descriptive essay about a place called home

How to Write a Descriptive Essay about a Place

descriptive essay about a place called home

If you’re not sure what exactly a descriptive essay is and how to write one, you’ve come to the right place. I’m Tutor Phil, and in this tutorial I’ll explain how a descriptive essay works and how to write it, step by step.

We’ll write one together, so you’ll have a great example of a descriptive essay.

What Is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a piece of writing in which the author describes a place, a person, an object, an animal, or a process. The purpose of a descriptive essay is to move the reader to some kind of a revelation, conclusion, or decision about the subject.

It is very important to note that a descriptive essay is not an argumentative essay. You’re not presenting an argument and doing whatever it takes to support it.

In a descriptive essay, your intention should be to describe the subject in such a way that the reader would create her own impression of it. 

At the same time, your essay is not neutral because it is colored by your own perception or experience of the subject. 

In other words, you are implying and suggesting, not blatantly pushing an opinion.

You want to let the reader see, hear, touch, smell, and taste the place you’re describing. And that experience should lead the reader to an appropriate impression or conclusion. 

Writing a Descriptive Essay Is a 6-Step Process

Step 1. choose the subject.

Maybe your instructor has already chosen the subject for you. If not, choose a country, city, or a place within a city or a geographical location that you are familiar with.

Ideally, it is a place that you have been to and have a good memory of it. A descriptive essay about a place should not rely solely on research, in most cases. 

The real value of your essay is that you know that place, and perhaps it has a special meaning for you or evokes feelings that no other place can evoke. 

So, unless you have to write about a specific place where you have never been, choose a location that has a special place in your heart. 

Sometimes, your subject can be a place with which you may have negative associations. But most likely, it is a beloved place that has left an indelible impression on your heart and mind.

Criteria for choosing the place

  • Ideally, this place should be dear to your heart
  • It is unique. It is unlike any other place you’ve ever been to, in at least one or two important ways
  • It has left a strong impression on you
  • Perhaps you learned something there
  • Perhaps something wonderful happened to you there, such as meeting your soulmate or discovering something about yourself
  • Ideally, it has special visual qualities that stand out in contrast to what your audience is probably used to. In other words, being visually striking is a huge plus. 

I’ll give you an example. For me, one particular little spa town in Europe won me over when I first visited it many years ago. Its name is Carlsbad, or Karlovy Vary. The terms are interchangeable. One is of German origin, and the other is native Czech. 

It is located in the western part of Czech Republic, not too far from the German border. It is serene, spectacular, and magical, and I’ll choose it as the subject for our sample descriptive essay. 

By the way, Carlsbad, California was named after Karlovy Vary because of the similar mineral content of the underground waters found in the American cousin city. 

Step 2. Pick an audience

I understand that you’re probably writing this essay to fulfill a requirement for your class. In which case, your audience is your teacher or professor. 

But even if you’re writing for your instructor, you should still have a particular audience in mind because this will help you form ideas and keep your thoughts flowing. 

Knowing your audience will inform your choices of what to include and what to exclude in your descriptive essay because your reader may care about some aspects of this place but not others. 

Criteria for choosing an audience

  • Your ideal reader is someone who is most likely to be interested in this place 
  • It is someone who is likely to enjoy reading your essay 
  • Your ideal audience is also someone who will benefit from reading about this place and derive the most value from it

Let’s come back to our example of Karlovy Vary. As I already mentioned, it is a spa town, which means that its attractiveness lies in its therapeutic qualities. 

I first visited this gem of a town back in 2004 as a result of a real academic and professional burnout. I believe I was still an undergraduate student finishing up my studies, and I also had a stressful job.

I lived in Brooklyn, which is a borough of New York City, and this metropolis is known for its stressful lifestyle. 

New York has all the disadvantages of living in a large city, such as pollution and other stressors that can really suck the life energy out of its dwellers if they are not careful.

I lived in New York for 25 years, and I love this city. I don’t want to come across as totally negative about it. 

But focusing on the negatives about my city in this case will help you see how I am choosing the audience for this essay we’ll be writing together in this tutorial. 

You see, New York City is a direct opposite of Karlovy Vary in several critical ways. 

Establishing a contrast helps define an audience

New York is noisy. Drivers here are notorious for incessant horn honking. And you can hear an ambulance or a police siren probably every 15 minutes or so. 

Conversely, Karlovy Vary is super quiet. Such a crazy hustle and bustle doesn’t exist here, and drivers don’t have a reason to honk the horn all the time. It is also very rare to hear a police or an ambulance siren. 

Air quality in New York is decent for a big city, but it is still relatively polluted . All the millions of cars and trucks produce way too much carbon dioxide. You can actually see the smog from some vantage points. 

The air in Karlovy Vary is virtually pristine. The town is surrounded by hills, and car traffic is not allowed in the city center. 

The landscape in New York is a bit monotonous and often fails to inspire. They don’t call this city “a concrete jungle” for nothing. The overall atmosphere is hardly conducive to a great mood or daily inspiration.

Conversely, Karlovy Vary offers aesthetically pleasing, relaxing, and inspiring architecture and landscape. It’s like entering a spa, only the spa is a whole town. 

Now that we have this contrast, it is easy to see who might be interested in learning more about Karlovy Vary. Our ideal audience is someone who:

  • Lives in a big metropolis, such as NYC or another big city
  • Can relate to being excessively stressed out 
  • Is aware of noise and air pollution
  • Would love an escape to relax and renew, even if only by reading an essay.

So, our essay becomes a sort of a virtual or a fantasy escape until an actual trip becomes possible. 

Your audience might have different challenges, needs, and desires. It could be someone who:

  • Is nostalgic about their childhood and a place associated with it
  • Dreams about a perfect place to live and work
  • Plans a retirement location 

Think of these factors when determining your audience. In the meantime, because we’ve already identified our ideal reader – a stressed out urban dweller – we can move on to the next step.

Step 3. Divide the subject into subtopics

No matter what kind of an essay you’re writing, you want to divide the main topic into subtopics. In other words, you want to create some kind of a structure that will consist of parts. 

I use and teach my students to use the technique I call the Power of Three. 

descriptive essay about a place called home

What this means is that instead of having just one big topic, such as one town, we can have three aspects of this town to discuss.

Incidentally, we already talked about three major differences between NYC and Karlovy Vary. These are noise levels, air quality, and landscape. So, perhaps we can use one or more of these aspects of a city as sections of our essay.

We must keep in mind that we’re not writing a comparative essay , although that’s a possibility, too. 

We’re writing a descriptive essay. So, we need to find three aspects of the town that we can discuss one after another to put together a rich and detailed enough picture of this place.

Note that these three aspects correspond to the senses of hearing, smell, and sight. 

Let’s make a preliminary list of such aspects of Karlovy Vary:

  • Quietness. Does this aspect present an interesting description opportunity? This will depend on our ability to turn it into an asset. 
  • Air quality. This may be too specific. We may want to zoom out a little and discuss more than one natural asset of this city. Some of the others include water quality and the industries associated with it. 
  • Landscape. This is the most conspicuous aspect of this city. The first thing you’re struck with is how beautiful this place really is. This one is definitely a winner.

If we go about writing about these three aspects of Karlovy Vary creatively, we will have three nice sections or paragraphs that will form the body of our essay. 

Note that we’ll probably use more than one sensory perception, such as sight or smell, in each section. We’ll simply use one of three senses as a primary focus in each of our three sections. 

It would make sense to begin the discussion of the city by describing it visually. So, this will be our primary focus in the first section.

Then, we can proceed to the sense of hearing. Why? Because our last section will be about air and water. And we should probably leave those for last because we can hear the water before we can taste it. That’s just the way it works in Karlovy Vary.

So, the primary sense perception in our second section will be hearing. And this section won’t be just about how quiet it is. 

In fact, the real contrast between a big city and Karlovy Vary is the quality of the soundscape, not just the simple quietness, although it’s a part of it. So, we’ll focus on all the little sounds that make this place unique. 

Finally, in the third section or paragraph, we’ll talk about the air and the water, which will correspond to the senses of smell and taste, primarily. 

Again, we’ll be using any sense perceptions we feel necessary to make the reader’s experience as real as possible. 

And now we have our place, we know our audience, and we have our three main ideas about this place that we’ll use to structure the essay. 

We can begin writing, and we’ll start with the opening paragraph. 

Step 4. Write the introduction

An introductory paragraph in a descriptive essay offers you a lot of flexibility in how you choose to write it. 

You can start off with a particular example of a sense perception, drop your reader in the middle of a town square, or begin with an abstract concept. 

I would like to suggest an easy and practical way to do it. In the first sentence or two, pull your reader from the outside world into this particular magical place you’ve chosen to write about.

Then, focus on the place you want to describe and say something general about it that would set the context or provide a perspective. 

And finally, set some kind of an expectation for what’s to follow. You can create a sense of mystery, if you like. Remember, this is not an argumentative essay. So, you have more room for creativity.

This is where we begin to put together our descriptive essay example. Let’s write our introductory paragraph.

Descriptive Essay Introduction

“When the city has worn you down, the body is tired, and the soul yearns for a respite, you can count on a little magic gem of a town that will nourish you back to life. The name of the place is Karlovy Vary, and it is nested in the heart of Europe, in Western Bohemia, a region in Czech Republic famous for its spa towns. Its beautiful architecture, therapeutic landscape, clean air, and mineral waters offer the weary a healing adventure and a feast for the senses.”

What have we done in this paragraph? 

We’ve pulled the reader into the world of this small spa town. We first descended in their world of the stressful city, and then we turned their attention to its opposite. We named the town and explained where it is located. 

And finally, we provided a glimpse of what to expect in this descriptive essay about this town. Now, we’re ready to write the body of the essay. 

Step 5. Write the body of the essay

We know our three main sections, which in this case correspond to three sense perceptions. Each section can have more than one paragraph. It all depends on how long your essay has to be. 

If you are writing an essay of about 500-600 words, then a five-paragraph structure will do the job. If you need to write 2000 words or more, then you’ll have three sections instead of just three paragraphs.

And then each section can also be divided into two or three subsections (using the Power of Three, if you like). And each subsection can be a paragraph or more. 

Just remember – the more words you need, the more dividing into subtopics you must do. The key to writing more is dividing one idea into several supporting ideas. And then you simply treat each supporting idea as a tiny essay. 

If you struggle with essay writing in general or need to brush it up, I recommend you read my tutorial on essay writing for beginners . This would be a great place to turn to next.

Now, let’s write out our body paragraphs. Since there’s quite a bit to cover, we’ll probably take two paragraphs per section to get the job done.

Descriptive essay body paragraphs

“When you stay in one of the pretty little hotels in Karlovy Vary, you are likely to be descending the hills towards the hot springs every morning. No matter which part of town you live in, you’ll be greeted with a magnificent sight of little hotels and spas whose architecture has a unifying 19th century style. At the same time, each building has its own character, color, and features. The town is situated on several hills, and the hotels are lined up along about four levels. 

The first level is down by the river Tepla, and these hotels are only a few because most of the downtown is occupied with hot springs colonnades where people gather and drink hot mineral water. The next three levels ascend from the springs, and you can either take the stairs or even use a funicular that will take you to the highest level to the Hotel Imperial. As you exit your hotel in the morning, you are greeted with a sight of a collection of small, three to four story buildings that look like birthday cakes. They are pink, green, blue, red, turquoise, and any color you can imagine. You suddenly realize how this variety of colors and shapes strewn over the hillsides all facing you and the city center makes your head spin and makes you feel like you’ve never felt before. Your healing has begun with landscape therapy.

As you descend the stairs to reach the hot springs, you notice the abundance of oxygen in the air because it has a subtle but distinct smell, a bit like the way air smells right before a rain. Then, as you pass by another hotel, and you’ll pass more than one, a light whiff of toast and fried eggs with bacon hits you, stirring your appetite. It is customary to drink a cup of hot mineral water before you come back to your hotel for breakfast. It is called a drinking cure. 

As you keep walking towards the geyser and the springs that surround it, you notice another astonishing detail. Nobody is in a rush. Nobody has anywhere to be except right here, right now. Travelers with cute little porcelain cups stroll along without a worry in the world, taking in the sights, the smells, and the sounds of the birds chirping and singing all around. Their serenity infects you. You slow down, too. You begin to look, smell, and listen. This town has got you. 

Karlovy Vary is famous for its healing mineral waters that are known to alleviate gastrointestinal issues. These waters really do have magic powers. You have your little sipping cup with you, and when you reach one of the springs, you wait for your turn to fill it up, walk off, and begin sipping. The water has a very subtle smell, but its taste is pretty strong for water. It has very high mineral content and tastes salty. Most people like the taste. Some find it too strong. But one thing is for sure – by the time you’re about half way through with your cup’s content, your digestive juices have begun to stir. 

The hot springs flow out through several fountains, each with its own intricately detailed colonnade. The mineral content of water bursting out of each fountain is identical. But the temperature of the water varies from really hot to mild and comfortable. Your “spa doctor” actually prescribes which fountains to use and how much to drink. Sipping the water out of a special porcelain cup with a built-in straw-like system is a special pleasure of its own. The point is not to rush but to take about 20 minutes to empty the cup. In the meantime, you have a chance to take in the magnificent serenity that surrounds and infuses you. When you’ve drunk your water, it is time to head back to your hotel and eat breakfast. You repeat this routine three times a day for the duration of your stay. By day three, you are serenity itself. By day fourteen, you are a brand new person.”

Step 6. Write the conclusion

A conclusion in a descriptive essay is, like the introduction, more flexible than a conclusion in an argumentative essay.

You can conclude your essay in any way you really want as long as you observe one rule. Just make sure you zoom out and write in more general terms. 

It is not the time to add specific details and examples. This is the time to wrap things up and end on a general note. 

Your conclusion can be very short – only a couple of sentences. But you can take your space and write as much or as little as you feel like. You can always go back and trim it down or beef it up.

Let’s write our conclusion.

Our Conclusion

“Upon reading this, you may feel that this town is described as some sort of a paradise. And in a way, it is, especially if you are traveling from a big city and carrying a load of accumulated stress. But it’s not until you see, touch, smell, hear, and taste it for yourself that this European jewel will become a part of your entire being forever.”

It’s okay to be a little emotional and perhaps to even exaggerate a little in the concluding paragraph. Just notice that this one is more general than any of the body paragraphs. 

It also touches upon or mentions every sense perception evoked in the body of the essay. 

Your Key Takeaways

  • A descriptive essay is much more flexible and has a lot fewer rules than an argumentative essay.
  • Use the five sense perceptions – sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing – to structure your essay. 
  • You don’t have to organize your essay by sense perceptions. You can divide your place into sections and walk the reader through each one. 
  • You can even structure your essay as a string of paragraphs that describe one particular walk or route, from beginning to end.
  • Our last body paragraph is a description of the process of drinking hot mineral water in Karlovy Vary. It is a perfect example of a description of a process, if you ever want to write that kind of an essay.
  • Don’t persuade but subtly suggest. 
  • Show, don’t tell, whenever you can. 

A Few Scenic Snapshots of Karlovy Vary’s Charm

descriptive essay about a place called home

I hope this was helpful. Now go ahead and write that descriptive essay about a place!

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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Home — Essay Samples — Entertainment — Film Analysis — A Place to Call Home

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A Place to Call Home

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Words: 610 |

Published: Nov 26, 2019

Words: 610 | Page: 1 | 4 min read

Works Cited:

  • Department of Defense. (2018). Report to Congress on Diversity and Inclusion in the Armed Services: Fiscal Year 2017. Retrieved from https://media.defense.gov/2018/Aug/10/2001951949/-1/-1/1/FY2017-DOD-DIVERSITY-AND-INCLUSION-REPORT.PDF
  • Ely, R. J., & Thomas, D. A. (2001). Cultural Diversity at Work: The Effects of Diversity Perspectives on Work Group Processes and Outcomes. Administrative Science Quarterly, 46(2), 229–273.
  • Herring, C. (2009). Does Diversity Pay?: Race, Gender, and the Business Case for Diversity. American Sociological Review, 74(2), 208–224.
  • Morrison, A. M., & Von Glinow, M. A. (1990). Women and minorities in management. American Psychologist, 45(2), 200–208.
  • National Defense University Press. (2017). The Importance of Diversity in the Military. Retrieved from https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/stratperspective/inss/Strategic-Perspectives-28.pdf
  • Parker, A., & Hackett, C. (2011). Diversity in organizations: Where are we now and where are we going? Human Resource Management Review, 21(2), 93–104.
  • Pelled, L. H., Eisenhardt, K. M., & Xin, K. R. (1999). Exploring the Black Box: An Analysis of Work Group Diversity, Conflict, and Performance. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(1), 1–28.
  • Roberson, Q. M. (2007). Disentangling the Meanings of Diversity and Inclusion in Organizations. Group & Organization Management, 32(3), 371–390.
  • Thomas, D. A. (1990). The Influence of Race and Racial Identity in Psychotherapy: Toward a Racially Inclusive Model. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 27(2), 190–196.
  • Worley, J. A. (2005). Diversity Management in the U.S. Army: What is it and Where is it Headed? Retrieved from https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA436931.pdf

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descriptive essay about a place called home

My Home Essay

500 words on my home essay.

A home is a place that gives comfort to everyone. It is because a home is filled with love and life. Much like every lucky person, I also have a home and a loving family. Through My Home Essay, I will take you through what my home is like and how much it means to me.

my home essay

A Place I Call Home

My home is situated in the city. It is not too big nor too small, just the perfect size. My family lives in the home. It comprises of my father, mother, sister and grandparents. We live in our ancestral home so my home is very vintage.

It is very old but remains to be super strong. There are six rooms in my home. Each family member has a unique room which they have decorated as per their liking. For instance, my elder sister is a big fan of music, so her walls are filled with posters of musicians like BTS, RM, and more.

Our drawing room is a large one with a high ceiling. We still use the vintage sofa set which my grandmother got as a wedding gift. Similarly, there is a vintage TV and radio which she uses till date.

Adjoining the drawing room is my bedroom. It is my favourite room because it contains everything that I love. I have a pet guinea pig which lives in a cage in my room. We also have a storeroom which is filled with things we don’t use but also cannot discard.

Our lawn in front of the house has a little garden. In that garden , my mother is growing her own kitchen garden. She is passionate about it and brings different seeds every month to grow them out and use them in our food.

The fondest memories I have in a place is my terrace. Our terrace is huge with many plants. I remember all the good times we have spent there as a family. Moreover, we play there a lot when my cousins come over. Thus, every nook and corner of my home is special to me.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Appreciation Towards My Home

I know a lot of people who do not have homes or not as big as mine. It makes me more grateful and appreciates my home more. Not everyone gets the fortune to have a good home and a loving family, but luckily, I have been blessed with both.

I am thankful for my home because when I grow up, I can look back at the wonderful memories I made here. The walk down the memory lane will be a sweet one because of the safety and security my home has given me. It is indeed an ideal home.

Conclusion of My Home Essay

My home is important to me because for better or worse, it helps me belong. It makes me understand my place in time and connect with the world and the universe at large. Thus, I am grateful to have a place I can call home.

FAQ on My Home Essay

Question 1: What is the importance of a home?

Answer 1: Home offers us security, belonging and privacy in addition to other essential things. Most importantly, it gives us a place with a centring where we leave every morning and long to return every night .

Question 2: Why is home important to a family?

Answer 2: A home signifies a lot more than a house. It is because we find comfort in our home as it contains memories and a place where our bonds strengthen. It is where we get plenty of benefits.

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  • How to write a descriptive essay | Example & tips

How to Write a Descriptive Essay | Example & Tips

Published on July 30, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 14, 2023.

A descriptive essay gives a vivid, detailed description of something—generally a place or object, but possibly something more abstract like an emotion. This type of essay , like the narrative essay , is more creative than most academic writing .

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Table of contents

Descriptive essay topics, tips for writing descriptively, descriptive essay example, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about descriptive essays.

When you are assigned a descriptive essay, you’ll normally be given a specific prompt or choice of prompts. They will often ask you to describe something from your own experience.

  • Describe a place you love to spend time in.
  • Describe an object that has sentimental value for you.

You might also be asked to describe something outside your own experience, in which case you’ll have to use your imagination.

  • Describe the experience of a soldier in the trenches of World War I.
  • Describe what it might be like to live on another planet.

Sometimes you’ll be asked to describe something more abstract, like an emotion.

If you’re not given a specific prompt, try to think of something you feel confident describing in detail. Think of objects and places you know well, that provoke specific feelings or sensations, and that you can describe in an interesting way.

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The key to writing an effective descriptive essay is to find ways of bringing your subject to life for the reader. You’re not limited to providing a literal description as you would be in more formal essay types.

Make use of figurative language, sensory details, and strong word choices to create a memorable description.

Use figurative language

Figurative language consists of devices like metaphor and simile that use words in non-literal ways to create a memorable effect. This is essential in a descriptive essay; it’s what gives your writing its creative edge and makes your description unique.

Take the following description of a park.

This tells us something about the place, but it’s a bit too literal and not likely to be memorable.

If we want to make the description more likely to stick in the reader’s mind, we can use some figurative language.

Here we have used a simile to compare the park to a face and the trees to facial hair. This is memorable because it’s not what the reader expects; it makes them look at the park from a different angle.

You don’t have to fill every sentence with figurative language, but using these devices in an original way at various points throughout your essay will keep the reader engaged and convey your unique perspective on your subject.

Use your senses

Another key aspect of descriptive writing is the use of sensory details. This means referring not only to what something looks like, but also to smell, sound, touch, and taste.

Obviously not all senses will apply to every subject, but it’s always a good idea to explore what’s interesting about your subject beyond just what it looks like.

Even when your subject is more abstract, you might find a way to incorporate the senses more metaphorically, as in this descriptive essay about fear.

Choose the right words

Writing descriptively involves choosing your words carefully. The use of effective adjectives is important, but so is your choice of adverbs , verbs , and even nouns.

It’s easy to end up using clichéd phrases—“cold as ice,” “free as a bird”—but try to reflect further and make more precise, original word choices. Clichés provide conventional ways of describing things, but they don’t tell the reader anything about your unique perspective on what you’re describing.

Try looking over your sentences to find places where a different word would convey your impression more precisely or vividly. Using a thesaurus can help you find alternative word choices.

  • My cat runs across the garden quickly and jumps onto the fence to watch it from above.
  • My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above.

However, exercise care in your choices; don’t just look for the most impressive-looking synonym you can find for every word. Overuse of a thesaurus can result in ridiculous sentences like this one:

  • My feline perambulates the allotment proficiently and capers atop the palisade to regard it from aloft.

An example of a short descriptive essay, written in response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” is shown below.

Hover over different parts of the text to see how a descriptive essay works.

On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.

My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.

With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…

Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

If you’re not given a specific prompt for your descriptive essay , think about places and objects you know well, that you can think of interesting ways to describe, or that have strong personal significance for you.

The best kind of object for a descriptive essay is one specific enough that you can describe its particular features in detail—don’t choose something too vague or general.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2023, August 14). How to Write a Descriptive Essay | Example & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/descriptive-essay/

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How To Write A Descriptive Essay About A Place (Step By Step)

Table of Contents

Descriptive essay about a place

Descriptive essay focus on specific details about an object, a place or an event. It presents an object to the reader using vivid language for the reader to have a mental picture  of what the writer is describing. When composing a detailed essay about a particular place,  the paper needs to present clear descriptions about the location to the reader. Writing an essay about a familiar place gives the writer  an opportunity to present his personal experience and feelings the place invokes in him.

How to start a descriptive essay

Before presenting the beautiful scenery, the author needs to  be observant of the surroundings because the essay would require detailed explanations and the vibrant experiences about the place.  The author needs to identify all the important items that make the place worth describing. A good essay should be based on personal experience whereby the author can easily reflect about his experience.

The first step of developing an essay is to start with a brief introduction, a descriptive introduction would determine whether the reader would want to continue reading the article or not. The author needs to use words that would attract the reader’s attention at the beginning of the essay. An introduction should start with a strong statement, and in the end, the writer needs to present the thesis statement by relating it to what is being described. The thesis statement reveals why the place is important to the author.

A good introduction can start with an anecdote, the author can narrate an interesting story to heighten the reader’s curiosity. A good anecdote sets a good tone for the essay and acts as a transition sentence  from the introduction to the body of the essay. An introductory paragraph needs to mention the name, the exact address, and other exciting things that makes to reader wants to  visit  the location.

How to write main part

The essay body should express  feelings, the taste, the smell, the sights and sounds of the place. The author describes the different aspects of the location for the reader to develop a  mental picture of how the place looks like.  For instance, when describing your grandmother’s home, the body essay describes how beautiful the place looks like, including the lovely trees, her tasty cookies, the most soil around the nearby river,  the dishes clicking in the kitchen and how you feel the about the particles of the wood on the staircase. The author can also talk about the people living nearby and any unique features around the home .

Apart from detailed descriptions, the author needs to reflect about the place and make important connections to it. For instance, the essay needs to highlight why  the place is a  safe haven from everyday stress. The author can also present some of the feeling associated with the location, this will make the readers aware why the place is important to the author.

How to conclude a descriptive essay

The concluding paragraph should rephrase the inspiration of the essay providing detail and personal feelings and also make recommendations for the readers. A good conclusion should describe why the place is significant. Even though the descriptive language used can provoke the reader’s emotion, the audience wants to know why the author spent a lot of time describing the place. Apart from just highlighting the good experience about the place, a good conclusion explains the significance of the essay theme.  The conclusion simply confirms to the audience what was already presented,  but using selected sensory language for the readers to believe that the place is amazing. A good paper should end on a strong note, leaving the audience feeling satisfied in the concluding paragraph. A good descriptive essay should create excitement for its readers.

Outline example

Introduction

  • Hook sentence  with detailed descriptions that grabs the reader’s attention
  • Brief background  about the  place
  • Sensory descriptions of the place.

Body paragraph

  • Topic sentence  that  supports the thesis statement
  • Describe the place  by the name and the exact location
  • Description about the feelings the place invokes
  • Provide additional sensory descriptions about the place, including the surrounding areas.
  • Opening sentence  justifying why the place is significant
  • The facts that support the descriptions using attractive descriptions.
  • Explain intensely about the place
  • Describe the important details  for the readers
  • Present emotional background
  • Present the author’s emotional  response based on the place being described.
  • Expand  the feelings described in the above paragraphs
  • Provide additional  emotional details  using a decisive factor statement
  • Restate the feeling of the location.
  • Restate the main thesis ideas  described in the paragraphs
  • Repeat to the reader why this particular location is important
  • Review the major things  that the author vividly recalls
  • The feeling and the difference the location makes in the author’s life.

descriptive essay about a place called home

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How to Write a Descriptive Essay About a Place

You can compose a well-written descriptive essay that conveys a clear image of a location to the reader. A descriptive essay is traditionally divided into three or more paragraphs that make up the introduction, body and conclusion. Writing a descriptive essay about a place you have visited gives you the opportunity to convey a personal perspective or feeling about the subject location. Transport readers with descriptive and concise words that impart your own vision of a place.

Write an introduction paragraph in the present tense that accurately describes what motivated you to select this particular place for the descriptive essay. The paragraph must be at least two sentences and explicitly mention the full name of the location. Mention things you know are exciting about the place if the location was assigned and not chosen.

Compose an essay body of one to five paragraphs that conveys the sights, sounds, smells, feeling and tastes of the subject place. Choose clear adjectives that describe these various aspects of a place so they are recognizable to readers who have been there and are understandable to readers who have not.

Include a conclusion paragraph that briefly restates the inspiration for the essay and details any personal feelings, memories or visitor recommendations about the place. This section is the individual writer's chance to clearly spell out her overall impression of the location.

Proofread the first draft to make any grammar or spelling corrections and trim any extraneous information that is not pertinent to the location. Type or rewrite the final draft according to the details of the assignment.

  • Look for examples of descriptive essays about locations in travel literature and online to see the format executed successfully.
  • See the link in Resources for an example.
  • Describing a well-known location from memory may lead to mistakes that cause the reader to discredit the essay. Use pictures of the place to keep your memories in line with the facts.

Things You'll Need

  • Write Express: How to Write a Descriptive Essay by Jesse Seldess
  • InfoPlease: Homework Center -- Writing Skills Descriptive Essays

Jeffrey Brian Airman is a writer, musician and food blogger. A 15-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Airman has used his experience to cover food, restaurants, cooking and do-it-yourself projects. Airman also studied nursing at San Diego State University.

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Think of the last time you were completely captivated by a good story. What made it so enthralling? What caused it to take your attention from everything else? Most likely, it was the author’s use of descriptive language that helped you feel like you were actually a part of the story. You could probably imagine what it would have looked or felt like to be in each place the book described. Descriptive essays do much the same thing. They’re essays meant to engage the readers to paint a descriptive picture of the words on paper.

Let's say you are assigned to write a descriptive essay about a place, and you’re wondering where to begin. How do you make sure your essay is captivating, and passes with flying colors? In this blog, we’ll show you exactly how to write an all-star descriptive essay about a place, by covering the steps involved in writing, and the elements of how to write a great descriptive essay.

First, we will review the purpose of descriptive essays, then discuss why they are important, and we will end by sharing pro writing tips to help find the right words.

What are descriptive essays?

The goal of a descriptive essay is to be captivating, including sensory-oriented details of a person, place, experience, or object. Include this in your essay and the reader's imagination will go wherever is being described. These essays accomplish this by using vivid language, specific adjectives, and clear explanations so that the reader can personally relate. Descriptive essays are written so that readers can imagine and understand the feelings, sensations, visualizations, and sounds the author is describing.

Related how-to guide— How to write a narrative essay .

Why are descriptive essays important?

A detailed description helps readers empathize with your experience and, as an author, you can communicate this meaning. This is important because much of our academic and professional success depends on our ability to clearly, and specifically, communicate our experiences to others. We may not be writing a descriptive essay each time we communicate our experiences, but writing descriptive essays definitely strengthen our ability to convey specific details in compelling ways.

How to Use the Five Senses in an Essay | Ultius

For example, writing a descriptive essay about a place can strengthen your ability to communicate your work expertise to your next potential employer; or to write your life experiences in a compelling way in your next scholarship essay (learn how to write a scholarship essay ).

Perhaps you’d like to write your own book some day or craft your own advertising campaigns using your business degree—both of which are more successful when the reader can empathize with your writing. You’ll use descriptive language to succeed at both!

Choosing a descriptive essay topic

Descriptive essays can be written about many topics. One of the most common assignments you may receive is to write a descriptive essay about a place. Here are a few descriptive writing example topics you might choose:

Who writes descriptive essays?

Being able to write well is a skill for any career you're pursuing whether it be business, arts, marketing, education, or even medicine!

Students in these areas will be assigned to write a descriptive essay at some point during their high school or undergraduate careers:

  • Language arts students
  • Literature and cultural studies students
  • Social studies students
  • Psychology students

Finding the right words for an engaging essay can be challenging. Plus, many students are pressed for time, juggling work, family, and extracurricular activities on top of trying to complete assignments. If you can identify, this blog will help get you started.

Find words that paint a picture

When your future career depends on it, you want to feel confident and proud of your work instead of overwhelmed by it. Practicing smart time management and finding the writing help you need, when you need it, is important.

Elements of a great descriptive essay

Before we dive into how to write a descriptive essay, let’s review some key elements that will help you paint a picture in writing:

Clear organization

Effective descriptive essays are clearly organized. In other words, the reader is able to easily understand why she or he is reading the essay, the place the essay will describe, and what the purpose of the description is. This is accomplished by organizing the essay into and introduction, body and conclusion.

Introduction: A captivating hook

The opening of your essay is one of the most important parts because it interests readers. Start with a captivating introductory paragraph. One way to do this is by using anecdotes to grab readers’ attention. Anecdotes are short stories that can be used literally or metaphorically to help readers relate to what you’re going to write about.

For example, an anecdote that opens an essay with descriptive words about what it’s like to be working in the middle of busy production factory might read:

“Imagine every appliance in your house is turned on—your vacuum cleaner, your blender, your fans—and imagine on top of all that, you hear airplanes and helicopters flying overhead and cars buzzing by outside. Meanwhile, you’re trying to focus on your tasks…”

This type of anecdote accomplishes two key things: First, it engages the reader and helps them personally relate to your essay by asking them to imagine. Second, it immediately clarifies the type of place you’re going to write about.

Build your essay with strong imagery. Capture the time, date, weather, and mood of the place.

The introduction paragraph should end by explaining the place the rest of the essay is going to describe and why. This includes any key setting logistics like time, specific location, and who’s involved.

Body: Full of specifics and adjectives

Anecdotes are also helpful in the body paragraphs of a descriptive essay, for the same reasons noted above. The body of a great descriptive essay about a place should be packed full of vivid, sensory language. During the body of a descriptive essay, the reader gains a clear image and understanding of the place being described, as if he or she were actually there. To accomplish this, the body paragraphs use descriptive adjectives and colorful phrases such as, “The chaotic, clashing noise was deafening,” or, “The scent of freshly fallen rain cleansed the sunlit air, and I could see the horizon for miles.”

Correct vs Incorrect Adjective | Ultius

Use one or two strong adjectives to convey descriptions in your sentences. This creates a flow throughout the entire essay. Be sure to note, not every sentence requires an adjective or adverb.

If you’re having trouble with finding adjectives and adverbs, use strong action verbs instead.

Conclusion: Reminding readers of the meaning

Just as the introduction of a descriptive essay previews what place will be written about and why, the conclusion reminds readers of what was just described and why it’s important. The key is to not sound redundant. For instance, while the introductory paragraph hooks readers and then tells them what they can expect to read, the conclusion summarizes what was written and leaves readers with thought-provoking ideas to consider, helping them to understand how the essay may relate to their lives, or why it’s important to the reader.

Revisiting the production factory introduction example, the same essay’s conclusion may summarize with a statement highlighting the essay’s takeaways, such as, “The chaos and noise of the factory made it difficult to focus, but after working there for five years, I learned how to overcome that challenge. Now I can focus in even the most noisy of places.”

Steps to writing a great descriptive essay

1) choose a topic.

Depending on the purpose of your descriptive essay assignment, you may have varying flexibility in terms of what place you can choose to write about. Nonetheless, try to choose a topic that vividly stands out in your memory. The more you can remember about a place and how it felt, the better your descriptive paper is likely to be. For example, if you’re assignment asks you to write about a place you’ve traveled to, what destination comes to mind first? Perhaps it’s a foreign country. Or, if you haven’t traveled much, it could even be a different town.

Brainstorming techniques | Ultius

2) Observe the details

If you’re writing about a place you’re currently at or can easily visit, spend time observing the details. Watch what the scenery looks like, including colors and objects. What sounds do you hear? What’s the temperature? What scents do you notice? How do you feel being there? All these questions will help guide your descriptive flow writing process (step six).

If you’re writing about a place you visited in the past, ask yourself the same questions. Perhaps look at old photos to jog your memory. Finally, if you’re asked to describe a place you’ve never been, use your imagination to answer similar questions. The more time you take to list details about what your place feels like, the easier the next steps will be.

3) Understand why your place is important

Ask yourself why you think it is important to share this with your readers. Having a clear understanding of your essays’ importance will not only help you write your introduction and conclusion, but it will also help you stay focused on describing the details that matter most.

4) Outline and organize your writing

Now it’s time to begin the actual descriptive writing process by organizing your ideas into an outline . Your outline doesn’t have to be formal; just a simple numbered list of points to include in your introduction, body and conclusion will suffice. This will guide your writing process and keep you focused.

5) Start with the introduction

Remember step number one and three, “your topic ” and “why your place is important?” Those are the two main highlights you’ll want to make clear in your introductory paragraph. When writing your introduction, be sure it explains what you’re about to describe and why you’re going to write about it.

6) Write the body in free-flow style

The body paragraph of your essay can sometimes be the most difficult part, depending on length, a great way to start is by free-flow writing. This means that you simply start writing your detailed description of the place you’re writing about, without editing or analyzing as you write. This often helps to overcome writer’s block while making sure that all the critical details you jotted down in step two, “observe the details,” get down on paper and into the body of your essay. You’ll be able to go back later and edit the body of your paper for organization, flow and grammar. As long as you start your free-flow within the bullet points of the outline you created, the process will be relatively simple and easy.

7) Revise the body of your essay

Now it’s time to go back and be sure all the free-flow writing you just did is clear, makes sense and follows your original outline. You may need to re-arrange a few sentences or even paragraphs. This is also a great time to check for spelling and grammar errors.

Next, read the body paragraph of your essay and pretend you’re someone else reading it for the first time. How does it sound? Does it make sense and flow? If not, ask yourself what would make your descriptions more understandable for the reader. Finally, remember that not every sentence of your descriptive essay needs to sound fancy, artistic, or be long. Vary your sentence length, breaking up long sentences with short sentences to make reading easier. Use exciting language, but don’t over-do it or adjectives will lose their power.

8) Finish your essay strong

Writing a strong conclusion is key to leaving a lasting impression with your readers. A great way to conclude your descriptive essay about a place is to reiterate, in a new way, how the place you’re describing impacted you and why you believe it’s important. You can also describe what you hope readers may learn from your essay.

9) Proofread your work

You can never re-read your essay too many times. Proofread your work at least twice for spelling and grammar errors. It’s often helpful to read your writing out loud, since that slows the reading process and helps us catch errors we may otherwise overlook.

Steps for writing a narrative essay | Ultius

Also, don’t be afraid to ask a friend to proof your work. If you’re still stuck or need help, the writing center has tons of resources just for you like expert advice, essay examples, and more.

Final words of wisdom

Like what you read? Check out our guide on how to write a persuasive essay .

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Descriptive Essays

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

What is a descriptive essay?

The descriptive essay is a genre of essay that asks the student to describe something—object, person, place, experience, emotion, situation, etc. This genre encourages the student’s ability to create a written account of a particular experience. What is more, this genre allows for a great deal of artistic freedom (the goal of which is to paint an image that is vivid and moving in the mind of the reader).

One might benefit from keeping in mind this simple maxim: If the reader is unable to clearly form an impression of the thing that you are describing, try, try again!

Here are some guidelines for writing a descriptive essay.

  • Take time to brainstorm

If your instructor asks you to describe your favorite food, make sure that you jot down some ideas before you begin describing it. For instance, if you choose pizza, you might start by writing down a few words: sauce, cheese, crust, pepperoni, sausage, spices, hot, melted, etc. Once you have written down some words, you can begin by compiling descriptive lists for each one.

  • Use clear and concise language.

This means that words are chosen carefully, particularly for their relevancy in relation to that which you are intending to describe.

  • Choose vivid language.

Why use horse when you can choose stallion ? Why not use tempestuous instead of violent ? Or why not miserly in place of cheap ? Such choices form a firmer image in the mind of the reader and often times offer nuanced meanings that serve better one’s purpose.

  • Use your senses!

Remember, if you are describing something, you need to be appealing to the senses of the reader. Explain how the thing smelled, felt, sounded, tasted, or looked. Embellish the moment with senses.

  • What were you thinking?!

If you can describe emotions or feelings related to your topic, you will connect with the reader on a deeper level. Many have felt crushing loss in their lives, or ecstatic joy, or mild complacency. Tap into this emotional reservoir in order to achieve your full descriptive potential.

  • Leave the reader with a clear impression.

One of your goals is to evoke a strong sense of familiarity and appreciation in the reader. If your reader can walk away from the essay craving the very pizza you just described, you are on your way to writing effective descriptive essays.

  • Be organized!

It is easy to fall into an incoherent rambling of emotions and senses when writing a descriptive essay. However, you must strive to present an organized and logical description if the reader is to come away from the essay with a cogent sense of what it is you are attempting to describe.

What is a Descriptive Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

What is a Descriptive Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)

A descriptive essay is a type of creative writing that uses specific language to depict a person, object, experience, or event. The idea is to use illustrative language to show readers what the writer wants to convey – it could be as simple as a peaceful view from the top of a hill or as horrific as living in a war zone. By using descriptive language, authors can evoke a mental image in the readers’ minds, engaging readers and leaving a lasting impression, instead of just providing a play-by-play narrative.

Note that a description and descriptive essay are not the same thing. A descriptive essay typically consists of five or more well-written paragraphs with vivid imagery that can help readers visualize the content, as opposed to a description, which is typically one or more plain paragraphs with no particular structure or appeal. If you are still unsure about how to write a compelling descriptive essay, continue reading!

Table of Contents

What is a descriptive essay, types of descriptive essay topics.

  • Characteristics of descriptive essays

How to write a descriptive essay using a structured outline

Frequently asked questions.

A simple descriptive essay definition is that it is a piece of writing that gives a thorough and vivid description of an object, person, experience, or situation. It is sometimes focused more on the emotional aspect of the topic rather than the specifics. The author’s intention when writing a descriptive essay is to help readers visualize the subject at hand. Generally, students are asked to write a descriptive essay to test their ability to recreate a rich experience with artistic flair. Here are a few key points to consider when you begin writing these.

  • Look for a fascinating subject

You might be assigned a topic for your descriptive essay, but if not, you must think of a subject that interests you and about which you know enough facts. It might be about an emotion, place, event, or situation that you might have experienced.

descriptive essay about a place called home

  • Acquire specific details about the topic

The next task is to collect relevant information about the topic of your choice. You should focus on including details that make the descriptive essay stand out and have a long-lasting impression on the readers. To put it simply, your aim is to make the reader feel as though they were a part of the experience in the first place, rather than merely describing the subject.

  • Be playful with your writing

To make the descriptive essay memorable, use figurative writing and imagery to lay emphasis on the specific aspect of the topic. The goal is to make sure that the reader experiences the content visually, so it must be captivating and colorful. Generally speaking, “don’t tell, show”! This can be accomplished by choosing phrases that evoke strong emotions and engage a variety of senses. Making use of metaphors and similes will enable you to compare different things. We will learn about them in the upcoming sections.

  • Capture all the different senses

Unlike other academic articles, descriptive essay writing uses sensory elements in addition to the main idea. In this type of essay writing, the topic is described by using sensory details such as smell, taste, feel, and touch. Example “ Mahira feels most at home when the lavender scent fills her senses as she lays on her bed after a long, tiring day at work . As the candle melts , so do her worries” . It is crucial to provide sensory details to make the character more nuanced and build intrigue to keep the reader hooked. Metaphors can also be employed to explain abstract concepts; for instance, “ A small act of kindness creates ripples that transcend oceans .” Here the writer used a metaphor to convey the emotion that even the smallest act of kindness can have a larger impact.

  • Maintain harmony between flavor and flow

The descriptive essay format is one that can be customized according to the topic. However, like other types of essays, it must have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The number of body paragraphs can vary depending on the topic and available information.

It is crucial to remember that a descriptive essay should have a specific topic and goal, such as sharing personal experiences or expressing emotions like the satisfaction of a good meal. This is accomplished by employing exact language, imagery, and figurative language to illustrate concrete features. These language devices allow the writer to craft a descriptive essay that effectively transmits a particular mood, feeling, or incident to readers while also conjuring up strong mental imagery. A descriptive essay may be creative, or it may be based on the author’s own experiences. Below is a description of a few descriptive essay examples that fit into these categories.

  • Personal descriptive essay example

A personal essay can look like a descriptive account of your favorite activity, a place in your neighborhood, or an object that you value. Example: “ As I step out of the front door, the crisp morning air greets me with a gentle embrace; the big chestnut tree in front, sways in the wind as if saying hello to me. The world unfolds in a symphony of awakening colors, promising a day filled with untold possibilities that make me feel alive and grateful to be born again”.

  • Imaginative descriptive essay example

You may occasionally be required to write descriptive essays based on your imagination or on subjects unrelated to your own experiences. The prompts for these kinds of creative essays could be to describe the experience of someone going through heartbreak or to write about a day in the life of a barista. Imaginative descriptive essays also allow you to describe different emotions. Example, the feelings a parent experiences on holding their child for the first time.

Characteristics of descriptive essay s

The aim of a descriptive essay is to provide a detailed and vivid description of a person, place, object, event, or experience. The main goal is to create a sensory experience for the reader. Through a descriptive essay, the reader may be able to experience foods, locations, activities, or feelings that they might not otherwise be able to. Additionally, it gives the writer a way to relate to the readers by sharing a personal story. The following is a list of the essential elements of a descriptive essay:

  • Sensory details
  • Clear, succinct language
  • Organized structure
  • Thesis statement
  • Appeal to emotion

descriptive essay about a place called home

How to write a descriptive essay, with examples

Writing an engaging descriptive essay is all about bringing the subject matter to life for the reader so they can experience it with their senses—smells, tastes, and textures. The upside of writing a descriptive essay is you don’t have to stick to the confinements of formal essay writing, rather you are free to use a figurative language, with sensory details, and clever word choices that can breathe life to your descriptive essay. Let’s take a closer look at how you can use these components to develop a descriptive essay that will stand out, using examples.

  • Figurative language

Have you ever heard the expression “shooting for the stars”? It refers to pushing someone to strive higher or establish lofty goals, but it does not actually mean shooting for the stars. This is an example of using figurative language for conveying strong motivational emotions. In a descriptive essay, figurative language is employed to grab attention and emphasize points by creatively drawing comparisons and exaggerations. But why should descriptive essays use metaphorical language? One it adds to the topic’s interest and humor; two, it facilitates the reader’s increased connection to the subject.

These are the five most often used figurative language techniques: personification, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, and allusion.

  • Simile: A simile is a figure of speech that is used to compare two things while emphasizing and enhancing the description using terms such as “like or as.”

Example: Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving – Albert Einstein

  • Metaphor: A metaphor are also used to draw similarities, but without using direct or literal comparisons like done in similes.   

Example: Books are the mirrors of the soul – Virginia Woolf, Between the acts

  • Personification: This is the process of giving nonhuman or abstract objects human traits. Any human quality, including an emotional component, a physical attribute, or an action, can be personified.

Example: Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world – Louis Pasteur

  • Hyperbole: This is an extreme form of exaggeration, frequently impractical, and usually employed to emphasize a point or idea. It gives the character more nuance and complexity.

Example: The force will be with you, always – Star Wars

  • Allusion: This is when you reference a person, work, or event without specifically mentioning them; this leaves room for the reader’s creativity.  

Example: In the text below, Robert Frost uses the biblical Garden of Eden as an example to highlight the idea that nothing, not even paradise, endures forever.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay

– Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost (1923)

Descriptive essays need a combination of figurative language and strong sensory details to make the essay more memorable. This is when authors describe the subject matter employing senses like smell, sound, touch, and taste so that the reader can relate to it better.

Example of a sensory-based descriptive essay: The earthy fragrance of freshly roasted chestnuts and the sight of bright pink, red, orange fallen leaves on the street reminded her that winter was around the corner.

  • Word choice

Word choice is everything in a descriptive essay. For the description to be enchanting, it is essential to utilize the right adjectives and to carefully consider the verbs, nouns, and adverbs. Use unusual terms and phrases that offer a new viewpoint on your topic matter instead of overusing clichés like “fast as the wind” or “lost track of time,” which can make your descriptive essay seem uninteresting and unoriginal.

See the following examples:

Bad word choice: I was so happy because the sunset was really cool.

Good word choice: I experienced immense joy as the sunset captivated me with its remarkable colors and breathtaking beauty.

  • Descriptive essay format and outline

Descriptive essay writing does not have to be disorganized, it is advisable to use a structured format to organize your thoughts and ensure coherent flow in your writing. Here is a list of components that should be a part of your descriptive essay outline:

  • Introduction
  • Opening/hook sentence
  • Topic sentence
  • Body paragraphs
  • Concrete details
  • Clincher statement

descriptive essay about a place called home

Introduction:

  • Hook: An opening statement that captures attention while introducing the subject.
  • Background: Includes a brief overview of the topic the descriptive essay is based on.
  • Thesis statement: Clearly states the main point or purpose of the descriptive essay.

Body paragraphs: Each paragraph should have

  • Topic sentence: Introduce the first aspect or feature you will describe. It informs the reader about what is coming next.
  • Sensory details: Use emphatic language to appeal to the reader’s senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell).
  • Concrete details: These are actual details needed to understand the context of the descriptive essay.
  • Supporting details: Include relevant information or examples to improve the description.

Conclusion:

  • Summarize key points: Here you revisit the main features or aspects of the subject.
  • Restate thesis statement: Reinforce the central impression or emotion.
  • Clincher statement: Conclude with a statement that summarizes the entire essay and serve as the last words with a powerful message.

Revision and editing:

  • Go over your essay to make sure it is coherent, clear, and consistent.
  • Check for logical paragraph transitions by proofreading the content.
  • Examine text to ensure correct grammar, punctuation, and style.
  • Use the thesaurus or AI paraphrasing tools to find the right words.

A descriptive essay often consists of three body paragraphs or more, an introduction that concludes with a thesis statement, and a conclusion that summarizes the subject and leaves a lasting impression on readers.

A descriptive essay’s primary goal is to captivate the reader by writing a thorough and vivid explanation of the subject matter, while appealing to their various senses. A list of additional goals is as follows: – Spark feeling and imagination – Create a vivid experience – Paint a mental picture – Pique curiosity – Convey a mood or atmosphere – Highlight specific details

Although they both fall within the creative writing category, narrative essays and descriptive essays have different storytelling focuses. While the main goal of a narrative essay is to tell a story based on a real-life experience or a made-up event, the main goal of a descriptive essay is to vividly describe a person, location, event, or emotion.

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How to Write a Descriptive Essay

How to Write a Descriptive Essay

descriptive essay about a place called home

This could be something as simple as your favorite flavor of ice cream or as complicated as the politics of 13th century Vienna. Different than a simple description, a descriptive essay allows the writer to really show off both their imagination as well as their writing skills.

What is a Descriptive Essay?

A descriptive essay is a type of academic writing that asks the writer to fully describe a place, person, situation, event, or thing. They can be simple or they can be very complex depending on the subject matter and audience written for. These types of essays train a writer’s ability to express themselves accurately as well as build compelling sentences and arguments.

Descriptive Essay Ideas

There is no exhaustive list of things that can be described, but these are some of the most common things you may be asked to write about. 

A Location - The goal of writing about a place is to make the reader feel as if they are there. Words, similes, and metaphors that ignite the reader’s imagination are essential. Try and immerse the reader in the sights, smells, and sounds of the place you are describing. Examples could be a city, a view, a particular building like your house, etc. 

A Time Period - Similar to writing about a location, the goal is to make the reader lose themselves in the time you are describing. This requires great research to be able to describe physical characteristics as authentically and as well as possible. This could include how you felt a year ago, an ancient time period, or the future.

An Event - The goal of describing an event is to explain a series of interesting circumstances. Typical storytelling elements like describing the plot, setting, and characters are useful, but make sure you focus on the chain of events.

An Emotion - The goal of describing an emotion is to make the reader feel the sentiments of the character you are describing. Metaphors and similes are very useful when trying to evoke an emotion in a reader along with physical descriptions that express the emotion. 

A Person - The goal of writing about a person is to make the reader understand something about that person. This includes physical descriptions of what they look like, what kind of clothing they wear, a sense of the physical presence along with their profession,  as well as how they behave. 

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Descriptive Essay Outline and Structure

Though a descriptive type of essay is quite different from a typical academic paper, it still follows a classic 5 paragraph format. Always follow any directions though, sometimes you may need more or fewer body paragraphs. This is a general structure you should keep in mind for this type of essay.

Introduction

  • Introduction/background information

Body Paragraphs

  • Topic Sentence
  • Sensory Information
  • Physical Descriptions
  • Transition Sentence
  • Summary of the main points
  • Restate the thesis

An outline is always a good idea for any kind of writing, but it is particularly useful for this type of essay because it collects your thoughts and makes sure your essay stays on track. 

Introduction 
  • Hook - The sting of salty water, the hypnotic crash of the waves, the breathtaking sunsets, the best vacation spot?
  • Background information - Everyone is different and everyone likes different types of things. When it comes to vacations though, there is a place that almost everyone enjoys.
  • Thesis - In my opinion, the beach is the best possible vacation spot because of the variety of ways one can enjoy it. 
Body Paragraph 1 
  • Topic Sentence - The beach has many kinds of natural beauty
  • Sensory information - The unlimited expanse of the ocean combined with glorious sunrises and sunsets.
  • Physical descriptions -The crunch of sand below your bare feet and the crash of waves on your body.
  • Transition sentence - There’s more than just natural beauty though, there are physical activities to enjoy as well 
Body Paragraph 2
  • Topic Sentence - The beach has unlimited activities for physical enjoyment.
  • Sensory information - The thrill of battling with the ocean, the joy of falling on the sand, the wind streaming through your hair, and the pleasant tingling of the sun on bare skin.
  • Physical descriptions - Water sports like surfing, jet skiing, and the like allow you to exercise in one of the most fun ways possible. Not to mention sports like frisbee, volleyball, beach soccer, and more.
  • Transition sentence - If you just want to relax, the beach is perfect for that too!
Body Paragraph 3
  • Topic Sentence - The beach is ideal just to relax, destress, and take it easy. 
  • Sensory information - To relax as you are massaged by either human hands or the sun is a pleasure. Lazing around might be frowned upon, but the beach is the ideal place to spend some time taking care of yourself and letting the stresses of the world melt away.
  • Physical description - Whether it’s reading a book, or enjoying a refreshing beverage with umbrellas in it, you can get taken care of on the beach. Building sandcastles, painting, and meditating are other activities easily and freely enjoyed. 
  • Transition sentence - The beach has so much to offer.
  • Summary of the main points - Whether it’s nature, physical exercise, or simple relaxation, the beach can offer all of that and more. 
  • Restate the thesis - That’s the main reason that a beach is the ideal vacation spot, it allows for diverse ways of having fun. 
  • Closing statement/Clincher - Think about the last time you went to the beach, don’t you want to go again?

What is the Purpose of a Descriptive Essay?

It should leave the reader with a clear idea of the topic of the essay. The goal is to explain things in a comprehensive and interesting way so that the information stays with the reader. Let’s go into the details of how to accomplish this. 

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Writing Process & Descriptive Essay Examples

It may seem challenging to write a successful essay of this type, but if you follow the advice below, it will be a breeze. 

How to Start a Descriptive Essay

Making sure you choose the right topic is the first hurdle to cross. A topic for a descriptive essay is vital because it is the main subject you will be writing about. Spend at least 20 minutes brainstorming different topic ideas and make sure you choose a topic that you know well.

Next, create an outline to better structure your thoughts and figure out the pieces of information you need to find out more about. The more time you spend creating a well-researched outline, the better your endpaper is going to be, and you’ll end up spending less time on actually writing the paper. Now you can move on the writing the descriptive essay introduction.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay Thesis

A thesis statement is the main argument you are trying to make in your paper. It is the main point you are trying to describe. A good thesis statement for descriptive essay is particular without being too brief. It should include not only just what the topic is, but also mention why the topic is important.

How to Write Body Paragraphs

You can have as many body paragraphs as you think are necessary to achieve the goal of describing something clearly. This means you could have just one body paragraph, the standard three, or more. 

Start every paragraph with a topic sentence that explains what the main purpose of the paragraph is. Next fill in sensory details, describing the emotions before moving on to describing the actual physical details. End each body paragraph with a transition sentence that helps each paragraph flow into the other. Not only does this make your writing stronger, but it also helps you create an immersive experience.

How to Write the Conclusion 

Summarize the main points of your essay and make sure that you reiterate the thesis statement. This reminds people of the point of your essay and ensures that when writing, you don’t stray too far from the point. 

Descriptive Essay Format 

There are 3 main formats of citation types for essays. Though the most common one is MLA, it is possible that you may have to use APA or Chicago Style citations. 

MLA stands for Modern Language Association and is used primarily for the arts and humanities.  MLA uses in-text parenthetical citation in the format of (Author, Page). The page at the end that contains all the sources is called the Works Cited page. The format of these entries is unique to MLA but is easy to make with a citation generator. 

APA stands for American Psychological Association and is used mostly for the sciences and social sciences. APA uses in-text parenthetical citations in the format (Author, Date). The page at the end that contains all the sources is called the References section

Chicago Style is used primarily for Business, History, and the Fine Arts. In-text citation can be either as footnotes or parenthetical citation in the format (Author, Date). The page at the end that contains all the sources is called the Bibliography. 

Most descriptive essays will follow the MLA style of citation, but if you need any more help, find a guide on Studyfy.com for more information about citation styles in general. 

Descriptive Essay Topics

The topic is crucial, because all the research you do, and the entire paper, will specifically be about describing the topic. Here are some descriptive essay prompts to inspire you!

The person you’ve most admired in your life
A movie scene that made you feel strong emotions
The time period you would travel to if you had a time machine
Why a beach is better than the mountains for a vacation (or vice versa)
The taste of a drink when you are incredibly tired
An author that inspired you 
Your favorite cuisine
The best place in the world to be by yourself
The best Christmas morning you’ve ever had
An accent that you really enjoy 
A time when you wanted something so much it burned
Describe the day in the life of your favorite celebrity 
The joy of escaping into a video game
What dancing means to you 
A life philosophy you believe in 
The feeling of holding a baby in our arms
The sound of crashing waves
Standing in front of a gorgeous view
A vacation that was meaningful 
Why fireworks are magical 
The first time you cosplayed 
How it feels to listen to music that you hate 
The best thing you have ever eaten in your life
What would it be like to live 100 years in the future
Why hearing people laugh is beautiful 
A day in the life of your favorite animal 
A strange superstition you believe in
The strangest person you’ve ever met
Your favorite tv show 
Playing your favorite sport 
What it’s like to be in love

Descriptive Essay Tips

Before we end, let’s go over some of the key points of information in this article.

  • Use figurative language including metaphors and similes 
  • Use your senses
  • Choose appropriate words
  • Show don't tell 
  • Focus on specific details
  • Spend time choosing the right topic
  • Create a detailed outline
  • Forget about the purpose of the essay
  • Submit your first draft
  • Make it too complicated
  • Ignore your audience 
  • Ignore any directions

In addition to the information provided in this article, there are various resources available to help with your writing needs. If you are struggling to write your descriptive essay, you can turn to professional writers and editors for assistance. You may consider hiring a research paper writing service or seeking help from dissertation writers .

Additionally, if you need someone to " write my admission essay ", there are various options available. You can hire a writer for a custom writing service or seek help from online tutors and teachers. Furthermore, if you need to write a strong admission essay, there are services available that specialize in providing guidance and assistance with this type of writing.

It is important to note that before submitting any work, it should be proofread and edited thoroughly to ensure its quality. Studyfy offers a range of services to help with this, including professional proofreaders and editors who can check your work for grammatical errors and ensure that it meets academic standards.

In summary, there are various resources available to help with your writing needs, including professional writing services, proofreaders, and editors. By utilizing these resources and following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can write a successful descriptive essay that effectively conveys your ideas and engages your readers.If you are looking for the query " I need someone to write an essay for me ", Studyfy has got you covered

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Descriptive Essay

Definition of descriptive essay.

A descriptive essay , as the name implies, is a form of essay that describes something. In this genre , students are assigned the task of describing objects, things, places, experiences, persons, and situations. The students use sensory information to enable readers to use their five senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight to understand the topic of the essay.

Qualities of a Descriptive Essay

  • Clear and Concise
  • Use of Images
  • Use of Five Senses

As far as clear and concise language is concerned, it is necessary to describe things precisely. Imagery is used to make things seem real and remarkable. The use of the five senses creates the imagery, or a mental picture, for each reader.

Difference Between a Description and a Descriptive Essay

A description could be just a paragraph, or it could be longer, as needed to fully describe the thing. However, a descriptive essay has five paragraphs. It is written in a coherent way with a good thesis statement at the end of the introduction , three body paragraphs , and a conclusion .

Examples of Descriptive Essays in Literature

Example #1:  the corner store (by eudora welty).

“Our Little Store rose right up from the sidewalk; standing in a street of family houses, it alone hadn’t any yard in front, any tree or flower bed. It was a plain frame building covered over with brick. Above the door, a little railed porch ran across on an upstairs level and four windows with shades were looking out. But I didn’t catch on to those. Running in out of the sun, you met what seemed total obscurity inside. There were almost tangible smells — licorice recently sucked in a child’s cheek, dill pickle brine1 that had leaked through a paper sack in a fresh trail across the wooden floor, ammonia-loaded ice that had been hoisted from wet croker sacks and slammed into the icebox with its sweet butter at the door, and perhaps the smell of still untrapped mice.”

This description of the “Little Store” is not only clear and concise, but also has images and sensory information about the store building.

Example #2: And the Orchestra Played On (by Joanne Lipman)

“The hinges creaked when I opened the decrepit case. I was greeted by a cascade of loose horsehair — my bow a victim of mites, the repairman later explained. It was pure agony to twist my fingers into position. But to my astonishment and that of my teenage children — who had never heard me play — I could still manage a sound. “It turned out, a few days later, that there were 100 people just like me. When I showed up at a local school for rehearsal, there they were: five decades worth of former students. There were doctors and accountants, engineers and college professors. There were people who hadn’t played in decades, sitting alongside professionals like Mr. K.’s daughter Melanie, now a violinist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. There were generations of music teachers.”

In the first paragraph of this descriptive excerpt, the author clearly describes the decrepit nature of the violin case, as well as the damage time has done to the bow. The second paragraph is a description of the characters , and their similarities.  Both use sensory information for effective descriptions.

Example #3: Yarn (by Koyoko Mori)

“The yellow mittens I made in seventh-grade home economics proved that I dreamed in color. For the unit on knitting, we were 1 supposed to turn in a pair of mittens. The two hands had to be precisely the same size so that when we held them together, palm to palm, no extra stitches would stick out from the thumb, the tip of the fingers, or the cuff. Somewhere between making the fourth and the fifth mitten to fulfill this requirement, I dreamed that the ball of yellow yarn in my bag had turned green. Chartreuse, leaf, Granny Smith, lime, neon, acid green. The brightness was electric. I woke up knowing that I was, once again, doomed for a D in home ec.”

See the use of colors in this paragraph by Koyoko Mori. This is called “pure description,” in that the description appeals to the senses. The use of word “brightness” in the last line is striking one.

Example #4: The Taj Mahal (by Salman Rushdie)

“And this, finally, is why the Taj Mahal must be seen: to remind us that the world is real, that the sound is truer than the echo, the original more forceful than its image in a mirror. The beauty of beautiful things is still able, in these image-saturated times, to transcend imitations. And the Taj Mahal is, beyond the power of words to say it, a lovely thing, perhaps the loveliest of things.”

Check this short description of the Taj Mahal by Salman Rushdie. This description presents a different picture of the Taj Mahal.

Function of Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay presents a person, place, or thing, in a way that readers feel as if it is in front of their eyes, or that they are tasting it, or that they can hear it, or that they can smell it. Writers use sensory information to describe object . The object of the writer is to present a picture of something as honestly as he can.

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How to write a descriptive essay about a place?

Essay describing a place is one of the main papers you need to write at college. The purpose of this type of paper is to develop a topic through details. If you have an opportunity to go to the place you want to describe, it would be helpful. Observation supported by sensations will allow creating a powerful paper expanding readers imagination and triggering emotions. The goal will be reached.

We all have a beautiful location in our mind that means something. The assignment has to include a clear description of the place and to draw its picture in readers' mind. In this article, we are giving tips on how to write a descriptive essay about a place that impacted you and how to get a high grade.

Guide to composing a descriptive essay about your favorite place

  • Introduction . Start the essay by making readers curious. An interesting fact or an anecdote creates a certain mood and grabs readers’ attention. Consider what can draw readers’ attention and make them follow your story. Mention the name, address, and give the reason why it has a soft spot in your heart.
  • Main part – description . The body of the essay has to describe emotions regarding the place. All the feelings, tastes, smells, and sights describing your favorite place help readers to imagine. A lot of students write about locations they used to go with parents and grandparents in their childhood. It can be a country home or a caravan you used to stay at. Describe nature, colors of trees, the smell of flowers and fresh grass, the sound of river and birds singing, the look of neighborhood area, taste of the food you used to enjoy.
  • Such details heat the imagination and help to transfer readers to the location you describe. For example, you can get inspiration from the following sentences: “The house we went to every summer was on the hill covered with little trees I used to sit under during hot sunny days. I still cannot forget the smell of fresh bread my grandmother used to bake every day. Even when I went fishing with my father by the river that was 200 meters away from our house, we could smell pastry, and we knew it was time to pack our rods and go for lunch.”
  • Conclusion . A winning essay has to be meaningful. Learn how to describe a place in an essay by expressing thoughts and feelings. A good paper should make readers excited and curious about visiting the area. The fact that the location made a difference in writer's life has to be proved. Tell how this experience changed you and provide a clear example.

Extra tips on descriptive writing about my favorite place

Consider some more tips for creating such type of college assignment.

  • Choose one idea that will be visible in all paragraphs of the paper.
  • Create the list of questions about the taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound of your topic, then answer them. The more questions, the better description.
  • Write the list of feelings and sensations related to the place you describe. Use expositive words to make a paper rich.
  • Find interesting facts about the area if it is well-known. Historical and unique facts bring more attention to the topic.
  • If you have a few places to talk about and cannot choose one, write down ideas and see which place you can describe as clearly as possible.
  • Writing a descriptive essay on a place is an art and you need to learn how to do it. Review photos of the location to refresh your memory and give a better description.
  • Create an outline and follow the plan. This helps authors to stick to structure and make an essay look professional.
  • Remind readers the idea of writing an assignment in a sentence with the thesis statement in conclusion.
  • Review and edit an essay to make sure it does not contain errors, and there are no parts that take readers away from the topic. Avoid slang and clichés.
  • Give it to someone to read. Someone else's opinion can be helpful. Moreover, someone can spot mistakes you did not notice.

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The service offers help on how to write a descriptive essay about a place you love. Customers can choose authors online themselves and chat with them directly giving instructions and keeping up with the writing process. Affordable prices and the guarantee for delivering assignments on time attracts students and make them choose professional help instead of suffering from a headache, worries of not meeting deadlines, and not following teachers' requirements.

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Descriptive Essay Writing

Descriptive Essay Examples

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Amazing Descriptive Essay Examples for Your Help

Published on: Jun 21, 2023

Last updated on: Feb 10, 2024

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Descriptive essays are very commonly assigned essays. This type of essay enhances students' writing skills and allows them to think critically. 

A descriptive essay is often referred to as the parent essay type. Other essays like argumentative essays, narrative essays, and expository essays fall into descriptive essays. Also, this essay helps the student enhance their ability to imagine the whole scene in mind by appealing senses.

It is assigned to high school students and all other students at different academic levels. Students make use of the human senses like touch, smell, etc., to make the descriptive essay more engaging for the readers. 

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Examples make it easy for readers to understand things in a better way. Also, in a descriptive essay, different types of descriptions can be discussed. 

Here are some amazing examples of a descriptive essay to make the concept easier for you. 

Descriptive Essay Example 5 Paragraph

5 paragraphs essay writing format is the most common method of composing an essay. This format has 5 paragraphs in total. The sequence of the paragraphs is as follows;

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • Body Paragraph 2 
  • Body Paragraph 3
  • Conclusion 

Following is an example of a descriptive essay written using the famous 5 paragraph method. 

5 Paragraph Descriptive Essay

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Descriptive Essay Example About A Person

Descriptive essays are the best option when it comes to describing and writing about a person.  A descriptive essay is written using the five human senses. It helps in creating a vivid image in the reader’s mind and understanding what the writer is trying to convey. 

Here is one of the best descriptive essay examples about a person. Read it thoroughly and try to understand how a good descriptive essay is written on someone’s personality.

Descriptive Essay Example About a Person

Descriptive Essay Example About A Place

If you have visited a good holiday spot or any other place and want to let your friends know about it. A descriptive essay can help you explain every detail and moment you had at that place. 

Here is one of the good descriptive essay examples about a place. Use it as a sample and learn how you can write such an essay. 

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Descriptive Essay Example for Grade 6

Descriptive essays are frequently assigned to school students. This type of essay helps the students enhance their writing skills and helps them see things in a more analytical way.

If you are a 6 grader and looking for a good descriptive essay example, you are in the right place.  

Descriptive Essay Example for Grade 7

Here is one of the best descriptive essay examples for grade 7. 

Descriptive Essay Example for Grade 8

If you are looking for some amazing descriptive essay examples for grade 8, you have already found one. Look at the given example and see what a well-written descriptive essay looks like. 

Descriptive Essay Example for Grade 10

Essay writing is an inevitable part of a student's academic life . No matter your grade, you will get to write some sort of essay at least once. 

Here is an example of a descriptive essay writing for grade10. If you are also a student of this grade, this example might help you to complete your assignment.

Descriptive Essay Example for Grade 12

If you are a senior student and looking for some essay examples, you are exactly where you should be. 

Use the below-mentioned example and learn how to write a good essay according to the instructions given to you. 

Descriptive Essay Example College

Descriptive essays are a great way to teach students how they can become better writers. Writing a descriptive essay encourages them to see the world more analytically.

Below is an example that will help you and make your writing process easy.

College Descriptive Essay Example

Descriptive Essay Example for University

Descriptive essays are assigned to students at all academic levels. University students are also assigned descriptive essay writing assignments. As they are students of higher educational levels, they are often given a bit of difficult and more descriptive topics. 

See the example below and know what a descriptive essay at the university level looks like. 

Short Descriptive Essay Example

Every time a descriptive essay isn't written in detail. It depends on the topic of how long the essay will be.  

For instance, look at one of the short descriptive essay examples given below. See how the writer has conveyed the concept in a composed way. 

Objective Descriptive Essay Example

When writing an objective description essay, you focus on describing the object without conveying your emotions, feelings, or personal reactions. The writer uses sight, sound, or touch for readers' minds to bring life into pictures that were painted by words.

Here is an example that you can use for your help. 

Narrative and Descriptive Essay Example

A narrative descriptive essay can be a great way to share your experiences with others. It is a story that teaches a lesson you have learned. The following is an example of a perfect narrative descriptive essay to help you get started.

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How to Start a Descriptive Essay? - Example

If you don't know how to start your descriptive essay, check this example and create a perfect one. 

How to Start a Descriptive Essay - Example

Subjective Descriptive Essay Example

It is a common concept that a descriptive essay revolves around one subject. Be it a place, person, event, or any other object you can think of. 

Following is one of the subjective descriptive, easy examples. Use it as a guide to writing an effective descriptive essay yourself. 

Writing a descriptive essay is a time-consuming yet tricky task. It needs some very strong writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Also, this is a type of essay that a student can not avoid and bypass. 

But if you think wisely, work smart, and stay calm, you can get over it easily. Learn how to write a descriptive essay from a short guide given below. 

How to Write a Descriptive Essay?

A writer writes a descriptive essay from their knowledge and imaginative mind. In this essay, the writer describes what he has seen or experienced, or ever heard from someone. For a descriptive essay, it is important to stay focused on one point. Also, the writer should use figurative language so that the reader can imagine the situation in mind. 

The following are some very basic yet important steps that can help you write an amazing descriptive essay easily. 

  • Choose a Topic

For a descriptive essay, you must choose a vast topic to allow you to express yourself freely. Also, make sure that the topic you choose is not overdone. An overdone will not grab the attention of your intended audience. Check out our descriptive essay topics blog for a variety of intriguing topic suggestions.

  • Create a Strong Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the essence of any academic writing. When you select the descriptive essay topic, then you create a strong thesis statement for your essay.  

A thesis statement is a sentence or two that explains the whole idea of your essay to the reader. It is stated in the introductory paragraph of the essay. The word choice for creating the thesis statement must be very expressive, composed, and meaningful. Also, use vivid language for the thesis statement.  

  • Collect the Necessary Information

Once you have created the thesis statement and are done writing your essay introduction . Now, it's time to move toward the body paragraphs. 

Collect all necessary information related to your topic. You would be adding this information to your essay to support your thesis statement. Make sure that you collect information from authentic sources. 

To enhance your essay, make use of some adjectives and adverbs. To make your descriptive essay more vivid, try to incorporate sensory details like touch, taste, sight, and smell.

  • Create a Descriptive Essay Outline

An outline is yet another necessary element of your college essay. By reading the descriptive essay outline , the reader feels a sense of logic and a guide for the essay. 

In the outline, you need to write an introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs and end up with a formal conclusion.

Proofreading is a simple procedure in which the writer revises the written essay. This is done in order to rectify the document for any kind of spelling or grammatical mistakes. Thus, proofreading makes high-quality content and gives a professional touch to it. 

You might be uncertain about writing a good enough descriptive essay and impress your teacher. However, it is very common, so you do not need to stress out. 

Hit us up at CollegeEssay.org and get an essay written by our professional descriptive essay writers. Our essay writing service for students aims to help clients in every way possible and ease their stress. Get in touch with our customer support team, and they will take care of all your queries related to your writing. 

You can always enhance your writing skills by leveraging the power of our AI essay writing tools .

Place your order now and let all your stress go away in a blink! 

Barbara P (Literature)

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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descriptive essay about a place called home

‘People say all the time, “I understand.” No, you don’t.’

‘Talk to us about our wants and needs. Talk to us like adults. Like human beings.’

As this country struggles with a growing crisis of homelessness, it’s time to start listening to the people who are living it.

descriptive essay about a place called home

A Life Without A

Voices from the tents, shelters, cars, motels and couches of America.

A record number of people across the country are experiencing homelessness: the federal government’s annual tally last year revealed the highest numbers of unsheltered people since the count began in 2007. Politicians and policymakers are grappling with what can be done. But the people who are actually experiencing homelessness are rarely part of the conversation.

Lori Teresa Yearwood, a journalist who lived through years of homelessness, spoke of the ways we discount those without shelter. “Society created a new species of people, and we carefully crafted an image of them: one of broken passivity and victimhood, people in need of constant scrutiny and monitoring,” she said in a 2022 speech. “When we shift and widen the perspective of the unhoused, that’s when things radically change.” Ms. Yearwood collaborated with Times Opinion on this project before her untimely death in September. She understood what many who have not experienced homelessness ignore: that people without shelter have something to say — and often something of great worth — about what it’s like to live inside this country’s cobbled-together solutions.

That’s why we sent reporters and photographers to different parts of the country to meet with people experiencing homelessness in very different ways. We asked them to fill out surveys, take videos, use disposable cameras and have their children share drawings.

Whatever led them to homelessness, the people who spoke to The Times want a way out. As the nation debates how to help them, they shared the solutions they want to see.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Chelsie Stevens has been sleeping on friends’ couches while she attends community college.

descriptive essay about a place called home

She and her children are some of the estimated 3.7 million Americans who are doubled up, a kind of homelessness hidden in plain sight.

A Is Not a Home

By Linda Villarosa Photographs by Sasha Phyars-Burgess

Crashing at someone’s house, doubling up, couch surfing: It all conjures a rosy scenario in which someone takes in friends or family members who have fallen on hard times, offering them comfort, safety and a roof over their …

Crashing at someone’s house, doubling up, couch surfing: It all conjures a rosy scenario in which someone takes in friends or family members who have fallen on hard times, offering them comfort, safety and a roof over their heads. But in reality, doubling up is a much more complicated, under-the-radar form of homelessness. It may be a temporary solution, a precursor to living in a shelter or on the street, or part of a cycle of housing instability that involves crowded living conditions and a devastating lack of privacy and safety. The Department of Housing and Urban Development doesn’t recognize doubling up as homelessness, which can mean that families and individuals who live with others — by necessity, not choice — lose out on essential government services and benefits.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Chelsie Stevens’s sons, 11 and 14, sleeping on an inflatable bed.

But we can have a sense of the size of the problem by looking at the children. Thanks to landmark 1987 legislation, children who share housing because of economic hardship or loss of their homes qualify for benefits through their public schools: dedicated liaisons, free lunch, free transportation to school even if they are living out of the district. In 2022, public schools counted 1,205,292 homeless students, 76 percent of whom were doubled up. We met with four single moms, all of whom were crashing at someone else’s house with their children.

For parents who lose stable housing, options are limited: In many areas, family shelters are few and far between, and motel rooms get expensive. But staying with others comes with its own costs.

Jackie Randolph , 34, is staying with her five children in a bedroom at her ex-partner’s place in Cincinnati : We got to be quiet. We can’t talk loud. We can’t have fun. We can’t do nothing. It’s like living in jail. We got to be sneaky because of the neighbors. They’re really set in their ways and they ain’t trying to have nobody that stay over there that don’t live there.

Chelsie Stevens, 33, has been on friends’ couches with one of her children while the others sleep at their grandparents’ house near Sarasota, Fla . : I met my current host getting cleaning jobs from him. Thankfully he understood my situation because he has been in my shoes and let me pay him $600 a month to stay with him. He makes me feel like we’re welcome to stay in his house but it’s a little uncomfortable because now that I am staying here, our relationship went from a friendship about work to some odd feeling like he likes me or wants to date me. But we have nowhere else to go.

Michelle Schultz, 52, has been staying on friends’ couches with her daughter near Waukesha, Wis. : It can cause a strain on even the best friendships. As much as it's nice that people will do that, it’s a burden for them to take up that extra space.

Lizbeth Santiago, 28, sleeps with her two children on the floor of her sister’s living room in Fort Worth : Living with my sister feels terrible. It’s very tense. My children are very loud and rambunctious while her son is quiet. My sister, having anxiety and paranoia and autism, it’s upsetting for her. So I feel quite bad.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Staying at someone’s house makes securing benefits tricky: The government often counts benefits by household instead of per individual family.

Lizbeth Santiago : I don’t have SNAP benefits or anything. My sister gets a Social Security check for my nephew because he’s autistic and that helps them a lot. If they didn’t have that, they also would not be making it. But because I live with them, I can’t apply for SNAP benefits — that would negatively affect her. And would put an even bigger strain on our relationship.

Michelle Schultz : Because state regulations want to include everybody you’re living with in their income, I had to lie this whole 10 years that I've been homeless. If they know what the household income is, I would lose food stamps. I would lose benefits to the point where I’d probably have to pay copay for doctor prescriptions. I just had to tell them I was homeless and I gave them a mailing address of a P.O. box.

Beyond their own day-to-day concerns, these parents worry about how their living conditions are affecting their children.

Chelsie Stevens : They are behaving poorly in school. My oldest is always worried about me and has a hard time focusing. The kids seem depressed more now.

Lizbeth Santiago : I know it affects her. She tries to hide it. She’s a child. I want her to be a child. I don’t want her to worry about why Mommy’s upset. Those are adult concerns. Those are things that she shouldn’t have on her mind. I wish she didn’t have to experience any of that.

Jackie Randolph : My only goal is making sure my kids stay happy so they don’t think about the situation we are in. Every time they start doubting or they get weary, I just say: “This is just going to make us stronger. It’s going to bring us closer together. You could tell your kids about this.” So they could say: “My mom, she did not give up. She did not give up. She kept fighting.” My kids is the reason why I’m not in a crazy house right now. Because I probably should have been years ago.

Jackie Randolph’s youngest daughter, Clinteria.

Chelsie Stevens’s youngest daughter, Faith.

Navigating the bureaucracy of homelessness is difficult for people who are doubled up. Here’s what they want and need.

Lizbeth Santiago : A job that pays enough. But the harsh reality is it won’t be enough. I donate plasma two times a week and I’m still going to continue to have to do that. I also go to a food pantry once a week to get food.

Jackie Randolph : Stop making the process so long. If somebody needs help today, why would you say, “Next week we’ll be here to help you” or “Give us 30 days to help you”?

Michelle Schultz : If I could have had some help with day care to be able to go and look for a job.

Chelsie Stevens : There needs to be something in place for the young kids growing up in poverty, and parents of those kids. To guide them at a young age how to not end up like I am. Not everyone is born into normalcy and structure or love. Until a person is taught, how can they know?

Like so many others experiencing homelessness, Chelsie Stevens found that her situation deteriorated the longer she was out of stable housing.

After staying at her friend’s apartment for several months, she left when her host made her feel uncomfortable. Her children slept at their grandparents’ house while she slept in her car.

Scroll to read what people living in motels, cars, encampments and shelters want others to understand about homelessness in America.

Times Opinion asked people experiencing homelessness to respond to a survey in their own writing.

How has your life changed since you became homeless?

Edward Taylor, 47, has been sleeping in his car for several months.

Chelsie Stevens, 33, sleeps on friends’ couches and in her car.

Since she lost her family home nearly a year ago, Kimberly has been living in a motel.

Terri Ann Romo, 43, sleeps in a car she shares with her elderly mother.

descriptive essay about a place called home

People like Kimberly who turn to motels for shelter are often not even counted as homeless.

By Samantha M. Shapiro Photographs by Paul D’Amato

They arrive in cars crammed with the contents of the homes they were evicted from, or by bus, weighed down by bags. They walk over, in wet socks or ruined pants, from a tent encampment nearby when the weather is too rough to be …

They arrive in cars crammed with the contents of the homes they were evicted from, or by bus, weighed down by bags. They walk over, in wet socks or ruined pants, from a tent encampment nearby when the weather is too rough to be outside. They leave their kids sleeping in the queen beds when they go to work the night shift at an Amazon warehouse. Few of the guests at this airport motel arrive on a flight; most are locals in search of affordable shelter. A yellow school bus picks up children outside the lobby and police cars and outreach workers do rounds through the parking lot, but mostly the true role the motel plays is invisible and improvised by desk clerks. The capacity of shelters and subsidized housing hasn’t kept pace with the growing homelessness crisis, so New York and other cities have turned to private motels to house people, and some charities offer emergency vouchers for brief stays. During the Covid pandemic, empty hotels and motels were also temporarily converted into official homeless shelters; most of those programs have since wound down. But even in places where motels are not officially serving as homeless shelters, people who have lost their housing simply pay the rack rate when they have nowhere else to go. Motels offer an option for those who are shut out of rentals because of evictions on their records or for parents who do not want to be separated from their children, as many shelters do not accept families. We spoke with 11 people who are temporarily staying in a motel on the outskirts of Milwaukee.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Ashley and her twin children in their motel room.

Paying by the night or week is more feasible for those who struggle to put together enough cash for a security deposit and one month’s rent. But the cost of a room can vary from night to night and the monthly cost of a motel stay is often much higher than rent.

Ashley, 38, has been staying with four of her five children in a motel room for the last several months : This is my first time being displaced from housing. The first two weeks were the roughest. I didn’t know where to go. I’m used to having birthday parties at hotels for my kids — I’m really only in hotels then or if we’re on vacation. I didn’t know you can rent hotels to live. I pay daily at these hotels. It’s expensive. On a good night, it costs $51; with tax, $56. On weekends it’s $73. They usually tell me if something special is going on, because it’ll go up. For the state fair, they actually put all the homeless people out. I was back in my car for two weeks.

Kala, 32, has been battling drug addiction for years. She and her partner stay in motel rooms whenever they have enough money : You are basically on a timer that gives you anxiety and puts you on an edge. I have to figure out how to come up with another 70 bucks in less than 24 hours every day. It’s the same thing as being homeless. Yeah, I can sleep here for 12 hours but in 12 hours I got to figure something out, so I am not doing anything with that 12 hours — just stressing over how I’m going to pay for the next 12 hours. I can’t focus on what I am going to do to move forward. You can’t do that in 12 hours.

Kimberly, 53, sold the family home to a “sell for cash” group when her father became ill : I’ve been here a year in December. It’s an every day struggle trying to pay for everything. That’s why I don’t have food. Room, food, bus. I do plasma. It makes you depressed being stuck in this room 24/7.

Brenda, 53, is staying in a room with her cousin and her 19-year-old autistic son : I have more anxiety. I’m unsure of everything. I’m scared only because of my 19-year-old son. It’s hard to get inside the mind of somebody with autism, but I know one thing for certain is that when his schedule gets disrupted, it disrupts him. And then I feel badly. I tell him things are going to be better, but it’s hard. I tried and failed to make a life for myself.

Just six months after Covid-era moratoriums were lifted, eviction filings doubled in Milwaukee County. With rents rising , even two-income families can easily fall into homelessness, where a constant barrage of bills and bureaucratic hurdles keep stable housing out of reach.

Max, 47, has been staying in motel rooms with his wife and their sons for several months : Our rent went up unexpectedly. We had had a yearlong lease but then the landlord made it month to month. We couldn’t suck it up and pay. The rent was $1,400 and the next month went up to $1,900.

Kimberly : My storage alone is $260 a month because it was a house full of things we left — I even threw out two giant dumpsters — it’s all our photo albums and furniture. I’m over $1,000 behind. There’s interest, late fees. I owe the storage place on the 20th and if I don’t pay them it will go to auction. You can’t pay here at the motel and come up with money to get a place. It’s impossible. And that’s why a lot of us are stuck.

Ashley : I owe the storage unit $100 so they locked it. The twins were supposed to go to the pumpkin farm today for a school trip but the kids’ coats and boots are in there. I knew they were going to be outside all day at the pumpkin farm so I kept them at home. It’s expensive being homeless. It’s expensive being outside. I’ve applied to places, but I have an open eviction right now.

David, 63, has been homeless for about two years : I didn’t receive my benefits one month. I was fighting with the QUEST card people. You get a review every few years to keep the benefits going. Well, not living in a permanent place, I don’t receive my mail, so I missed the review. That’s why my benefits were cut off.

descriptive essay about a place called home

People living day to day in motels often are not counted as homeless by HUD, making it difficult for them to get access to the services put in place to help people experiencing homelessness.

Ashley : I called 211 and told them I was homeless and my situation. One night at 3 in the morning, they called me. They said we’re out and about at the address you gave us but we don’t see your car. I’m like, “Well, tonight we got a room” and they’re like, “Well, that’s not considered homeless. When you go back out to that spot give us a call, maybe we can come back out to that spot.” They can help with housing if they can prove that I’m in my car 24/7. But I can’t keep my kids in my car. If I have to pay for a room I will. But they’re saying, “Because you’re inside a hotel you’re not considered homeless.” This doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve never noticed how many homeless people were out here until I became one.

Scroll to read what people living in cars, encampments and shelters want others to understand about homelessness in America.

What is the biggest stress you deal with in daily life?

David, 63, sleeps in a tent behind a motel in Milwaukee.

Rob Travis Jackson, 59, stays in a shelter in Pennsylvania.

Kala, 32, has been sleeping on the street and in a motel when she can afford it.

Haven, 11, is sleeping on couches with his mom and siblings near Sarasota, Fla.

Sage and Fiona Reuscher and their son have been homeless since May.

descriptive essay about a place called home

The Reuschers are among the over 19,000 people in Los Angeles living out of their cars.

By Christopher Giamarino Photographs by Ricardo Nagaoka

When Americans lose their housing, their cars are often the first place they turn. The federal government doesn’t collect data specifically on vehicular homelessness, but recent studies show that over 40 percent of unsheltered …

When Americans lose their housing, their cars are often the first place they turn. The federal government doesn’t collect data specifically on vehicular homelessness, but recent studies show that over 40 percent of unsheltered people in Los Angeles County live in their vehicles — cars, vans, campers and R.V.s. The cold reality: Finding a safe place to park is a challenge, made worse by a web of complicated ordinances that in much of the country make sleeping and living in your car illegal , with towing and expensive tickets a constant worry. The Los Angeles area is home to the nation’s largest population of “vehicle dwellers.” One nonprofit, Safe Parking L.A. , has set up in parking lots across Los Angeles in response, allowing people to stay in their cars during the night when businesses are closed, providing amenities like restrooms, security guards and sometimes even financial services and opportunities to find shelters and housing. We spoke with people in one such parking lot, sandwiched between the Los Angeles airport runway and industrial land. The people staying there shared why they’re living in their cars, and what they need to get back into housing.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Chloe Heard by the car where she sleeps.

An empty parking lot, even one with planes blaring overhead every 90 seconds, provides a degree of safety for people who have been sleeping in their cars on streets and in parks.

Chloe Heard, 36, has been homeless since August 2020 : Before this lot, I was parking by the beach. I was really unsafe. The police were coming to my car, and I was scared. My main concerns were if someone was going to walk up to my car and bust my windows, or if the police were going to arrest me for trespassing. You don’t really rest because you’re constantly jumping up to look around to make sure you’re not going to get in trouble for being there. I’d be getting tickets for parking on streets, sleeping in my car. Sometimes, street sweeping has come before you wake up and you’ve already gotten a ticket before you noticed the person.

B.A., 52, works as a bus driver at the airport and lives out of his car : Living in my car is hard. I don’t have any electricity. I always have to run the car. That’s wasting gas. I feel like I’m not safe wherever I sleep — these lots or wherever I sleep on the street.

Edward Taylor, 47, lives in his car with his husband after they lost their apartment in 2022 : The way that parking on public streets impacted us was just sleep. Being here in a safe zone that is monitored and secluded from what’s happening on the other side of these barricades allows you to get sleep. It allows you to sleep a little bit more peacefully than if I have to worry about other homeless people. Sorry, I forgot I am homeless now.

Curtis Lynch and Edward Taylor

Juana Zabala in the car where she sleeps.

Living out of your car might seem like a good way to save money when you’ve lost your housing, but often, a vicious cycle of bills and bad credit causes a temporary sleeping situation to stretch into a months-long ordeal.

Chloe Heard : How do they expect people facing homelessness to have 700 or 800 credit scores? Or have co-signers? People don’t even trust that you can make it on your own, let alone use someone else’s assistance to get there. How in the heck could someone vouch for you to maybe help ruin their credit?

B.A. : On a big lot like this, they should just let people park there all day and all night. With Safe Parking I don’t like that you have to leave, come back, leave, come back. I want to just leave my car here and then I could just take off somewhere or walk. But instead, I got to drive, waste gas, come back. I spend more money on gas than I spend on anything.

Edward Taylor : I have an income. I have money saved. I tell people I have enough money to pay them three times the deposit. But even right now that is not acceptable because your credit score is not good or you have an eviction on your record.

The longer homelessness stretches on, the harder it is for people experiencing it to recover.

Fiona Reuscher, 43, lives in her car with her partner, Sage, and their teenage son : Once everything is taken from you, it becomes how much more do you have to give up? We’ve had shelters that have said, “We can take you, but we don’t allow dogs.” We’ve already given up everything. You’re not going to take away our best friends. These are our dogs. These are our emotional support animals. These are our protectors. They’re like our kids. You can’t do that. But they expect you to do this. They expect you to give these things up. They expect you to be happy with a doghouse because you’re in your car. No, we want housing. What’s good for you should be good for me. If it’s not good for you then why are you trying to pawn it off on me?

Edward Taylor : I am not grounded in some place to update my résumé and have access to the internet to look for jobs and network. I’m not able to access my full belongings to get into my full self to go out to places to network with people.

Chloe Heard : People think that because you don’t have a home that you’re dirty, you may stink, that you’re crazy for sleeping in a car. I told my friend that I sleep in my car. She said: “You sleep in your car? What’re you talking about?” It makes me refrain from telling people because then they’re looking at me in a judging sense like I’m lesser than. It makes me feel like less of an active citizen in society because people look down on you.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Fiona and Sage Reuscher prepare their car to sleep for the night.

The people sleeping in the lot have ideas on ways their homelessness could have been prevented, and how aid programs, including the Safe Parking program hosting them, could better meet their needs.

Curtis Lynch, 38, lives in his car with his husband, Edward : The eviction moratorium should have lasted longer. There should have been a proper system in place where the government helped pay during that process — like, pay back 30 percent of what you owe, and your eviction could be withheld. There’s a better system they should have worked with.

Terri Ann Romo, 43, lives in her car with her mom, Juana : It would be nice if you could shower. We went a whole month without showering until recently.

Frankey Daniels, 32, has two jobs and has been homeless since July : Create more housing programs for people who work and are going through homelessness. It takes some time to really figure it out and do your research when you have to go to work, and some people are working two jobs.

B.A . : At the Convention Center, they had plugs. They had bathrooms that you could walk into with a private sink and toilet. They use port-a-potties here. They need to be cleaned out every day.

Fiona Reuscher : Having weekly meetings so that the people who are the decision makers out here talk to us on the lot. We need better transparency. If you’re not talking to the people that you’re serving, then you’re not serving them.

Scroll to read what people living in encampments and shelters want others to understand about homelessness in America.

Do you think the government, or either political party, is doing enough to help you?

David, 62, with his partner, Terri. He uses a wheelchair and sleeps in a tent in Nashville.

Chloe Heard, 36, has been homeless since 2020.

Bobby Conner Jr., 29, lives in an encampment in Nashville.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Tyrese Payeton has been living in an encampment for several months.

descriptive essay about a place called home

He is one of hundreds of people living in tents and other temporary shelters in Nashville.

By Wes Enzinna Photographs by Tamara Reynolds

Less than a mile from Nashville’s bustling tourist district, the Old Tent City homeless encampment lies in a forest hidden between the banks of the Cumberland River and the shadow of a steep, dusty bluff. At the top of the bluff …

Less than a mile from Nashville’s bustling tourist district, the Old Tent City homeless encampment lies in a forest hidden between the banks of the Cumberland River and the shadow of a steep, dusty bluff. At the top of the bluff is a new condominium building where two-bedroom units with panoramic views of the downtown skyline sell for $1.2 million. The sprawling shantytown below is home to dozens of people who live in tents and makeshift abodes — the winners and the losers of the new Nashville economy live in one another's shadows. Tent cities, which often include other shelters like wooden sheds and R.V.s, have become a common feature in the landscape of American cities. In Nashville, one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the United States, 17 percent of people who are homeless are living on the streets and in encampments. According to service providers, there are dozens of encampments spread out across the city and the surrounding county. The people living in them often aren’t included in decisions over their fates, even as the city has made closing the camps a key part of its larger fight against homelessness for the last year. We spoke to residents of Old Tent City and four other encampments in Nashville. Most of them want to be off the streets. All of them want a system that better supports them.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Wade in his “tiny home,” a temporary shelter the size of a shed.

Some people who live in encampments worry about their safety, while others say they provide a sense of community and security hard to find elsewhere on the street.

Fred Moore , 57, has been homeless for about 12 years : I love the homeless people that’s out here. Most of them that’s new don’t know how to live being homeless. There are so many different tricks and ways around it that people just don’t know how and when you got somebody that’s already been out here, they know the ways to do things and help pass information.

Cynthia Gaddis, 35, ended up on the streets several months ago : I’ve learned you can depend more on the homeless people than you can with the people that have everything.

Bobby Conner Jr., 29, who has been homeless since he was 13, was struggling with addiction when he arrived in Old Tent City : Any time I ever need a place to come, just lay low and just crash, and need a family, I know I can always come down here. When I came down here, I looked at them, I was like: “I want off of that. I want to start my life new again . ” They were like: “You really want to do it? You’re more than welcome to bring your stuff down here. Set up your spot. We’ll make sure you stay off of it.”

Casey Guzak, 47 , became homeless two years ago after a rent increase : I don’t think Hoovertowns are appropriate unless there’s a major depression. Shantytowns accumulate hostility, disease, and everyone’s calamity is amplified.

But even as encampments provide stability to some residents, the unique challenges — financial, mental, physical — of living there can also make it harder for residents to eventually find their way out of the camps and back into housing.

New York is an Army veteran living in a tent in Old Tent City : I can afford to pay the rent. I just can’t afford the deposit. And being out here kind of messed up my credit. But now I’m paying three credit fixers to fix my credit. Nobody in my family knows I’m out here. I’m too embarrassed to reach out and say something because they’ve never seen me. When I was out there, I had an apartment and a house and had two cars. I was making good money. So it’s a pride thing.

Terri Masterson and her partner lost their home of 23 years just miles away from where they stay on the street now : I am ashamed of it. I’m ashamed that I’m ashamed, but I truly am. You know, I am an old-fashioned girl. This is not how I was raised, as my grandmother would say.

Fred Moore : It’s hard for me to hold down a job because I can’t concentrate on what I’m doing. I’ve been down here trying to get signed up on disability and try to give my brain time to rest and really see what’s going on.

Jacquelyn Manner, 61, lost her job and her home after a debilitating brain injury : I’m a pretty healthy person, but I’m also 61. I can’t eat a lot of the stuff that they have out there. I need fresh vegetables. I have food stamps, but I didn’t have a place that I could eat fresh vegetables and yogurt. It’s going to be pasta, rice. A lot of sugar and a lot of salt. It creates health problems.

Riley, 23, moved into an encampment to try to save money : I was living in a motel. I was making $600 a week doing day labor, and the motel was so expensive. I had the idea: I'll come out here and I’ll stack some money up for a few weeks. Thought I’d be able to get back up on my feet in no time. I had to be at the day-labor office at five in the morning, so I was buying Ubers, spending like 40 bucks in the morning. And then I’m getting off work at rush hour. And the prices go up. I’m spending another $30 to get home. It’s 70 bucks. I made $125 a day, so I got 55 bucks left. I got to eat, so I bought a camp stove. I just stopped going to work after three months.

Casey Guzak

Brandi and her boyfriend, Robert.

According to one nonprofit group, over the last two years at least 25 encampments in Nashville have been cleared. In July 2022, Tennessee became the first state ever to make camping on public property a felony . So far, no one has been prosecuted under the law, but numerous encampment residents say that the police have invoked it to intimidate them.

Casey Guzak : They use the landscapers to cut trees around you, expose you. Then they tell you you need to get everything in your tent — there’s too much stuff out here, too much litter. I agree! But they take your tent when you’re not there. They figure if you’re exposed, you’ll be embarrassed. We weren’t. We just sat there. You know, who are we going to be embarrassed by? Their message is, “We got to clear this place out for gentrification . ” It’s about to happen here. It’s happening all over Nashville. It’s like a war.

Wade lives in a 60-square-foot shed in an encampment in the backyard of a church : When I was homeless, and I mean homeless — no housing, no nothing, bushes and trees right behind me — the police, they say, “Oh, you can’t sleep here.” And you’re sitting there saying, “But that ain’t fair.” They don't care. If you’re not doing anything and you’re not causing any disturbance why come over and harass you? They’re not doing what the police are supposed to do. They’re supposed to protect and serve.

C.J . has lived in an encampment for four years and worries he and his fellow residents will be evicted soon : All you’re going to do is bust up a nest, and that nest is going to spread out somewhere else. When you bust it up, the ones that are scattered are going to find somewhere else and then you got another problem. … I’m going to go to another area, find another spot, set up another camp and start the process all over again.

The people living in tent cities want to have a say in the policies that affect them.

Jacquelyn Manner : I need to get permanent shelter and I need to get a good job. And I can’t do that unless I have an outfit. Unless I have a place that I can shower. Unless I can have a place where I can keep my clothes decent, and know that I can wear some decent clothes to work.

Clyde Hohn, 52, and his wife, Norvalla, have been residents of Old Tent City for about a month : We should have security guards in the encampments. We got people firing off firearms. Somebody ran a knife through my tent. There are noises all night, people arguing. A security guard would help us keep safe, help us sleep so we can go to work in the morning and get ourselves off the street. She’s a cashier at a gas station. It’d be a lot worse if she lost her job.

Mama V : A goal of ours is to find the land and make it where the homeless can have somewhere and nobody can tell them, “Hey, you’ve got to go.” I tell everybody, you never know when you're going to be one paycheck away from where we’re at right now.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Jacquelyn Manner in front of the tiny home where she sleeps.

Scroll to read what people living in shelters want others to understand about homelessness in America.

Could the government have done anything to prevent your homelessness?

Terri Ann Romo, 43, lost stable housing after an eviction in 2022.

Clyde Hohn, 52, lives in an encampment and hasn’t had stable housing since 2022.

Fiona Reuscher, 43, fell into homelessness after a workplace injury and layoff.

Cynthia Gaddis, 35, lives in an encampment in Nashville.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Levon Higgins lost his housing after expensive surgery. He lives in a shelter, sharing a room with dozens of men.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Every night, some 445,000 Americans stay in shelters like the one where he sleeps.

By Matthew Desmond Photographs by Adam Pape

The shelter comes after it all. After the pawnship and plasma donation. After the diagnosis, the divorce, the eviction, the relapse. After the final family member …

The shelter comes after it all. After the pawnship and plasma donation. After the diagnosis, the divorce, the eviction, the relapse. After the final family member says no. Emergency shelters provide a place to sleep — even if only a mat on a floor — and meals. At some, you can get clean socks, a haircut, a tooth pulled, even therapy. The shelter represents the last stop from the bottom, a bulwark from the street, but it can also represent a chance: to leave your abuser, to earn your G.E.D., to make a new start. Homelessness is highest in cities with exorbitant rents, but small cities and rural communities are not shielded from the housing crisis. Some small towns have eviction rates that rival those of big cities. Because rural America lacks many social services, like free clinics, soup kitchens and shelters, the rural homeless often make their way to places like the Water Street Mission . A Christian rescue mission in Lancaster, Pa., a city of roughly 57,000, it has been serving the hungry and homeless since 1917. We spoke with several people staying at the Water Street Mission, some of whom were there for the first time and some who had sought refuge there many times before.

descriptive essay about a place called home

James Costello

Because there is no single agency or governmental organization that oversees America’s shelter system, shelters can vary as much in funding — some private, some religious, some public — as in the kinds of services and amenities they offer.

James Costello, 58, lost a leg to diabetes complications, then his job and housing soon after : When I first came here, we were sleeping on the chapel floor here on “boats.” They were like hard things, maybe about a foot high. And you threw a mat on it and that was what we slept on. And they said: “This is not good for the people. They’re losing dignity.” That’s the one thing here. They want you to have dignity; you’ve lost everything else. So they don’t want to take that from you either. Yeah, you’re in your room with 45 other guys, but you still feel like a person. You don’t feel like cattle being shoved in and shoved out of a room.

Tamekia Gibbs, 48, arrived at Water Street after surviving domestic violence : Knowing that you have a place to lay your head and knowing you’ll have food in your mouth, that’s a good thing. It’s everything else that comes along with it, especially if you’ve never been in that predicament — sleeping in a room full of women, you just never know how strange, how stressful that is. You have to get used to different things. You got to get used to having to get used to it.

Shawna, 44, is recovering from an addiction and has been in and out of homelessness for over a decade : You don’t have to go, “Well, why are they throwing God in my face all the time?” Just sit down, listen. Maybe that lesson was meant for you and that’s why you’re getting mad. I just go, I listen. If it’s for me, I sit and listen. If not, I play with something on my phone.

The resources dedicated to helping people who have lost stable housing in rural communities are more limited, but the causes are often the same as in major cities.

Levon Higgins, 50, has been staying at Water Street for the last six months : I just couldn’t afford to live where I was. Rent went up to $1,500 a month. For a two-bedroom. I just couldn’t do it. When the pandemic first started, I had a savings account, had a SIMPLE I.R.A. Over the past year, things just got worse. Your rent just keeps going up and going up and going up.

Shawna : This is my fifth or sixth time back. This time I decided to come back just so I could get away from my drug of choice and being out on the street and not feeling safe. My daughter came here after me. This would be her second time back with my grandbabies. We stayed here a couple of times together when it was just me and her. It’s just like I’m reliving everything over again. I know something has to change.

Tamekia Gibbs : I endured a lot of physical, emotional and mental abuse. I just got to the point where I lost me completely in that relationship. I said: “This is enough. I got to find somewhere else to go.” So when I did that, of course, it got physical because they didn't want me to leave. I had my son come get me and I took what I could carry. And I’ve been homeless ever since.

Tamekia Gibbs

Rob Travis Jackson

Securing a spot in a shelter isn’t always straightforward: There are far fewer beds available than people who need them . And for those who get in, adjusting to life in the shelter is its own process.

Evelyn, 39, is a mother of two staying in the family section of the mission : When I first got here, I was so mad, so angry, so hurt that I was even put in this position. To be a single mom and have two kids and be out on the streets, it’s very worrisome because they tell you if you don’t have a place, then C.Y.S. [Children and Youth Services] can take your children. Even going to them for help it was like: “Well, if you don't have a place, then we can’t do anything for you. But legally we can take your children.” And it was like: “No, I don’t think so. You’re not taking my children.” So I was scurrying around trying to find shelter for them.

Jennifer Berrie, 45, was staying in an overnight-only shelter before Water Street : I miss little things you don't even think of. People complain like I used to about cooking, but then you can’t do it for a while and you miss it. Going to bed when you want, not having a curfew, just, you know, living your life. The freedom.

Tamekia Gibbs : There are the ladies that are talking about each other. They’re just doing a lot of backbiting, and when you have that in a community, it causes a lot of friction and tension. I try to stay away from it, I hunker down, do what I’m supposed to in my classes. I stay busy. I tell the ladies: “I came here broken. If I can do it, you can do it.”

In addition to addressing the housing crisis and deepening investments in mental health and drug treatment services, the residents of Water Street believe it is critical to treat people in their situation with dignity and empathy.

James Costello : This is a human condition. Humans have to solve it. Politics can't do that. And that’s the main problem. With the government it is not going to happen. They’re always going to be wanting money. “Where are we going to get the biggest buck?” And as long as that goes on, this problem is going to get worse.

Rob Travis Jackson, 59, became homeless after a financially draining divorce : It’s a little scary to think about what life might be like for any of us after we leave Water Street. If you’re here for a year, you’ve had three meals and three hot meals available through the seasons of the year. And what does my life look like after I leave?

Levon Higgins : Some people who come across hard times, it’s because they maybe lost a job or some mental issues that happened. But that’s not how the world sees it. When they see, they automatically assume: “He’s a drug addict. He’s an alcoholic. They don't want to work. They don't want to do nothing.” And that can’t be further from the truth. They just want some help. People get scared to ask for help because they’ve been denied so many times.

descriptive essay about a place called home

Scroll to read what people who are living through homelessness actually want.

If you were in charge, what would you do to stop homelessness?

Clyde Hohn, 52, lives in an encampment in Nashville.

Layla, 9, a fourth grader who is navigating homelessness with her mom and three siblings.

Frankey Daniels, 32, lives out of his car in Los Angeles, where he also works two jobs.

Tamekia Gibbs, 48, hasn’t had stable housing since 2016.

We kept in touch with some of the people we met through our reporting. During the months of producing this project, we heard about their triumphs and their setbacks. Fred Moore was on the verge of receiving Section 8 housing when we met him in Nashville. After 12 years of homelessness, he moved in last September. “I’m still not adjusted to it. I’m like a baby in a crib. It seems easier, but really it’s a lot harder,” he said recently. “At the apartment, I get cabin fever staying in it so much. I miss being outside a lot because you get fresh air. It gets summer time, I might throw up a tent around town and stay there a few days out of the week. It’s hard to pull away from this kind of life, being homeless.”

In October, after Mr. Moore moved into his apartment, the encampment where he had lived was razed by the city. That same month, Nashville provided transitional or permanent housing to 191 people who were once on the street— and 373 people became newly unhoused.

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