The Descriptive Essay

October 31, 2019 The Different Types of Essays

Students in colleges and universities can expect that a good proportion of their assignments will take the form of essays. Essays are a standard in academic coursework, , though the types and styles may vary greatly. Confusion about styles of essays can hold students back, and an understanding of the expectations for each type is a valuable tool. While the basics of a thesis statement and overall style doesn’t change from type to type, the way information is handled and portrayed can be vastly different.


The descriptive essay is often described as a combination of a definition essay (in which the author endeavours to define an idea or article using examples, anecdotes and comparisons) and a narrative essay (in which the author shares a personal experience using a creative writing style and tone). Each of these styles is written from a subjective viewpoint, but the narrative essay uses a descriptive and creative style to convey the main point and is focused on a personal experience, while the definition essay uses anecdotes, without calling on a flowery or descriptive creative writing style.


The descriptive essay falls somewhere in the middle, and this can be confusing to students. Like a definition essay, the focus is on a single concept or item, but more reminiscent of a narrative essay, there are fewer restrictions on creative language and imagery. While following the standard progression of an essay, the descriptive essay uses expressive language to convey an engaging description that the reader can envision and experience through their reading.