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Descriptive Essay - TOEFL

A descriptive essay is a type of essay which aims at helping you illustrate something to your reader in a way that they can see, feel, or hear what you are talking about.


What can I write about?

Some of the subjects that are commonly seen in a descriptive essay are as follows:
  • An object, thing, or matter. Since a descriptive essay is made to present and describe a subject, things that have various characteristics can be a great topic. You can write about a flower, a notebook, or any other things under the sun.
  • People. Descriptive essays are not limited to be used for non-living things. People can also be the subject of descriptive essays may they be a group or may he/she be an individual. Descriptive essays can talk about a person that the writer personally knows or it can also be about a prominent figure or icon.
  • An emotion. More than the visuals, descriptive essays can be used to describe things that can be smelled or even felt. Emotions can be your topic of discussion if you want to relay information about an emotion and how it can affect a person and his/her functions and activities.
  • A particular experience. Since experiences can be described, you can also use them as your topic when making a descriptive essay. You can write about your own personal experiences or you can also write in behalf of a person whose experiences are interesting and/or relevant enough to be written. Situations, may they be real or made-up, can be your topics as well.

Descriptive Essay Structure 


Start your essay by writing a thesis or a statement that will wrap your subject in a single idea.
1. Start with a short background:
Everyone needs to take a break from the crazy pace of city lifestyle, once in a while. When I ask myself where the best place to do that is, I do not have to think for more than a second.
2. State the dominant impression about the subject
My favorite spot in the NYC is the Van Cortlandt Park, with its long paving trails that I so much like to ride on my bike, passing jungles of trees and bushes so wild that they make you believe you have escaped the city completely, and are somewhere in the middle of a real rich forest.
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Special Order - Location Paragraph
Specify the location
Provide the necessary factual details. Where is it? What are the main objects / people there? What is the main feeling about it?
As I moved through the dense forest of the park, I pushed away the ample fluffy branches that came in my way, trying not to hurt any of the big flat leaves, or neat, perfect acorns that covered each branch. Wanting to be closer to nature, I decided not to take the pathway but, instead, go directly through the forest. It was as if there wasn’t a sign of civilization around me at all.
Chronological Order - Scene Paragraph
  • Specify the scene
Provide the necessary factual details. When did it happen? What were the main objects / people? What was your main feeling about it?
When I started school, mom was my ally. To me, school was a world where ghosts and bad guys lurk. Instead of laughing at my fears, mom showed me how great school can be.
  • Enrich the description with sensory details
Provide the visceral details relate to the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Describe your emotions and feelings.
Instead of dropping me off at school, she came out of the car, knelt down, tenderly cupped my face with both hands and told me: "Don’t worry, honey. There won’t be any bad guys today, Mommy made them go away."
Climactic Order - Scene Paragraph
  • State the point
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the painting is the woman's smile.
  • Enrich the description with sensory details
Provide the visceral details relate to the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Describe your emotions and feelings.
Many believe that it is innocent and inviting, while others feel it is that of smugness and is actually a smirk. Some scientific studies have been undertaken to determine the exact nature of the smile but the real reason remains a mystery. It is thought that every person sees the smile differently because of the changes in the lighting that de Vinci presented.
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The conclusion of a descriptive essay is just as important as the introduction. The conclusion seals the essay and tries to close the issue. Conclusion is the last part of the essay that your reader will experience.
  • Restate your feelings about the subject
Wrap up the description and provide final thoughts.
Although the painting looks calm, it actually hides a secret so deep, that no one, for centuries had revealed. It takes a long look at the Mona Lisa to appreciate its complex beauty.
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