Descriptive Writing

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Descriptive Writing

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Descriptive Writing


Painting Pictures with Words


writing describes an object, place, or person in a way that creates a vivid impression in the reader's mind, enabling the reader to visualize what is being described, and to feel that he/she is very much part of the writer's experience


Elaborate use of sensory details (often those that others might overlook) that enrich or define the central impression

Details which go beyond the general, e.g., The house was big and nice

Details which enable the reader to picture or relive what the writer is telling

A successful description uses vivid vocabulary, including colorful adjectives and figurative language.


Use of words to appeal to the senses





You still have a purpose


nclude plenty of details

Use figurative language, if appropriate


rganize details


how, not tell


se precise language

Avoid clichés


Show don’t Tell

Don’t mistake explanation for description:

Explanation is a kind of telling that interjects background material that does not contain sensory details or contribute to the overall effect–a character's motives or history


The empty room smelled stale and was devoid of furniture or floor covering; the single window lacked curtains or blinds of any kind.


The apartment smelled of old cooking odors, cabbage, and mildew; our sneakers squeaked sharply against the scuffed wood floors, which reflected a haze of dusty sunlight from the one cobwebbed, gritty window.


The tenants had moved out a week earlier because the house was being sold to a developer. No one had bothered to dust or clean because they assumed the apartment was going to be knocked down and replaced with single-family homes like those built just a block away.


Objective v Subjective

It should have one clear central impression. It is usually presented in the thesis statement.

You may adopt to have either an objective or subjective tone in your description.

The objective description merely describes the object


subjective also includes the writer's attitude and feelings towards it.


Everlasting Childhood Though uncombed, his biscuit colored shag and expressionless face have been molded into man’s best friend. It is also the way in which his torso curves below my neck to form the perfect resting spot. Once he was magnificent with his defining black nose and velvety fleece. But his resplendence matured with old age and machine washes. A fixture upon my bed, he is my porthole to the past when textures held prominent value and what made one safe was the worth laid in stuffed things.



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