemployment
  4. The problem of emotional self-abuse
  5. Causes of depression