How to Write a Descriptive Essay Outline

How to Write a Descriptive Essay Outline

The structure for a descriptive essay usually has five paragraphs. These paragraphs include one introduction section, three body sections, and a final conclusion section.

The number of paragraphs is determined by the number of points you will discuss in your descriptive essay outline. The first step in creating an effective outline for your essay is to understand what a descriptive essay entails.

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A descriptive essay aims to create a vivid picture in the minds of the readers. It describes a person, event, object, or process. This essay appeals to the readers’ senses like taste, sight, hearing, touch, and smell.

A writer needs to use these senses to create a clear picture for the reader. Below is how to create an outline for a descriptive essay

How to write a descriptive essay outline

The process of creating an outline for your descriptive essay requires you to understand what is a descriptive essay outline. This outline can be described as a structure that enables you to organize your thoughts logically.

It gives your essay a better flow from one idea to the next. The following are components of a descriptive essay outline

1. Introduction paragraph

A brief and interesting introduction of your topic is usually in the first paragraph of a descriptive essay. This first paragraph serves the purpose of giving your readers an idea of what your paper is all about.

It gives them some background information on what you are about to discuss in the main body of your paper. The introduction of your descriptive essay is very critical as it will make your paper stand out from the rest, depending on how you write it.

The first few sentences are vital as they will determine whether a reader will be interested enough to read your whole paper. Here is what your introduction paragraph must contain.

Hook sentence

How to Write a Descriptive Essay Outline

A descriptive essay should have exciting stories and vivid descriptions that are interesting to readers. A reader must find your essay interesting enough from the start so that he or she can get deeper into the exciting text.

The first few sentences at the beginning of your introduction should lure your readers into reading the whole paper. The right hook that works well with your text and resonates with your audience will do this perfectly.

Background Information or Context

The readers need to understand what you will be discussing in your paper and why it is essential. Background information helps to put your topic in context immediately after the hook sentence.

Descriptive essay thesis statement

A short and concise thesis statement will work well for your descriptive essay. Make sure it includes what you are describing and the purpose for doing so.

A thesis statement is the main idea of your essay, which is the basis of your paper. Everything you discuss in your paper should be connected to your main idea, and this makes your thesis an essential part of your essay.

In summary, your introduction should have a hook, background information, and a descriptive essay thesis statement. Here is an essay outline example for an introduction paragraph
“I enjoy visiting great places and having exciting experiences. The beach is a beautiful place with warm sand and fresh air that helps me remember my childhood memories. I usually experience this when I am walking slowly towards the sea. On the beach, you can enjoy a beautiful place, do some exercises and unwind.”

2. Body Paragraphs

The body section of most essays has three paragraphs. In your descriptive essay outline, each paragraph should discuss a point.

Present your arguments, evidence, and examples for the points you will discuss. Start your body paragraph with a topic sentence.

This usually introduces your first point of discussion, and it is connected to your thesis statement. Add descriptive details and appeal to your readers’ senses.

Finish each body paragraph with a concluding sentence which is a transition sentence that introduces the next paragraph. It is important to use transitions in your paragraphs to give your essay a smooth flow from one point to the next. The structure of your body paragraph should have

• One topic sentence
• Two or three supporting arguments, including evidence and examples
• One concluding sentence

It is important to note that the first body paragraph of your descriptive essay outline should be the strongest. This means it should discuss your strongest and most potent point.

The opening paragraph in the body section of your essay should have the most vivid example and an obvious topic sentence. The second paragraph might not be very strong, but your last paragraph should be the most persuasive.

3.  Conclusion paragraph

In the final paragraph of your descriptive essay outline, summarize all your major points discussed in the body section. Restate your thesis statement in this section but paraphrase it.

Your concluding paragraph should include a reflection of the main purpose of your work. Give reasons for discussing the subject and how it has impacted you.

State the importance of your paper and highlight key points in the essay. Close your discussion with an overall concluding sentence. This sentence reinforces the overall purpose of your paper and leaves your readers with something to think about.

Descriptive essay example: concluding paragraph

“I always look forward to going to the beach where I interact with different people. I love looking at the waves and enjoying the warm sand. The beach brings happiness and joy, and with some great snacks, the fun is always priceless. There is no other place I would rather be. The beach is where everything happens. That is why it is my favorite place.”

Descriptive essay outline template

The outline provides a guide on how to write your essay. Below is a template that shows its components


• Hook statement
• Background information / Context
• Thesis statement

Body paragraph 1

• Topic sentence 1
• Claim 1
• Evidence
• Concluding sentence

Body paragraph 2

• Topic sentence 2
• Claim 2
• Evidence
• Concluding sentence

Body paragraph 3

• Topic sentence 3
• Claim 3
• Evidence
• Concluding sentence


• Restate your thesis statement
• Summarize your main points
• Provide an overall concluding sentence

Proofread your work

Proofreading is an essential part of your writing process, and you should do it after completing your draft. Writing that has grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes lowers your credibility as a writer and leads to low grades.

Make sure you check your work and edit it thoroughly. You can use spell-checking software to correct grammar and spelling mistakes.

Check your work to ensure it flows smoothly from one point of discussion to the next. Verify that relevant examples and evidence are placed correctly in the text.

Descriptive essay outline example

The following example shows the various parts of a paragraph and how you can structure your work to give it coherence. A descriptive essay can talk about almost anything, and in this example, you will see how the writer describes her mother.

Paragraph 1 Introduction

Topic sentence – “I will always appreciate what an extraordinary influence my mother has been in my life. “

Summary of main points – “My mother has always taught us the importance of learning, giving back to the community, and traveling.”

Paragraph 2 First supporting point

Transition sentence –“ My mother’s love for learning is most evident in travel.”
Supporting point – Her mother’s love for learning
Evidence – Learning through travel by using the example of a trip to Paris

Paragraph 3 Second supporting point

Transition sentence – while I have always enjoyed and treasured the opportunity to travel with my mother abroad, my life has been impacted by her giving to the community.

Supporting sentence – Her mother giving to the community
Evidence – Her mother’s leadership and dedication in supporting the less fortunate children. The example given is her mother attending meetings and fund drives to help educate and pay tuition for poor families.

Paragraph 4 Conclusion

Transition sentence – “Everything my mother has done has been as a result of her convictions and the thought behind it.”

Reiterate the main points – “She has created a passion for learning in my life and a desire to always give back to the society.”

Concluding sentence – “Next year, I will travel to a new city and possibly engage in some volunteer activity. My mother is truly my hero.”
Full text
“I always appreciate what an extraordinary influence my mother has been in my life. My mother always has interesting discussions about giving, travel, and learning. She always has time for her five children, and she is a community leader. She assists in most projects that aim to help the needy. My mother has always taught us the importance of learning, giving back to the community, and traveling.

My mother’s love for learning is most evident in travel. I was only eight when I traveled to Paris with her. In Paris, we sat together every night and read beautiful stories about Paris and the History of Paris.

While I have always enjoyed and treasured the opportunity to travel with my mother abroad, my life has been impacted by her giving to the community. My mother has offered exemplary leadership and dedication to supporting the less fortunate children. I have accompanied my mother several times to meetings and fund drives. The fund drives help educate and pay tuition fees for poor families.

Everything my mother has done has been a result of her convictions and thoughts behind it. She has created a passion for learning in my life and a desire to always give back to society. Next year, I will travel to a new city and possibly engage in some volunteer activity. My mother is truly my hero.”

Tips for writing and reviewing a descriptive essay outline

Descriptive essay writing has several steps that you need to follow to come up with a high-quality paper. The first step is to ensure you follow all the instructions provided by your instructor. The following are tips that can help you when writing your descriptive essay

1. Pre-writing stage

The first thing you need to do is to select a topic for your descriptive essay. Finding a descriptive topic for your paper is not hard.

A descriptive essay topic can be anything from your favorite meal to a celebrity. Make sure the descriptive essay topic that you choose will spark your imagination.

Pick an interesting topic that will be exciting to research and write about. This way, your readers will enjoy reading your paper.
Examples of descriptive essay topics
• My mother is my favorite person
• Why the beach is my favorite place to visit
• The day I will never forget.
• My trip to Paris

You can describe an object or a place that you have a special connection with or an emotion depending on your choice of topic. The topic you choose can have a personal approach or a formal approach.

2. Perform In-depth research

How to Write a Descriptive Essay Outline

Research your essay topic and find out relevant and important information about it. Note down the important information, evidence, and examples from your research.

This information is what you will include in your first draft, which is your descriptive essay outline. In your researching process, look for descriptive words to paint an image for your readers.

A descriptive essay should appeal to the senses of your audience and evoke some emotions. Note down descriptive words and use them correctly in your essay.

3. Writing your introduction

The beginning of your writing should be powerful and engaging enough to capture the attention of your audience. The hook may include a unique metaphor or an interesting quote that will make your readers want to read more.

4. Create an outline

Write your descriptive essay outline to help you organize your thoughts logically from one point to the next. It will enable your readers to follow your line of reasoning and give your work a good flow. A descriptive essay outline sample can help you get insights on how to create your own descriptive outline.

5. Write your draft

Write down everything that comes to your mind after noting down your key points. In this stage, you do not have to edit anything.

Write down every detail as the thoughts flow from your mind and imagination. You will edit later and narrow down your text to the most relevant and meaningful information according to your topic.

6. Add details

Enrich your paper with powerful descriptive words that will engage your readers. Online dictionaries and other tools can help you find English vocabulary that is a perfect fit for your essay.

Add missing feelings like hearing, taste, or emotions using these vocabularies and make your essay as descriptive as possible. This will leave your readers with a lasting impression.

7. Edit your paper

After writing everything you have in mind and using all the information from your research, you need to edit your work. Proofread your work and correct grammar and spelling errors using online software tools.

Edit your writing and narrow it down to the most important information. Remove any unnecessary details concerning your subject.

Look at the descriptive essay examples and evidence in your work and make sure they fit where you have placed them otherwise, edit or remove them. Check the tone of voice and make sure it is right.

Ensure you have used your transitions effectively so that your descriptive essay smoothly moves from one point to the next. Take a break before coming back to reread your work one last time before submitting it to your instructor. A fresh mind can see errors that you could not see previously.

Checklist for your descriptive essay

A checklist will help you to ensure you have met all the requirements of your paper and it is ready for submission. Here are areas you need to pay attention to

1. Check the purpose of your paper

Check your paper after you finish proofreading and editing it to make sure you have accomplished your purpose. The first thing you need to do is to cross-check your work with the instructions your instructor has provided.

In case you are unsure, you can consult him or her and get clarification on the matter. Next, you can look at this general checklist to make sure your work is thoroughly done.

2. Check your introduction

Check your first paragraph one more time and verify whether you have provided your readers with enough context. If not, add relevant information to ensure your readers understand what you are talking about.

3. Easy to read text

Read your paper out loud. Find out if your paper is easy to read or complicated words that will confuse your readers.

Check your vocabulary and make sure you understand the meaning of the words you have used in your descriptive essay. In case there are any irrelevant vocabulary or complex phrases, delete them. Make your text easy and enjoyable to read.

4. Check the descriptive language

A descriptive essay should use descriptive language as required otherwise, it can become boring. Look at the descriptions you have used and make your essay as vivid as possible by using enough details on your subject.

5. Check the conclusion

Check your final paragraph. This section should be impactful, and it should leave your readers with a lasting impression. Make your readers remember your essay even after they finish reading it.

Purpose of a descriptive essay outline

When you use a descriptive essay outline, you can organize your work well and produce a high-quality paper. Proofreading, editing, and counter-checking your work becomes faster and easier.

You can find a descriptive essay outline pdf sample online that will give you inspiration in coming up with one. There are two main approaches that you can use when writing your descriptive essay. They include

Personal essay

This is where you describe your personal experience to your audience using your emotions. Readers can empathize with you depending on the experience you choose to write about.

Highlight aspects that fully express your experiences when writing a personal essay. Write your essay using vivid and creative language.

Formal description

This type of descriptive writing aims to pass information on some key points or describe something in detail. The description of a subject uses a clear, descriptive essay outline.

It uses a specific category of information to create a clear image of the subject. Ensure the language you use is not too formal so that your paper can be engaging and not dull.

Key takeaway

A descriptive essay outline is a roadmap that helps you to craft your essay in a professional style. A good outline will ensure your readers follow your line of reasoning from the start to the end of your paper. It ensures that you have outlined all your major points, vocabularies, and descriptions so that you do not forget to include them in your essay. An essay structure helps give your work a good flow and coherence from one paragraph to the next and makes reading enjoyable to your audience.

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