How To Write a Descriptive Paragraph

In a descriptive paragraph, the writer must convey information that appeals to all the senses - touch, taste, sight, smell and sound - in order to give the best possible description to the reader. This is easily accomplished by following these descriptive paragraph writing tips.

Step 1

Begin with what you want the reader to see. Any good descriptive paragraph must first discuss what the writer wants the reader to visualize. Use strong adjectives to illustrate your scene, moment, experience or item to the reader. Avoid using general terms (like ‘nice', ‘good', ‘pretty' and ‘awesome'), as these don't provide a visual picture. Instead, be as specific as you can with your visual descriptions in your paragraph so that your reader will see exactly what you are describing in his mind's eye. Consider how ‘the nice dog played' is much more effective when written as ‘the scruffy brown dog with a patch above his left eye jumped quickly at the passing red frisbee'. The latter sentence contains sufficient description in order to create a picture for the reader.

Step 2

Write about smells and tastes. Now you need to think about how you can describe that topic / scene / moment to the reader in terms of how hit smells and how it tastes. The best descriptive paragraphs use a whole slew of adjectives that make the reader feel as if he were actually experiencing the thing you're describing, and not just reading about it. Include a sentence about how your topic smells and use a few poignant adjectives to relay the smell of it to the reader. Do the same with how it tastes. And try to be specific; ‘it tastes good' is not going to provide a specific experience for your reader, but ‘it tastes like grandma's apple pie when it's fresh and still bubbling around the edges-crunchy, flavorful and sweet'. Describe the smells and tastes of the experience in as much detail as you can to make your descriptive paragraph most effective.

Step 3

Write about how the moment or item feels. As you continue writing your descriptive paragraph, write a few sentences about how the experience feels. What does it remind you of as you imagine yourself running your hand along its surface? Or how are your emotions reacting to the moment? Use lots of adjectives so that the reader doesn't have to guess what something feels like. Your words alone should provide an in-depth description so that every reader will have the same thoughts about how what you're describing feels. Again, try to avoid general statements like ‘it feels nice' (which isn't descriptive at all). Opt for specific, definitive examples that really relay the feeling of something to your reader.

Step 4

Don't forget to mention the sounds of the moment. Your descriptive paragraph should also spend a moment discussing what can be heard. What noises fill the air? Or is there a deafening silence? Describe the details of what the reader's ears should be experiencing. Don't leave anything to the imagination for the reader when you're describing sound. Something like ‘the gentle breeze whistled past my ears, leaving a peaceful, quiet calm in the meadow' is a great sentence about what can be heard. Try using this type of detail in your own descriptive paragraph.

Step 5

Include some other impressive literary components. Your teacher (and your audience) will love your descriptive paragraph even more if you include other effective writing techniques in it. Use similes to compare what you're describing to something else, including the words ‘like' or ‘as'. And use metaphors to draw relationships between what you're describing in your paragraph and something else that the reader is able to identify with. If you can include all of these elements in your descriptive paragraph, your readers will be able to fully experience and appreciate your writing.


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