Descriptive Writing

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DESCRIPTIVE WRITING is the clear description of people, places, objects, or events using appropriate details. An effective description will contain sufficient and varied elaboration of details to communicate a sense of the subject being described. Details used are usually sensory and selected to describe what the writer sees, hears, smells, touches, and tastes.


1. Think of an animal you have seen or that you know about. The animal might be someone’s pet, an animal you have read about or seen on television, or an animal in a zoo or park. Before you begin to write, think about this animal. Describe the animal for a friend so that the friend will know exactly what the animal is like. You may wish to include how the animal looks, the sounds the animal makes, how the animal feels to touch, and how the animal acts.

2. Think of your favorite place to go out and eat. Describe it for a friend. You may want to say what you see there, what you hear there, what you do there, and how it makes you feel to be there.

3. Suppose that you and a friend have just found a very strange or weird bird. You ask others about the bird, but they do not know anything about the bird. Before you begin to write, think about what the bird is like. Describe the bird for your teacher so that the teacher will know exactly what the bird is like. You may wish to include what the bird looks like, the sounds the bird makes, how the bird acts, what the bird feels like to touch, and how you felt when you found the bird.

Descriptive prompts can be tricky. Don’t catalogue or list details. It seems like they may want you to make a list of the answers to the different parts of the questions. Don’t fall for it. If you don’t have a purpose and you just make a list of what you hear, see, feel, taste, etc. using telling sentences, it WILL be boring!

Example of the beginning of an answer to a descriptive prompt that lacks intent: (That means it...
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