Delightful Descriptive Writing Exercises and Worksheets

Descriptive writing is an attempt to give a clear description of people, places, objects, or events using descriptive language and informative details. Descriptive writing exercises can include:

  • brainstorming
  • word sorting
  • sentence writing with pictures
  • transitions exercises

1 Descriptive essay outline template

This is an essay outline worksheet to help students focus on organization and planning when preparing to write essays. It helps them write clearly and logically.

Descriptive essay box outline

Descriptive essay outline template  (PDF)

2 Brainstorming for a descriptive essay about a place

This is an English language writing exercise for students to brainstorm ideas for a descriptive essay.

Brainstorming descriptive writing ideas

Brainstorming descriptive writing ideas (PDF)

3 Descriptive writing word sorting (with answers)

This is an exercise that helps students expand their vocabulary and shows them that there are many words available to help them write more creatively and with more attention to detail.

Descriptive writing word sorting

Descriptive writing word sorting (PDF)

4 Essential shapes vocabulary

This worksheet is designed to help students learning English become familiar with vocabulary for shapes. Students match the vocabulary to the pictures. 

descriptive writing essay worksheets

(download PDF)

Related Resources:

6 narrative essay writing templates and worksheets

8 comparison/contrast templates and exercises

10 cause/effect writing activities

11 essential basic exercises for paragraph/essay writing 

3 kinds of exercises for teaching transitions

5 Descriptive sentences practice

This is an English language writing exercise for students to practice writing descriptive sentences. Students look at the pictures and try to write between two and five sentences.

Descriptive sentences writing exercise

Writing descriptive sentences (PDF)

6 The Weekend Market (descriptive essay transitions with answers)

This is a transitions and linking words exercise for a descriptive essay. Well placed transitions help make essays easier to read and understand.

Descriptive essay transitions exercise

Descriptive essay transitions exercise (PDF)

(see the video on YouTube)

7 Descriptive Paragraphs ( transitions exercise with answers)

This is an English language exercise to help students understand transitions.  Students try to fill in the blanks with the words below each paragraph.

Descriptive paragraph transitions exercise

Descriptive paragraph transitions exercise (PDF)

descriptive writing essay worksheets

14 Replies to “Descriptive writing exercises and worksheets”

Necesito saber las respuestas del ejercicio 4 porfa???

Great resource! Thank you

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These have been some wonderful exercises for my students as we learn descriptive writing.

terima kasih

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Very useful. Thank you.

great worksheets

It is a wonderful teaching writing source. I thank you!

The content is awesome… Very apt for beginners. Thank You

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Descriptive Writing Worksheets

Language arts categories, free weekly worksheets, worksheets by email, what is descriptive writing.

When it comes to writing in English, there are thought be four different types of pieces. These include expository, persuasive, narrative, and descriptive. In this section, our focus will be on descriptive writing. As its name suggests, this type of English writing gives a clear and concise description of everything. Be it a location, character, event, or object; this writing describes everything in a way that it creates an image in the minds of the readers. The description should be of a form that evokes the senses in a reader. Learning the skills of descriptive writing can benefit students in a multitude of ways. It teaches the students the art of expressing through writing. By adding details, they can excel in expressing through writing. It also helps them enhance their vocabulary bank as describing something in detail requires a writer to have a vast bank of words in their minds.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Imagine That...

You are given as simple scenario to work through. Once you soak that in, give three details about how this happened and what you will do next.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Concrete Descriptions

Write three details about this picture in the boxes below. Then write a descriptive paragraph using these details on the next page. Use as many adjectives as necessary to give concrete descriptions.

How to Ensure That Your Writing is Descriptive Enough

Let us face it; writing is not everybody's cup of tea. You have to have that knack for creativity that would help you in your writing. In case you have been struggling with your descriptive writing, you may consider these tips to keep your words flow in all the new ways. Make use of Analogies and Figurative Language. From analogies to keeping the use of metaphors subtle, you may hone your descriptive writing skills. Most writers utilize figurative language while they are at writing descriptions. However, you may ensure you are not going overboard. Chances are it might only make your writing forced and not true to your talent. Keep it Less Wordy So, this one is the most obvious! The overflow of words only makes descriptions forced and not creative. So, while you are creating descriptions, ensure you are not going too far adding words to your writing. You may take on the subtle approach. Construct sentences with few and the truest to the context words. Chances are you will find your writing a lot better and well-constructed than before.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Adjectives Say It All

Look at the picture. Write adjectives in the boxes to describe the picture.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Beginning, Middle, and End

LYou are given a topic and asked to flesh a complete paragraph for it.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Families Are Fun!

Fill in the organizer and use it to write a descriptive paragraph about your family on the next page. Circle all the adjectives in your paragraph.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Proud to Be an American

What makes you proud? Things I can do because I am an American. Descriptive words about America.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

An Endangered Animal

Name an animal that is endangered? Why? Descriptive words for the animal.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Global Warming

What is global warming? How does this happen?

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Things you like to do during summer. Descriptive words for summer.

How to Ensure You Write Descriptively

Descriptive writing is a tough art to master, and we have very few writers in history who have successfully adopted a descriptive writing style. You need to experience your surroundings to its core to write about it. Descriptive writers usually see things around them from a different perspective. They observe details that we generally ignore. The best part of descriptive writing is that a descriptive writer observes every tiny detail in the scene surrounding them and puts them artistically on the paper. There is a reason why descriptive writing is tough. Putting all the details together and writing them down on the paper so that the reader doesn’t lose their interest is surely an art. You must write down every detail you can observe to write descriptively.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Dinosaur Essay

A descriptive paragraph describes a person, place, or thing. Use words that help the reader to see, hear, smell, feel, and taste the subject. Write a paragraph about a dinosaur from long ago.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Your Favorite Dessert

What is it? Who makes it? How does it taste and smell? What does it look like?

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Interesting Person

Who is this person and what do you like about them?

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Descriptive Writing Prompt 1

Think about a place where you like to go to be alone. Write about this place and explain why you like to go there to be alone. Are there certain times in particular you like to be alone? How does this place help you?

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Writing Prompt 2

Describe a really fun day. Think about where you went and what you did that made it so fun. Describe the location, season, activities, etc. Use all of your senses to paint a picture for your reader.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Writing Prompt 3

If you could create your own country, what would it look like? Who would live there? What would people be like? What kind of food would there be?

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Writing Prompt 4

What is the best day you have ever spent with your family? What are the reasons why it was so special? Write a paper telling about the best day you ever spent with your family. Be sure to include three reasons to support why it was the best day. Be sure to use specific details to support each of your reasons. Use descriptive words and phrases to make your words come alive.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Writing Prompt 5

Describe your favorite room in your house. Why is it your favorite? What does the room look like? What kinds of activities do you do in this room?

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Writing Prompt 6

Everyone is afraid of something - heights, spiders or flying just to mention a few. What are you afraid of the most? What do you think caused this fear? Write a story about a situation in which you had to face your fear. Explain what you did to overcome that fear. Identify other fears you would also like to overcome.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Writing Prompt 7

What is one of the funniest things that has ever happened to you? Explain the event in as much detail as you can so that the reader understands what makes the event so funny.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Writing Prompt 8

Imagine you have just been given the name and address of a pen pal across the country. Your pen pal has no idea what you look like or who you are. Describe yourself to that person.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Writing Prompt 9

What was the proudest moment of your life? What made that moment so special? Use all of your sensory details to describe that moment.

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Writing Prompt 10

Write a story about waking up in a story. What would you do if you woke up in the middle of a story? What story would it be? Which scene would it be? What would you do to escape? How do the other characters respond to you in that scene? How do you react to the situation? How do you plan on escaping?

descriptive writing essay worksheets

Writing Prompt 11

Write about the worst day of your life. Think of a day in your life when everything seemed to be going wrong. Give at least three things that went wrong that day and explain each one using supporting details.

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Descriptive Writing Worksheets

Related ela standard: w.4.3.

We use descriptive writing to, do just as the name says; describe a noun in depth. We want to make the sure we write something in a vivid fashion to cover the entire scene for the reader. In order to pull this off we need to captures the use of our five sense and portrait that to readers. I often have my students use a flow chart to brainstorm the ideas and the writing process when working in a descriptive forum. The worksheets found below will empower students to use the descriptive technique when authoring their own works.

Descriptive Writing Worksheets To Print:

It's All In The DETAILS – They make just about anything more interesting. They also bring things to life.

It's in the Bag! – You have to have a plan for this worksheet. I would outline the approach you plan to take before you start it.

The Five Senses – If you want to make your work pop, include some sense words in it. Make things lively and fun.

Words That Have Sense... – At first, this seems like an easy task. It is more difficult than it looks.

What Makes Sense? – Match the picture to the words that fit it. Which sense is being used for each word that is present.

Break It Down – Underline the sentences, or parts of sentences, which help form the best visual mental picture.

Mystery Classmate – You are holding the name of a classmate. SHHHHH! It's a secret! You can find them for sure.

Seasons – Write one sentence to describe each of the four seasons with descriptive words (adjectives.) Use at least 3 adjectives in each sentence.

Self Portrait – Students are going to create a "self portrait with adjectives." You will get a strong sense of your students confidence with this sheet.

Sensory Paragraphs With Targeted Words – You are going to build an idea for a paragraph using the organizational template.

It's a Smile – These are some well-known and often used similes.

Smell and Taste It – You need to use adjectives that make your friend experience the smell as vividly as you did when you first experienced the odor.

All Five – Think of something you have tasted. It can be a good taste or one that is not so tasty.

Paint a Picture With Words – Fill in the blanks using the appropriate parts of speech. You do not have to make the first noun a "cat."

When I Grow Up – Time to think ahead to your future. Even grown ups have fun with this one.

More Descriptive Worksheet Topics:

Descriptive Paragraph Writing

Precise Words and Relvaent Details

Habits of Highly Effective Descriptive Writers

Any time you put together a descriptive piece, you need to put as much description as you can in there for your readers. You need to be Rembrandt with a writing tool. You need to hit their sense of smell (make them feel the flowers through their nose), sense of taste (how delicious is it?), sense of touch (how sharp is it?), sense of sight (that is an easy one), and sense of smell (that is pretty easy too).

Descriptive writers employ the use of well stated figurative language. When you use an analogy to pinpoint the differences or likenesses in things, it can be very powerful. Similes and metaphors can also get the job done.

Good description are exact, they don’t leave anything to chance in the readers mind. You won’t find the use general words in a solid piece of work. For example, the sentence: The apple was shiny; needs a much deeper description such as: The vibrant apple was so shiny; you could see your reflection in it. I did go a little over the top with that one, but you get the point.

Elements to Include in a Descriptive Paragraph

A descriptive paragraph is usually written as a part of any story or essay and gives details about an event or person. Writing a descriptive paragraph is not easy since it requires a lot of observation and careful crafting of the ideas on part of the author. A descriptive paragraph helps readers in understanding things to the very core and makes an image in their head of whatever they are reading about.

The elements that must be present in a descriptive paragraph are largely dependent on what kind of descriptive information is being written in that paragraph. Here are a few types of such paragraphs and elements to include in them:

Elements to Include in a Descriptive Paragraph about a Person

A descriptive paragraph can be used to define a specific character, story or some important person from history. Such a descriptive paragraph should start with a description of the person’s individuality and standing in society. It can talk about the profession of that person or the role which is being mainly contributed by him in the story. Other elements to include about the person in a descriptive paragraph are his or her facial features, physical stature, clothing, some evident aspects of his body language, and things which distinguish that one person from other people in the story or essay being described.

Elements to Include in a Descriptive Paragraph about an Event

If a descriptive paragraph is describing details of an event, then it must include the reference to the era or the particular year in which it took place, the place of the event’s occurrence, the season at the time of event's occurrence, the settings of the place where the event took place, the people involved in the event, etc.

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Descriptive Writing

Here’s a huge variety of resources on descriptive writing: lesson ideas, graphic organizers, worksheets, and practice pages for book reports, how-to, science, and explanatory writing. Plus, activities for selecting sensory words, adjectives, adverbs, and interesting synonyms.




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8 Descriptive Writing Activities to Hone Your Students’ Language Skills and Creativity

These sentences get the point across: 

I could smell the peppers. It was dinner time. I washed my hands. 

But we can make them more detailed and engaging :

The sweet, burnt scent of roasting peppers hung in the air. I knew dinner was almost ready. I washed my hands, watching the dirt swirl around the sink and disappear. 

How do you get your ESL students from the first example to the second? By introducing them to the wonders of descriptive writing!

The descriptive writing activities listed in this post can be adapted for any age group and all levels of ESL learners. With a little guidance from you, your students will be writing wonderfully descriptive sentences in no time.

8 Activities for Introducing ESL Students to Descriptive Writing

1. transform non-descriptive sentences to descriptive, 2. describe a painting or picture, 3. describe an object, 4. describe a restaurant, 5. describe your best friend or family member, 6. describe a favorite food, 7. describe your favorite room at home, 8. describe your best or worst vacation, why teach descriptive writing to esl students, how to make students aware of descriptive writing, literary devices, the five senses, reading for imagery.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Here are some descriptive writing activities that will encourage your students to get creative with the English language! You can even tweak any of them to focus on certain categories of vocabulary words, such as food or travel. 

Prepare a worksheet with sentences that are rather basic and lacking description. Students must transform these sentences into more descriptive sentences. Remind your students to use their five senses and literary devices.

For example:

It was cold.→The air was frigid and I couldn’t feel my ears.

The car was red and fast.→The car was apple-red and could easily go 120 miles per hour.

Students can work individually or in pairs. They should share their sentences at the end of class.

Print out a selection of images. You can use famous paintings or photographs.

Assign a different image to each student, then ask them to describe it using their five senses, literary device and adjectives.

Give them a sufficient amount of time to think about it. Then, collect the images again and display them in front of the classroom. Students will then read their descriptions, and the rest of the class will try to determine which image the student is describing.

Let students choose an object and write a description of it for 10 minutes. Set a word minimum or maximum limit as needed and encourage them to be as descriptive as possible.

You can implement different guidelines. For example, “you can’t use any color names” or “you must use all five senses” or “you must use one literary device.”

Once they’re ready with their descriptions, students take turns reading their descriptions. The rest of the class must try to guess the object their classmate describes.

For this activity, challenge your students to write their own descriptive paragraphs. 

Have them describe their favorite restaurant. In a restaurant, all your senses are turned on and sight may be overwhelmed by smells and sounds .

At the end of class, ask for students to volunteer to share their descriptions before you collect their work.

This activity is great for focusing on other types of descriptions. In addition to describing appearances, students may also describe things such as mannerisms, feelings and characteristics .

Students should share their descriptions with the class.

I like this activity because it’s easy for students to simply describe the taste or sight of their favorite food, but they should also work on describing the smell of the food as it is prepared and the  texture  of the food in their mouths.

You can introduce different vocabulary related to food such as: salty, bitter, sweet and spicy.

Again, make sure you save time at the end of class for students to share their descriptions.

Another nice activity that gets students thinking is describing their favorite room in their home.

Students should think about size, colors, the atmosphere and furniture, among other things. Make sure you ask them to say why it’s their favorite room.

Save time at the end of the lesson for them to share what they wrote if they want.

This activity encourages students to bring their reader into the vacation. They must describe the setting, order of events and the people who were with them.

If you have time, encourage them to write about both a great vacation and an awful vacation, which will make them work with descriptions and words of both positive and  negative connotation.

Descriptive writing can be summed up in one short statement: Show, don’t tell. 

Descriptive writing creates a clear image in the reader’s head. It describes something or someone accurately and in a way that makes it come alive for the reader.

For ESL learners, practicing descriptive writing can not only enhance their writing but also be a fun and creative way to practice English. After all, descriptive writing exposes them to some of the more subtle and beautiful aspects of the English language, such as diverse vocabulary and literary devices like similes and personification.

Begin with explaining some of the general ideas of descriptive writing. Before students can write descriptively, they must understand the basics of descriptive writing.

Aside from having a solid list of adjectives and adverbs at their fingertips, they should be familiar with the following concepts:

Descriptive writing is more than just using adjectives and adverbs. Literary devices can help writers write descriptively.

Here’s a sample list of useful literary devices. Choose what you want to introduce depending on the level of your students: 

  • Alliteration: The repetition of a sound or letter in words close to each other.
  • Imagery:  The visual description of something.
  • Onomatopoeia: Words that sound like the sounds they describe.
  • Personification: Giving inanimate objects living attributes.
  • Simile: Comparing two things with the words “like” or “as.”

Practice using these devices by having students create individual sentences for each. Give students a chance to share their sentences with the whole class.

Another key element to good descriptive writing is using all five senses . Most of the time, students get into the habit of describing only what can be seen. However, it’s important to incorporate all of the senses: taste, touch, sight, smell and sound.

Write the five senses on the board, and list down relevant adjectives under each. Encourage students to share as many adjectives as they can think of.

Then ask your students to think of different ways to describe the classroom using different senses. What do they see? What do they hear? What does the classroom smell like? What does it feel like to sit in the classroom? Since the classroom has no taste (hopefully), for the taste column you can ask students to describe what they ate that morning.

Ask your students to write a few sentences individually and give them a chance to share with the class.

Another great way to introduce the idea of descriptive writing to your students is to have them read some examples. Read a descriptive passage (either your own or one you found online) and have students identify the literary devices and senses that are used.

Alternatively, you can give them two passages to compare and contrast, one that’s lacking descriptive language and one that describes the same thing, but more creatively.

Take it one step further by removing some of the descriptive language and asking students to use their own words to complete the passage.

These activities will really get your students thinking about writing and writing descriptively. And remember, get creative yourself! Descriptive writing can be applied to just about any topic.

Happy writing!

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descriptive writing essay worksheets

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