6 Important Rules to Remember When Writing a Descriptive Essay

Writing is an activity that anybody can actually do. Beautiful, effective writing, on the other hand, requires talent and skill. Some people appear to be gifted with it, which is admirable. Not only do such individuals have prolific ideas, but their vocabulary is quite impressive as well.

While writing well can be observed in some people more than others, it can certainly be learned. There are standards that you can study and implement when accomplishing writing tasks. Likewise, there are basic rules that you can follow to make any type of written content, be it a descriptive essay for school or a post for your blog, quite riveting.

When it comes to writing a descriptive essay, the rules are actually quite simple. You should have no problem implementing these whenever you are tasked to create one for school.

To serve as your guide, here are the six important rules of composing descriptive essays that effectively inform and fully engage readers.

1. Write the descriptive essay like a story.

Studies reveal that stories instantly activate the brain. When the brain interprets written content as a story, which is a series of events or situations, it also engages in neural coupling, which is a synchronization of the reader’s brain with the storyteller’s brain.

Describing anything in a story form never fails to stimulate interest and make ideas so much clearer.

2. Engage the senses using figures of speech.

Describe ideas in a way that engages the senses and fires up the imagination more.

For example, instead of using adverbs and adjectives, use figures of speech. To describe someone as extraordinarily beautiful, take a cue from the novel “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, wherein someone was beautiful “…in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close.”

3. Make your goal for the essay as clear as crystal.

It is crucial that the purpose of writing the essay is revealed right away. This purpose should be pronounced to the reader, making them interested and “involved.” As a person reads the material, they should be able to determine why this unfolding of information matters.

For instance, you are writing about your mother. The reader should quickly and easily comprehend why she is the most influential person to you and why nothing can equal the love you have for her.

4. Avoid unnecessarily complex words.

For descriptive essays, do not focus on sounding smart. Instead, professional essay writers recommend using familiar words that you know would automatically tap into the emotions or trigger a reaction from the reader.

Descriptive essays should flow easily. You want to communicate your thoughts in the most understandable way for your reader. You do not want them getting stumped by words that they do not know the meaning of. All that will do is create a distance between your thoughts and the readers’, as well as breed confusion and take away from their enjoyment while reading the piece.

5. As much as possible, keep your sentences short.

Avoid run-on sentences. The cause and effect of situations do not always need to be contained in a single sentence.

If you can say what you need to in a more concise way, do so. Why? Readers easily get lost in really long sentences. So remember to break up  those long sentences, especially if there are multiple ideas in them that could be confusing for the reader.

6. Edit mercilessly.

One of the most common issues with descriptive essays is that most writers have a tendency to include words and information with no real value. When creating a descriptive essay, focus is a must.

Therefore, edit your work mercilessly. Make each sentence count and stick to the main points because excess statements can only muddle the ideas you are presenting in the essay.

It is important to note, however, that editing is no easy task. Even the world’s most accomplished writers still require the guidance of professional editors. As such, practice editing your own work, and then get another person (perhaps a tutor or someone from a reputable essay writing company) to evaluate your work.

These are just a few simple rules to remember and follow that could have a huge impact when it comes to composing a high-quality descriptive essay that is a joy to read.


Taimoor Liaquat is the CEO at MyPerfectWords.com, renowned as the global source for professional writing services at all academic levels. The company’s team of world-class native English-speaking essay writers with advanced degrees at elite US universities ensures high-quality custom content for all clients.