Writing Descriptive Essays

A good descriptive essay describes the content so well that it brings out the five senses; smell, touch, sight, taste and hearing.  To achieve that, students must readily be equipped with fantastic descriptive phrases to facilitate their writing.  These phrases are most easily adapted from novels or narrative texts.

I have collected a list of such phrases from books and narrative writings that I have come across.  For students who are attempting descriptive essays or those preparing their PSLE, these phrases will be very useful to incorporate in your essay.

Descriptive phrases

  1. Multitudinous stirring of leaves

Describes how the leaves move, before an impending storm or when the wind blows 

2. Trees swayed and strained

Describes how strong the wind is that trees are almost uprooted

3. Wind howled like a crying banshee

Describes the blowing of the wind to that of a howling ghost to emphasize creepiness

4. Air screamed as though it was packed with attacking demons

Describes the forceful nature of wind

5. Pelting down bullets of rain

Describes a heavy rainfall

6. Roofs of houses peeled away

Describe the destructive nature of a hurricane or tornado

7. Parting traffic like a knife

Describe how a vehicle, most likely an ambulance, navigates through heavy traffic during an emergency

8. Eyes dilated in terror

Describes a terrified look of a person

9. A spasm of terror ran through him

Describes how a person is overwhelmed by terror

10. Eyes crinkled up in a wide smile

Describes how a person’s face brightens up in joy

11. A mounting pressure of tears

Describes how a person is overwhelmed with emotions 

12. Heart hammering in my chest

Describes the forceful beating of the heart

13. Body glistened with sweat

Describes the texture of the skin moist with sweat

14. Face tight with pain

Describes the expression of a person in pain

15. Heart leapt to my mouth

Describes how a person is so suddenly shocked

16. Multitude of colours

Describes a variety of colours