Basic Information about Writing a Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay focuses on detailing exactly what something looks like, and possibly some of its history. Descriptive essay writing can be about a person, place, thing, experience, emotion, and so on. The main reason teachers assign descriptive essays is to see how a student can show his or her observation writing skills and his or her use of vocabulary. Though not as demanding as other types of essays, such as expository or persuasive essays, a descriptive essay is still a composition that should be written meticulously.

Descriptive Essay Format

Descriptive essays have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A 5 paragraph descriptive essay is common. However, little-to-no source citations are needed, as teachers often ask a student to write a descriptive essay based on his or her own perception of senses. A descriptive essay outline is not complicated, though it is still recommended to complete one. In a descriptive essay outline, you can create bulleted points instead of drawn-out explanations.

Style of a Descriptive Essay

The language should be detailed and formal. However, it should not be so scholarly-sounding that readers cannot understand the writing. Do not try to persuade your reader of anything. Simply describe the thing you have chosen without bias.

Popular Descriptive Essay Topics


  1. Your best friend
  2. Your hero
  3. A stranger in the crowd
  4. Visiting an old friend
  5. Meeting someone new
  6. A character from a book, movie, or television program
  7. A person who intimidates you
  8. Meeting a celebrity
  9. A memory of someone you miss
  10. The first time you met one of your friends
  11. A special time you and your family had together
  12. Your ideal roommate


  1. A famous building
  2. A garden
  3. Your favorite place
  4. A room
  5. A restaurant
  6. A beach
  7. A museum
  8. A fair
  9. A haunted house
  10. Your favorite book store
  11. A frightening place
  12. A place near water (ocean, lake, pond, river, swimming pool)
  13. A prison cell, police station, or courtroom
  14. A scene of environmental destruction
  15. A shopping mall
  16. A yard sale or flea market
  17. An art exhibit
  18. An ideal apartment
  19. An inspiring place to view
  20. Your dream house
  21. Your memory of a place you visited as a child
  22. Your old neighborhood


  1. A popular food
  2. A childhood memory
  3. A photograph
  4. A car
  5. A phobia
  6. A bouquet
  7. A favorite childhood toy
  8. A pet or an animal in the zoo


  1. A dream
  2. A bus ride
  3. Winning an award
  4. Getting lost
  5. A bad day
  6. A day in the sun
  7. Flying in an airplane
  8. An amazing view
  9. A camping trip
  10. Daydreaming
  11. A picnic
  12. A race
  13. A competition
  14. A daily routine
  15. A walk through a park
  16. Waiting in line
  17. Wearing a disguise/costume
  18. Watching a parade
  19. A class reunion
  20. A beautiful winter day
  21. An accident on the freeway
  22. The best season of the year
  23. First day of school
  24. First kiss
  25. Graduation
  26. Late night or early morning
  27. Summer vacation
  28. The experience of skydiving
  29. The most romantic day
  30. Wedding ceremony
  31. Your oldest memory
  32. A memorable concert you attended
  33. A memorable trip you took
  34. One of your happiest memories
  35. A time that something unexpected happened
  36. One of your most embarrassing moments

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