Describe your whereabouts on the evening of the 18th.
Okay, this isn’t CSI, and you’re not under investigation, so this isn’t the type of description we’ll be learning about in this post.
Describe your summer vacation.
You’re not in third grade, either so no one is going to ask you to write a paper describing your family’s summer vacation (I hope!).
Write a 750 word essay describing a place, an object, an experience, or a process. Be creative!
Now this sounds like something you might be asked to write. Describing something sounds easy enough, right? But there are guidelines you should follow when writing a descriptive essay.
Being creative and descriptive can sometimes be a challenge. I’m sure you don’t want to write the seventh incarnation of your summer vacation essay, but you might be struggling to think of something a bit more original.
If you’re feeling less than creative and need some inspiration, then you’ve found the right place, as this post includes 20 fascinating and unusual descriptive essay topics.
Writing a Descriptive Essay: What You Need to Know
Yes, you’ll need to include descriptions in a descriptive essay, but there’s more to it than that.
Here are three key points should know before you write your paper.
Know why you’re writing the essay
Like any assignment, a descriptive essay has a specific purpose.
Is your purpose to simply describe something, or are you supposed include your feelings and comments about something? Not sure how to include either of these? Read more about objective and subjective description.
Know what details to include
Description is obviously important in a descriptive essay but don’t include details simply for the sake of including them. These unnecessary details slow down your writing and bog down your readers.
Here’s an example that includes too many unnecessary details.
I walked up the three steps on my front porch, put my key in my newly painted front door, and opened it casually. My jaw dropped to the floor when I opened the door. Eight of my best friends were packed tightly like sardines in the corner, each holding colorful Happy Birthday signs. They jumped out and yelled “Surprise! Happy Birthday!” as I walked in the room.
This paragraph provides too many irrelevant details. Do readers really need to know how many steps are on your front porch, or do they need to know your door was freshly painted? Of course not. These details aren’t important to your description of this event, so leave them out.
Warning: Avoid cliches! Expressions, such as “my jaw dropped to the floor” and “packed like sardines” are overused and not original or creative.
Know (and use) your senses
No, this doesn’t refer to common sense (though I do recommend you always use common sense). Here, senses literally refers to your 5 senses: sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell.
It’s easy to include sight in description, but don’t forget the other senses. Including the other senses creates more vivid imagery. It will bring your descriptions to life and help your readers imagine what you’re describing.
Think about describing a bakery. Through your description, you can show readers an image of the physical space and describe the donuts, but if you can capture the sweet aroma of baked goods wafting through the air, you’ll create a much more effective description.
Now that you’re hungry for donuts, and now that you have a better understanding of how to write a descriptive essay, the fact remains that you still need something to write about.
Here are 20 topics to help spark your creativity.
20 Fascinating and Unusual Descriptive Essay Topics
Remember, you want to avoid topics that you’ve written about since the third grade and boring topics that are too obvious.
Try one of these topics, instead!
5 Fascinating and Unusual Descriptive Essay Topics about Places
Sure, you could describe your bedroom, your dorm room, or even a classroom, but that’s not very original, so write about something a little more unusual, like one of these 5 places.
- A construction site: Think of the sounds of machinery and smells of construction materials. You might even be able to describe conversations between workers.
- A waiting room: Consider the mood of the room and how people interact. How do strangers interact when placed in a quiet room together?
- A gas station restroom: I hate to ask, but is it possible to describe how this room might smell?
- A cemetery at dusk: The time of year, the weather, and the light will be important in your description of a cemetery. Is the mood somber or creepy?
- A line at an amusement park ride: Think about how the temperature and the length of the line might play an important role in your description. Does a 90 degree day and a 30 minute wait change the mood of the people in line?
5 Fascinating and Unusual Descriptive Essay Topics about Objects
Your first thought might be to describe your television, your couch, or anything else immediately in front of you, but really, how fascinating can a couch be? Why not write about something a bit more interesting, like one of these topics.
- The contents of your purse or wallet: Describe what the items look like, but also describe their importance or significance. Do you carry any sentimental items?
- A painting or picture: Describe the subject of the painting or photograph. Do the background images have any significance? What is the history behind the painting or picture?
- Your favorite toy from childhood: Can you describe to readers why the toy was your favorite? What is the toy made of? Is it soft and cuddly or made of plastic or steel?
- The street in front of your home: Paint a clear picture for your readers by describing the street itself, what surrounds the street, and who uses the street? What noises are associated with the street? Are there any distinctive smells or sights?
- A tattoo: Colors, lines, and concept will play an important role in describing a tattoo. If known, you might also include a description of the tattoo’s meaning.
5 Fascinating and Unusual Descriptive Essay Topics about Experiences
You’ve likely graduated from kindergarten, middle school, and maybe even high school. You might be tempted to write about this experience, but unless it was truly unique, consider skipping those boring ideas and go with a more unusual topic like one of the five listed here.
- A frightening, funny, or embarrassing subway ride: Describe how frightened you were when you were trapped in a dark subway car for hours. Perhaps describe how embarrassed you felt when you broke the heel of your shoe running to catch the train. Or, describe how a subway performer changed your day.
- Feeling alone in a room–not knowing anyone at the party, in a new school, or in a class: Think about the emotions you felt. How can you describe this to others so they, too, feel how you felt in that instant? Did the shape of the room or placement of the people contribute to your feelings?
- A visit to an emergency room: Describe the sounds of doctors, patients, and medical devices to your readers. Describe your thoughts and feelings. Consider how you might describe the chaos or calm in the ER at any given time.
- Getting lost in a strange new place (a city or even on your campus): Combine the panic you might feel along with a clear description of the sights and sounds around you to help readers understand your emotions and see your surroundings.
- Meeting up with a long-lost friend (or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend): Consider how you might describe the person. Does he or she look different than when you last met? How did you feel when you first saw your friend or ex? Does the place where you met play a role in your description?
5 Fascinating and Unusual Descriptive Essay Topics about Processes
Yes, making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich might be considered a process, but these types of how-to processes read more like directions, rather than a description of a process. Choose a topic (like one listed below) that allows for more discussion and description.
- How to survive your first year of college: Think about all of your experiences and try to narrow them down to a few key points that college students must know in order to survive. You might describe the best ways to study, how to meet new people, how to avoid feeling homesick, or even how to avoid the freshman 15.
- How to train for a marathon: This description not only involves the physical aspect, but also involves the mental aspects of training. Describe how you feel during each.
- How to study for an exam: Describe a few important study strategies. Consider how you learn best and how you might help others follow your same techniques.
- How to break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend: Is it ever okay to break up on Facebook, Twitter, or via text? What should you say to your soon-to-be ex?
- How to protect your privacy online: Describe a few key steps anyone can use to protect his or her privacy. Look for simple, low-cost solutions anyone can try.
From Descriptive Topic to Descriptive Essay
After you’ve chosen from the many possible descriptive essay topics for your paper, remember: know why you’re writing the essay, know what details to include, and use your 5 senses.
With these three tips in mind, it will be easy to turn your fascinating and unusual topic into a superb essay.
If you’re looking for extra help turning descriptive essay topics into an essay, here are a few resources to set you on the right path.
For help with basic essay structure, read How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay Outline.
Read more tips on structuring your descriptive essay here.
Do you remember when teachers told you to show, not tell? They’re right! Click here to learn more about using this strategy in your own descriptive essay.
If you’ve written a killer descriptive essay but just can’t decide how to end it, read 12 Essay Conclusion Examples to Help You Finish Strong and How to Write a Killer Essay Conclusion.
When you’ve finished your essay, don’t forget to have one of our editors review your paper.
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
What is a descriptive essay? A descriptive essay is a short paper which is all about describing or summarizing a topic. You don't need to collect responses from other people like you do when writing an argumentative essay. Based on my own experience, I can tell that expository essays barely occupy more than one page. They won't take a plenty of time. Still, if you have no desire to work on the stuff like that or you want to impress your essay reader even with such a simple assignment, contact academic writers for hire to have your vivid essay done in several hours.
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No details, no proofs, no special effort... It is the simplest academic homework essay. In general, students should illustrate a descriptive essay with words instead of using pictures. Describe whatever you see, feel, touch, taste, or hear about the target topic. Learn here how to write an A-level college essay.
A descriptive essay about a place, for instance, must provide author's impressions from attending a certain place in the world: from a small town to the biggest country. We explain how to write a descriptive essay based on its types.
How to Write a Descriptive Essay: Types to Consider
Study professional descriptive essay examples to understand each type listed below better. A descriptive essay can describe any of the following issues:
- Human essay. It is much harder to tell about a person. Overall, such task would mean telling about the appearance, actions, behaviors, mood, and qualities of the chosen individual.
- Place essay. The primary thing you should understand to find out how to write a descriptive essay about a place is the paper's focus. Focus on describing places with the most breathtaking sights; let your reader feel the might of such cities as New York or Rome in your description.
- Event essay. You can describe your last vacation, loud rock gig, summer music festival, graduation day, or Euro trip.
- Animal essay. Wild nature is full of wonders - choose the animal you like most of all or the one you can associate with yourself.
- Occupation essay. Writing about the job of your dream is good training before preparing an admissions essay or job resume.
- Behavior essay. If you want to describe the freaky behavior of your best friend to show how the same people act under different conditions, it's your chance!
We can explain just anything in details. The goal is to make it sound both artistically and officially.
Keep in mind you can count on help with writing a descriptive essay from academic experts who care about your performance.
100 Descriptive Essay Topics for Any Taste
We have selected 100 most outstanding descriptive essay topics most of the school and college tutors expect to see from each student. Mind that these are only the examples of the descriptive essay ideas; students can think of their own original topics by replacing some words with more suitable.
Despite there are many topics you might want to describe in detail, it is better to focus on a single person/place/event/object not to lose the point. Consider these 100 topics for your argumentative essay. A descriptive essay refers to showing than telling; deliver the main idea to your readers through drawing a picture of what you want to say.
Person/People Essay Ideas
- Make a detailed description of your mother (other relatives).
- Provide a vivid description of your role model. It could be your favorite actor, singer, movie director, fashion model, political figure, best friend, parents, etc.
- Why does Martin Luther King deserve respect?
- Describe a character from your favorite TV show (e.g. Buffy Summers, Piper Halliwell, Clark Kent, etc.)
- Choose a famous villain and reveal his personality.
- Describe specific traits you enjoy in one of your peers.
- List features of your boyfriend/girlfriend (fiancé/bride) which make this person so important in your life.
- Would you prefer Wonder Woman or Xena, Warrior Princess?
- Essay: Share a description of your most liked teacher.
- Why do you believe John Kennedy was a great political figure on the examples of his contribution to the US society?
- Explain why your favorite actress is better than the others.
- Why would a certain person behave in the way he/she does?
- Which psychological factors had the greatest impact on your own behavior?
- Describe a person whom you hate.
- Share description of your least favorite movie.
- Essay: Which horror film character has scared you to death?
- How would you act if you meet your favorite celebrity on the street one day?
- What traits belong to the term "best friend"?
- How would you define your potential enemies?
- Describe why you believe in a friendship between man and woman based on your own experience.
- Write who your favorite business manager is.
- Write how a perfect fashion model should look like today.
- Write why you think Abraham Lincoln deserves a special place in the history of the US.
- Essay: List specific features which make your mom stand out from the rest of the mothers.
- Why is your dad the kindest dad in the world?
Place/Location Descriptive Essay Examples
- Provide details on the house you're living in. Would you like to change something about it, move away to another location, or stay without fixing anything, and why?
- Where would you like to rest next winter and why?
- Share an example of a perfect summer location with your readers.
- Provide details on your favorite winter location.
- Some students want to describe the rooms they are living in on campus. Share ideas how the college/university community could unite to make this place better.
- Describe the top favorite place in your native country.
- Essay: How do you picture an ideal place to have a wedding ceremony?
- Write about the place where people can see the brightest stars in the sky.
- Think of the features of the perfect place to have the loudest rock gig ever!
- List the names of the countries you would like to visit.
- My hometown is in my heart and soul.
- Why has Melbourne the heart of Australia despite it is not even its capital city?
- Describe the loudest place you used to visit.
- Write about the place you think is the best in the whole world.
- Essay: Tell more about the place you're studying in.
- Describe the places you attended with your parents.
- Describe the most beautiful garden you have ever seen.
- Name the place you would choose for the summer festival.
- Write about 7 Wonders of the World.
- Write what you believe is the eighth Wonder of the World.
- Write how you feel when attending your childhood places.
- Essay: Write down why you prefer your native country over any other places in the world.
- Write how you can get to the certain destination.
- Describe a location for a perfect student party.
- Write about your favorite place which exists only in the fiction.
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Memory/Mind Essay Ideas
- Help your readers picture the best day of your life using vivid descriptions, different examples, original comparisons, and more attributes of the talented essay writer.
- What was the most special thing on your last trip to the sea?
- Do you remember the first birthday of your best friend?
- Create a map which would allow people to travel your mind to see a bit of your experience.
- Describe the introductory day in any of the existing educational institution - school, college, or university - using the entire spectrum of emotions.
- Essay: What would you call the ugliest experience in your life?
- Find proper words to describe the memories associated with the beloved person who used to die.
- List the things you like doing with your grandparents.
- Describe the event in your academic life which makes you proud enough to share it with the admissions officers later.
- Provide a description of the first time falling in love.
- Provide a description of the day in your life when something you like (e.g. hobby, art, music band, comic book, other objects) has almost changed your vision completely.
- Describe what you believe young children tend to memorize best of all.
- Essay: Help your readers understand how it feels like in the mountains.
- Do you like riding the bicycle?
- Describe the last time you were abroad.
- Share your feelings with the readers who wish to learn more about taking part in the exchange
- How did you feel during your English language exam?
- Which event from your life made you feel scared?
- Describe something that made you laugh to death.
- Offer details on your visit to London.
- Describe a silent place in the woods you love since your early ages.
- Write how you remember the first snow in your life.
- Write why it is important to keep a diary.
- Essay: Write down several things you remember from your tenth birthday.
- Write how it feels to attend the funeral based on your memory.
Object/Thing Descriptive Essay Topics
- Dedicate several powerful paragraphs to what you consider your family relict.
- Describe an object which you believe has once saved your life or prevented other adverse consequences for you or one of your close people.
- The Silk Road.
- Find appropriate words to describe something you wanted so bad you were ready to steal it due to the fact you did not have enough money to buy it.
- The most expensive painting ever sold.
- Pick one of the recent technological innovations. Make a description explaining why this particular thing plays in important role in the development of modern society.
- Essay: There is one more thing every writer should keep in mind to have a full vision of how to write a descriptive essay about yourself.
- Providing a description of distance and time from the physical aspect.
- Wonderful things every human should know from the Ancient World (choose Egypt, Greece, or Rome)
- How would you describe the icons in your home?
- The Empire State Building (or any other magnificent construction)
- Taj Mahal: historical value.
- Solar System and planets in it.
- The role of Bible in our life.
- Essay: A comfortable bed as a definition of good sleep.
- Can a dress make a man?
- Why do we love soft toys that much?
- Things to take with you on a sea trip.
- What can money change in the life of every person?
- The true value of vegetables in the markets.
- Essay: Write why your old Tamagotchi still matters to you.
- Write how your favorite video game has impacted you.
- Write down specific attributes which make your favorite doll special.
- Describe your living rooms in detail.
- Describe the neighboring house in detail.
Want to view several good descriptive essay examples from experts? We have attached the best samples to observe!
Common Structure: How to Write a Descriptive Essay
The structure of such essay depends on the topic. There is no need to follow strict chronology if you write about a person/object, but you should mind the order of events in the essay describing a place. Do not waste time on in-depth research or search for many sources - focus on writing about your feelings.
Work on the senses. To succeed, it is important to create 5 titled columns on a separate worksheet to list five human senses. Any good descriptive essay must cover each of the five senses, taste, sight, touch, smell and sound, to make the reader(s) feel the full spectrum of emotions associated with the chosen topic. It is obvious that some topics are better associated with certain feelings than others; focus on these feelings when describing the issue in detail.
Writing an outline. Create an outline to be your action plan during the entire writing process. No matter whether you're a high school student or the one studying in college, the teachers everywhere expect to see a 5-paragraph descriptive essay. Descriptive essays belong to the category of creative pieces. Use them to expand your imagination by lengthening the text. The standard outline covers five paragraphs: introduction, 3-5 body paragraphs, and conclusion. Descriptive essays do not have a reference page as the obligatory part. Add important sources if you're not reflecting personal experience.
Explore how a professional descriptive writing looks in several great descriptive essay examples!
Descriptive writing is not a piece of cake, but some expert recommendations help students to overcome different obstacles in their academic life:
"Most of my students wondered how to write a descriptive essay about a person, place, or object. The best topic is one that writer has a deep connection with. No matter whether you have a list of wonderful topics or the one your teacher expects to see: brainstorming is the key! I recommend this technique to every student. Once you master brainstorming, it would be easier for you to work in a team within any environment. I like original ideas such as Things to Do in Your City, The Funniest Memory, A Perfect Day with a Favorite Rock Star, Detailed Description of the Self-Invented Food, and more."
Lisa Head, Literature Professor at University College London (UCL)
DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY FORMULA
- Pre-writing stage. Do you have a clear image of the object you’re going to describe? Look at all sources you have on hands to define whether they provide all important information on the topic of your choice. Mind that having an experience in the discussed field would be a plus. Focus on your own senses, taste, smell, and other feelings while recalling your example, and then create an action plan for further writing.
- How to start a descriptive essay? Start writing with a powerful, eye-catching hook to grab the reader's attention: simile, metaphor, literary quote, famous people quotations, poetry lines, interesting facts, jokes, etc.
- Create a draft of your expository essay. You may put all words that come to your mind; you'll have a chance to make your ideas shorter later. It's not enough to tell - show the image of the object with the help of words only. The way you create a mental image for the reader defines your ability to make up a good descriptive essay. It is the quality of a skilled narrator as well.
- Adding details to your essay with the help of enriched English vocabulary and online dictionaries. Use your English language vocabulary to add all missing feelings like hearing to the descriptive essay last Play with adjectives and adverbs. Mind your language when writing a descriptive paper - it must be lyrical to deliver all your feelings in full. Involve many different adjectives.
- Take time to revise and edit the paper with the help of various free online grammar checking tools. Once you have described your vivid place, check the structure of your essay again to answer several critical questions: Can the sentences or paragraphs be arranged in a better way? Are any transition words missing? Put down all sources used to describe your topic; make sure the descriptive essay is following the tutor's instructions in full.
- Edit the descriptive essay. Try to avoid any grammar, spelling, or punctuation mistakes to show how great your knowledge of the language is.
After completing your final descriptive essay draft, it is better to keep in touch with some experts to have the assignment fully checked. You should evaluate your work critically. Proofread and edit the descriptive essay to eliminate or fix any mistakes. You may be interested in adding some details in case you require telling something more about your main object.
- What does a general revision process involve?
- Are there enough details to make it possible for your readers to obtain a full and vivid perception?
- Have you missed any small but significant descriptive details?
- Are there words that convey the emotion, feeling (touch, smell, etc.) or perspective?
- Does your essay possess any unnecessary details in your description which can be thrown away or replaced by the more meaningful information?
- Does each section of your essay focus on one aspect of your description?
- Are all paragraphs arranged in the most efficient way; are they properly connected with the help of corresponding transition words?
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