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Descriptive Paragraph Handout

1st Year Modern English

1. What is a descriptive paragraph?

A descriptive paragraph makes the reader see, feel, hear, taste and smell
something that we have seen, felt or heard. Whether we’re describing a
person, a place or a thing, out aim is to reveal a subject through vivid and
carefully selected details.

2. What are figures of speech?

Authors often use figures of speech (called figurative language) in descriptive
writing to help the reader visualize the topic that the writer is talking about.

3. Definitions and examples of figurative language:

1. Imagery: Descriptive writing that appeals to the five senses (touch, sight,
smell, hearing, taste). Select sensory adjectives to describe the noun.
Example: The hot July sun cast an orange glare over the ocean waves.
The slimy brown banana has been sitting out in the
sweltering hot sun all day.
Sensory word examples: hot, sweltering, frigid, cold light yellow,
dark, red, bright green, sweet, bitter, delicious, crashing, blaring,
beeping, loud, quiet, rotten, fresh.

2. Metaphor: Comparing two unlike things without using like or as.

Examples: That boy is a pig.
You are being a baby.
The green trees are an endless ocean.

3. Personification: Giving human traits or characteristics to something that

isn’t human.
Examples: The willow tree shook her long hair.
The bridge’s bright white arms reach out and hug the land.
The mountains stand tall in the distance, holding up the
green trees and bright, orange houses.

4. Simile: Comparing two unlike things using like or as.

Examples: You are acting like a baby.
He felt like a bug under a microscope.
His temper was as explosive as a volcano.
Teacher’s Example:

The View from my Balcony

The view from my balcony is spectacular. The Millennium Bridge rises up

like the mast of an ancient ship. The bridge’s bright white arms reach out and hug
the land below. The trees are an endless ocean of green, bending their long, thin
branches in the wind. The mountains stand tall in the distance, holding up the green
trees and bright, orange houses. During the day, the sweltering yellow sun shines
down on the bright landscape. At night, the full moon illuminates the night sky.
During all times of the day and night, the sounds of honking cars, laughing people
and loud music ignite the air with movement and energy. The view from my
balcony is beautiful and it makes me feel like I am home.


Select two topics below and write two different descriptive paragraphs (1 topic
sentence, 3-4 body sentences and 1 conclusion sentence) using at least ONE
example of a metaphor, ONE example of simile, ONE example of personification and
at least THREE examples of sensory words.

1. Your favorite restaurant
2. Your dream house
3. Your memory of a place that you visited as a child
4. A car accident scene
5. An unusual bedroom room

Please write your paragraph on a paper that you can hand in to the professor.
Thank you!