There are several methods writers use to describe something in an essay. They may choose vivid, fresh language, or they may use examples, or they might take something ordinary and by comparing it with something extraordinary, make it interesting, or they may use their senses.
When someone asks you to describe something, the first step you might take is to jot down the first words that come to you. If I say "egg," for instance, you might write down the following string of associations: "round, white, brown, fresh, scrambled, farmer, chicken, goose, over-easy." But another student might write down "ostrich," while yet another chooses "dinosaur." Then a medical student might chime in with "ovulation, zygote, baby." At some point, someone else may take it a step further and mention "fragility." The point is that the one little word "egg" can conjure up a number of associations, all coming at the subject in a different way. So when you are asked to describe an event or a person, start with the obvious, but don't stay there.
- A well-focused subject can be ordinary or extraordinary, but you should strive to make it as interesting as possible by emphasizing what makes it interesting or new and unusual. Pick something specific, an event or a person or an animal.
- How you treat your subject is directly related to how your reader will react to it. Give plenty of specific descriptive detail. If you're describing an event, watch people moving and hear them talking. Create a dominant impression for your reader.
- Create a clear pattern of organization. Your introduction should work from general to specific, ending in a thesis sentence. You should have several paragraphs that develop and describe your topic, and your conclusion should restate your thesis or conclude your event.
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