Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Homework CenterWriting Skills
[Home] Homework Center

Descriptive Essays

The purpose of a descriptive essay is to describe a person, place, or thing in such vivid detail that the reader can easily form a precise mental picture of what is being written about. The author may accomplish this by using imaginative language, interesting comparisons, and images that appeal to the senses.

Read this sample descriptive essay, and then read the notes below.

  1. The subject of the sample essay is fairly ordinary—a ride on a Ferris wheel. The author makes it interesting, however, by comparing the Ferris wheel to a monstrous creature.

  2. The author makes good use of fresh and varied vocabulary. For example, in the first paragraph alone, she uses verbs that create excitement like "fascinate," "amaze," and "terrify." In the second paragraph she uses a variety of terms to describe the machine such as "monstrosity," "mythical beast," "amazing dinosaur," "fire-breathing dragon."

  3. The author uses her senses to describe the scene—how the ride looks, sounds, smells, and feels. The ride is "huge, smoky, noisy" and its engines "drone" like the roar of a dragon. On the ride, she gets a "rush of adrenaline" and a "lump in her throat," she feels immobile and then weightless.

  4. The essay is well organized. The introduction begins with a general statement, "I have always been fascinated by carnival rides," and ends with a more specific statement of what the essay will be about, "the thrill and excitement of a carnival ride keeps me coming back for more." The body of the essay is composed of several paragraphs that describe the Ferris wheel, the way it seems from the ground and the way it feels to ride on one. The conclusion restates the main idea of the essay, that the author continues to find carnival rides thrilling and exciting.
Homework Center Home »

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Handwriting Headquarters
We've got handwriting practice worksheets, handwriting tips, and answers to your child's writing struggles, just in time for back to school. Brought to you by BIC.

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!