CoverObjectivesThe Writing ProcessAddressing the PromptPrewritingWritingRevisingOriginalityTimed Writing 1Integrated Writing 1Essay Shape and OrganizationIntroduction ParagraphsBody ParagraphsConclusion ParagraphsA Shifting StructureExample EssayTimed Writing 2Integrated Writing 2Descriptive EssaysExample Descriptive EssayPrewritingWriting: Word ChoiceSources: QuotingRevisingRevise a Descriptive EssayCreative WritingTimed Writing 3Integrated Writing 3Personal StatementsExample Personal StatementTypes of Personal StatementsOrganization For Comprehensive Personal StatementOrganization for Personal Statement with PromptRevisingWriting: DevelopmentExample Personal StatementMini-Writing: Formal EmailsTimed Writing 4Integrated Writing 4Problem-Solution EssaysExample Problem-Solution EssayPrewritingWriting: UnitySources: SummarizingRevisingRevise a Problem-Solution EssayMini-Writing: ReviewsTimed Writing 5Integrated Writing 5Argumentative EssaysExample Argumentative EssayPrewritingWriting: CohesionSources: ParaphrasingRevisingRevise an Argumentative EssayReflectionsTimed Writing 6Integrated Writing 6Using SourcesFinding SourcesCitationsReference Page


Understand the assignment

Descriptive Essay Prompt

In your essay, you will need to describe a person and show why the person was important. You can choose to either write more formally about a famous individual or more creatively about someone you actually know.

Your essay should be 1-2 pages long, double spaced. This is not a traditional five-paragraph essay. The goal of this writing task is to provide as much description as possible in a limited amount of space.


A Google search for a general topic like "famous inventors" might be a good place to start if you aren't sure who you want to write about.

Example formal categories could include the following:

  • Artists
  • Scientists
  • Musician 
  • Business owners
  • Political leaders
  • Religious leaders

If you prefer to write about someone you know personally, you can brainstorm as well.

Example personal categories could include the following:

  • Living family member
  • Ancestor
  • Community leader
  • Local religous leader
  • Employer or coworker/colleague
  • Friend or roommate

Choose your focus

Because this essay will be a maximum of 2 pages long, make sure to focus in your description on one aspect of the person you will describe. Do not attempt to include more than one of the following in an essay of this length.

Focused description ideas

  • Physical characteristics
  • Personality
  • Accomplishments or contributions
  • Anecdote (short story that shows rather than tells us about the person)


Start with your thesis. What is the most important information you want to share about this person? Then consider how many paragraphs you will write (about 3 total). What descriptions best support your thesis? Use those descriptions as your topic sentences.

Add questions or quotes to help you develop each of your ideas. Think specifically about how to introduce your audience to someone they do not know. Even if you chose a well-known person as your topic, approach your essay as if you know your audience has never heard of that person. 


Your introduction should start immediately with a thick description. A thick description means that rather than saying She is a teacher you will create an image with your words like Mrs. S is the type of teacher that you always feel comfortable around, and you know she deeply cares about the success of each and every student.

Do not attempt to create an entire life history in your short essay.

At the end of your introduction, you should state your thesis. The thesis should describe the person in specific terms.

Thomas Edison became one of the most well-known inventors due to his ability to solve problems, collaborate, and persevere.

1 Exercise: Revise thesis statements

Revise each thesis statement to be more effective.

  1. People remember Abraham Lincoln.
  2. I will explain in detail the reasons why Amelia Earhart was special.
  3. The wonderful and amazing results that Hellen Keller achieved make me like her.
  4. Leonardo Da Vinci thought differently than others and I will show you how this is true in the following essay.
  5. Walt Disney, a famous businessman who found Walt Disney Productions, did a lot of contribution that is very remarkable, such as motion-picture production, Innovative animator, and create the cartoon character Mickey.
  6. Christopher Columbus was the first European person who discovered America continent with the help of the King and Queen of His discovery changed the life of the native people in America as well in the old world also, his discovery changed the world.
  7. William Tyndale changed the world because he translated the Bible.
  8. Mother Teresa will always be remembered as one of the most influential and loving people, even though she never married, but she served people and did many things to improve their lives and situations.


Your body paragraphs should give reasons and evidence to support your thesis. As you outline your body paragraphs, make sure you include clear topic sentences that support your thesis.

Shorter essays may only need 2-3 body paragraphs.

Consider the following example:


Your conclusion paragraph should start by restating your thesis. Then you should discuss your person more generally and connect back to what you described in the introduction. End your conclusion with a closing statement.

2 Exercise: Complete an outline

Use the topic sentences to create the thesis and restated thesis for this outline for a long essay.

Thesis statement:

  • Section 1: Discoveries
    • Topic sentence: Isaac Newton discovered gravity.
    • Topic sentence: Isaac Newton discovered laws of motion.
    • Topic sentence: Isaac Newton discovered the color spectrum.
  • Section 2: Influence
    • Topic sentence: Isaac Newton influenced the work of Lagrange.
    • Topic sentence: Isaac Newton influenced the work of Albert Einstein.

Restatement of thesis: