Writing to describe is a very important skill for both English literature and English language students, and may be extremely useful in all kinds of academic essay writing, from writing to describe GCSE to dissertation writing amongst many others. Unlike the similar styles of writing to , writing to describe uses very different assignment writing techniques and must be tackled with completely different skills. Read on for top tips on what to include in your descriptive writing.

Writing to describe: adjectives and adverbs

argue, persuade and advise

These are extremely important in writing to describe, as the marks available for this type of writing are almost all awarded for detailed, tangible description. So, every time you write a noun or verb, ask yourself if it would be possible to squeeze in an unusual or attention-catching adjective or adverb before or after it. Your descriptive writing will immediately improve, as shown in the example below:

“The sun shone down on the heads of the children and the waves washed up on the sand.”


“The scorching sun shone fiercely down on the shining heads of the exuberant children and the sparkling waves washed up merrily on the sugar-soft sand.”

Writing to describe: metaphors and similes

These are both techniques an examiner will be looking for in your writing to describe, not only at GCSE but at all academic levels. A metaphor describes something by suggesting it is something else:

eg. “The sea was a glimmering mirror”

Whilst a simile compares something to another object:

eg. “The waves roared like a hungry dragon”

Writing to describe: five senses

One of the most common essay writing mistakes when writing to describe is to forget the other senses and only describe what you can see. You will get much higher marks if you can remember to include details about smells, sounds, feelings and tastes too! Imagine yourself in the place or situation you are describing and try to think about your whole body and what it would be experiencing. Translating those experiences to the page in as much detail as possible is the art of descriptive writing.

eg. “The wet sand squelched coldly between my toes and the sharp tang of the salty water stung the back of my throat, taking my breath away.”

Take these top tips on board and your writing to describe should come on in leaps and bounds!