Barbara P.
Barbara P.

The Different Types of Descriptive Essays You Should Know

13 min read

Published on: Aug 3, 2023

Last updated on: Aug 5, 2023

types of descriptive essay

Have you ever been assigned a descriptive essay but didn't know how to approach it? Have you ever been confused about what topic, tone, and style you should use? 

This often happens when you are not clear about what type of descriptive writing you need to write. 

But don't worry, you're not alone! 

The key to overcoming this challenge is to understand the types of descriptive essays and how to write them effectively. Knowing the types is crucial to crafting an effective piece. 

In this guide, we'll explore the different types of descriptive essays and provide you with examples to help you understand better. 

So, let's dive in!

Descriptive Essay Definition

First thing first, what exactly is a descriptive essay?

Descriptive essays can be defined as a type of writing that involves vivid descriptions of a subject. The subject of a descriptive essay could be anything, such as a person, object, place, or memory. 

The purpose of a descriptive essay is to engage the reader's senses and emotions, providing them with an immersive reading experience. This is done by providing sensory details, including sight, taste, touch, and smell. 

Expert Tip

Want to dive deep into descriptive writing? Start with this ultimate guide to writing a descriptive essay.

Types of Descriptive Essay Based on Tone

Descriptive essays can be personal, creative, and subjective. However, there are also those descriptive essays that are academic, formal, and use an objective tone.

Let's discover what are these two types of descriptive essays.  

Personal (Subjective) Descriptive Essays

A personal descriptive essay is a type of descriptive essay that is written from a subjective point of view. 

They focus on describing the author's personal experiences and feelings toward the subject. It can be a person, place, or experience that holds personal significance. You can also explore your memories and associations in a subjective descriptive essay.

This type of essay often includes personal anecdotes, feelings, memories, and reflections. These essays are written in first-person, which helps the writer connect with the reader on an emotional level.

Features of Personal Descriptive Essays

Here are some distinguishing characteristics of personal descriptive essays:

  • Subjectivity: Personal descriptive essays are subjective in nature. That is, they reflect the writer's personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions. The writer's voice and perspective are essential to the essay.
  • Emotional Impact: The goal of a personal descriptive essay is to create an emotional impact on the reader. The writer conveys the emotions and experiences involved in the subject, creating a powerful connection with the reader.
  • Description of the Subject: While personal reflections are important, these essays also  provide an accurate account of the subject. 
  • Narrative Structure: Personal descriptive essays often follow a narrative structure that follows a logical and coherent sequence. They contain a cohesive and engaging story that draws the reader in and keeps them interested.

Personal Descriptive Essay Examples

Here are some examples of personal descriptive essays:

Tips for Writing Personal Descriptive Essays

Do you want to write your own personal descriptive essay? Check out the tips below to help you write better subjective descriptive essays.

  • Choose a Topic that Resonates With You:

It's important to choose a topic that you have a personal connection to. This could be a place you've visited, a person you know well, or an experience that had a significant impact. 

By choosing a topic that is personally relevant, you'll be better able to describe your experiences in a relatable way.

  • Use Personal Reflections: 

Your voice and perspective are essential to the essay. You should include your personal experiences and emotions that show your strong connection to the subject.

  • Focus on the Subject: 

While personal anecdotes and reflections are necessary, it's also important to focus on the subject being described. Make sure your essay provides an accurate account of the subject while still conveying your personal experiences.

  • Maintain Engaging Tone:

There is no need to use formal or academic language in personal descriptive essays. You should write in a simple and informal tone that engages the reader and catches their interest.

Formal (Objective) Descriptive Essays

A formal or objective descriptive essay is a type of essay that requires a factual and unbiased description of something. It is usually written in the third person and does not focus on personal opinions or emotions. 

The purpose of a formal descriptive essay is to provide an accurate and informative description of the subject matter. It is often used in scientific and technical writing, where objective and factual information is essential. 

For instance, you could write a formal descriptive essay about topics like:

  • Describing the architecture of a building 
  • Describing a scientific experiment
  • Or Describing a historical event, etc.

Features of Formal Descriptive Essays

Formal descriptive essays are characterized by certain features that distinguish them from other types of descriptive writing. Some of their key features include:

  • Objectivity: Formal descriptive essays are focused on providing an objective and factual account of the subject being described.
  • No Personal Biases: Formal essays focus on the subject itself rather than the writer's personal experiences and emotions. This requires a more formal and structured approach to writing.
  • Detail: These essays pay close attention to detail and provide a rich and detailed description of the subject.
  • Clarity: Formal descriptive essays require clear and concise language that is easy to understand, avoiding ambiguity and confusion.

Formal Descriptive Essays Example

Check out some examples of this type of essay to improve your understanding.

Tips for Writing Formal Descriptive Essays

Following the tips below can help you improve your formal descriptive essays.

  • Choose an Appropriate Topic:

Select a topic that you can write about objectively and without bias. For example, if you are writing about a place, choose a location that you can describe using concrete and factual details.

  • Research the Subject:

Conduct thorough research to gather all the necessary information about the subject you will be describing. This will help you to write an accurate and detailed essay.

  • Use Objective Language:

When writing a formal descriptive essay, it's important to use objective language. Avoid using emotional or subjective language that could introduce bias. Instead, focus on using descriptive language that paints a clear picture of the subject.

Difference Between Formal and Personal Descriptive Essays

Formal (objective) and personal (subjective) descriptive essays differ in many ways. Here is a table that shows how the two types of descriptive essays compare and contrast with each other:


Formal Descriptive Essay

Personal Descriptive Essay


Objective and Impersonal

Subjective and Emotional


To inform

To share personal experience


Formal and precise

Informal and conversational


Organized in a logical way

Organized in a narrative way


Descriptions are factual

Descriptions are personal


Objective observations

Personal interpretation


Scientific Experiment

Travel memoirs

Expert Tip

Want to read some more engaging descriptive essays? Check on these descriptive essay examples!

Types of Descriptive Essay According to Subject

Descriptive essays can be written about a variety of subjects, including people, places, objects, events, processes, and experiences. Each subject requires a slightly different approach to descriptive writing, as they require different sensory details.

Let's explore the different types of descriptive essays according to the subject matter.

Types of descriptive essays -

Descriptive Essay About a Person

A descriptive essay about a person requires the writer to provide a detailed and vivid description of an individual. 

The essay focuses on physical attributes, personality traits, and other details. These details give the reader a clear picture of the person being described. 

These essays also include personal anecdotes and observations that reveal the writer's personal connection to the person being described.

You could write a descriptive essay about any person you feel a connection with, including:

  • People you know, such as friends, family members, teachers, etc.
  • Popular figures, such as historical personalities, celebrities, politicians, etc. 

Descriptive Essay About a Person Examples

Read these descriptive essay examples about a person and observe how they use descriptive language effectively.

Descriptive Essay About a Place

A descriptive essay about a place involves the use of sensory details to create a vivid and realistic image of a location. 

The essay focuses on using descriptive language to convey the sights, sounds, smells, and other sensory details about the place. 

The topic of this type of essay could be:

  • A city 
  • A building, 
  • A natural landscape 
  • Or any other type of place. 

Moreover, a descriptive essay about a place could be either a formal (objective) or a personal (subjective) descriptive essay. 

For instance, describing a historical building as a part of your architecture program could be a formal essay about a place. Whereas describing a wildlife reserve that you once visited would be a personal essay.

Descriptive Essay About a Place Examples

These two samples of descriptive essays about a place provide an excellent example for you to follow:

Descriptive Essay About an Object

Writing a descriptive essay about an object requires you to provide a detailed and engaging description of any particular thing. 

These essays describe physical attributes, sensory details, and any other unique characteristics that make the object interesting. 

Here are a few examples of objects that you could write a descriptive essay about:

  • My favorite childhood toy
  • A historical artifact
  • A piece of jewelry with sentimental value
  • An antique furniture item
  • A musical instrument
  • A piece of technology that has impacted my life
  • A piece of art or sculpture

Descriptive Essay About an Object Examples

Want to read some examples of descriptive essays about an object? Check these out:

Descriptive Essay About an Event

Descriptive essays about an event aim to provide a detailed and vivid description of a specific event. 

This type of essay uses illustrative language to describe the atmosphere, emotions, and other aspects of the event. It focuses on those aspects that make the event important for the writer and interesting for the readers.

For example, a descriptive essay on an event could be about:

  • A folk festival 
  • A family reunion or holiday gathering
  • A religious festival
  • A wedding ceremony you attended
  • A graduation ceremony 
  • A charity fundraiser 
  • A political rally or protest 

Descriptive Essay About an Event Examples

Reading example essays is a better way to understand how descriptive essays about an event are written. Here are a few: 

Descriptive Essay About a Process

A descriptive essay about a process requires the writer to provide a detailed description of a process or activity. 

These essays focus on using sensory details to make the process come alive for the reader. That is, they use descriptive language to explain each step of the process in detail.

This type of essay is usually formal, as it requires you to describe a process accurately and objectively without personal opinions. 

Here are some topic examples of descriptive essays about a process:

  • A scientific experiment
  • A cooking recipe
  • How to build a birdhouse
  • The process of planting a garden
  • How to create a pottery piece from start to finish
  • The process of designing and printing a 3D object.

Descriptive Essay About a Process Examples

Check out the samples below to see how descriptive essays about a process look in practice:

Descriptive Essay About an Experience

A descriptive essay about an experience or memory is a deeply personal essay that describes the writer's personal experience.

It requires the writer to provide a detailed personal account of a particular experience or memory. This type of descriptive essay focuses on using personal reflections to convey the emotions, thoughts, and lessons of an experience. 

These essays are written about memories or experiences that are memorable and impactful to the writer. Also, the experience or memory being described should be relatable and thought-provoking for the readers.

Here are some example topics that descriptive essays about an experience could cover:

  • Overcoming a fear or challenge
  • Winning a competition or award
  • A life-changing event
  • A childhood memory that stands out to you
  • On my first day of high school
  • Learning to ride a bike
  • My most embarrassing moment

Descriptive Essay About an Experience Examples

Read these examples of descriptive essays about an experience: 

Expert Tip

Descriptive writing is used in many types of literary writing. Learn more about the forms of descriptive writing in our blog.

Descriptive Essays Writing Tips

Here are some tips that will help you write better descriptive essays in general, regardless of the subject of your essay.

  • Start with a Strong Introduction

Your introduction should grab the reader's attention and set the tone for the rest of the essay. You should use a hook to develop the reader's interest. You should also write a powerful thesis statement that makes the reader want to continue to the end.

  • Use Vivid Language

The point of a descriptive essay is to create a picture in the reader's mind. It requires you to use adjectives and adverbs that can accurately describe the qualities of the subject. 

  • Use Figurative Language

Metaphors and similes can help you create vivid descriptions that paint a clear picture of the subject. They can also help you create emotional connections between the reader and the subject.

  • Organize Your Essay

Organize your body paragraphs in a logical way that allows the reader to follow your thoughts and ideas. Use transition words to connect different sections of the essay and create a cohesive whole.

  • Edit and Revise

Once you have finished writing your essay, be sure to edit and revise your work carefully. Make sure that your essay uses appropriate language and that each paragraph contributes to the overall message of the essay.

Summing it up,

Descriptive essays are a great way to bring your writing to life and engage your readers. By understanding the features of different types of descriptive essays, you can create a powerful and memorable piece of writing.

Moreover, following the tips and examples provided in this guide will help you become better at writing descriptive essays. You can also read more descriptive essay examples to get an even better idea about descriptive writing.

So, start writing different types of descriptive essays and let your writing take on a new dimension!

Do you need experts to do it for you? We've got your back! 

Our expert descriptive essay writers at provide professional help writing all types of descriptive essays. 

With their expertise, you can be sure that your essay will be engaging, informative, and well-written. We can also help you with proofreading and formatting your essay to ensure that it meets the highest quality standards.

So contact our essay writing service? today! 

Barbara P.


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.

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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