WRITING a descriptive essay is perhaps more difficult than writing anarrative essay because it makes more demands on one’s use of language.In a descriptive essay, you need to give a detailed description of a person,place, object, experience or memory. Your description must be so effectivethat the person, place, object, experience or memory described is clearlyvisualised by the reader.If you are describing a person, the reader should feel that he knows theperson well. If it is a place that is described, the reader should feel as if he isthere and seeing it with his very eyes. How can this be achieved? Throughthe use of details that appeal to your reader’s senses and a lively tone thatdraws his emotions.
Techniques in descriptive writing
Use details – Focus on the five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste andtouch). Details are very important and when properly used, enabledescriptions to come to life. Use nouns, adjectives and verbs to evoke thesesenses. Nouns and adjectives help the reader see; verbs help the reader feel.Use a lively tone – Show your own feelings, responses and reactions as
these make your description more vivid and lively.Describe different aspects – If you are describing a person, do not limit
your description to the person’s physical appearance. Include a detaileddescription of the person’s character and personality and how other peoplereact to him. Include a detailed paragraph of an incident which highlightsone of these aspects.Let’s look at the two extracts below on the topic “An Unforgettable Aunt”.
Aunt Eleanor had a sharp nose and a pair of black eyes. She was thin, andhad a thin, long face, an aquiline nose and sunken cheeks. Her hair wasalways tied in a knot and her clothes were only of one colour – grey. Mycousins and I were afraid of her and always found an excuse to disappearwhenever she was around.
Aunt Eleanor was thin and scrawny and her protruding bones almost madeher look like a walking skeleton. Her aquiline nose and sunken cheeks addedto her witch-like looks and her dark eyes, when they flashed in anger, werecapable of sending tremors of fear down one’s spine. The dreary grey tonesof her clothes and her sparse dark hair, which was always tied in a knot,further emphasised her sternness. My cousins and I cringed with fear andwere reduced to silence when she glared at us with her smouldering darkeyes. Her serious demeanour and scrooge-like appearance did nothing toendear her to us.