Skip to main content
K12 LibreTexts

1.3: Place

  • Page ID
    6515
  • Much like a person descriptive essay, the most important aspect of a descriptive essay about a place is your reason for writing it. Consider all of the places you have been to in your life -- not only the places you have visited on vacation but also those that you visit in everyday life. Every day, or at least during the school week, how many different places do you go to? Most likely, you would start your day at home before leaving for school. Do you stop to get breakfast or coffee along the way or do you stop and pick up a friend? While you would spend the majority of your day at school, do you leave campus to get lunch? How about after school, do you go straight home or do you go to a friend’s house or to a local hang out? Considering all the places you visit in one day, which would you pick to write about and why? These are the most important questions to answer when writing your place descriptive essay, and answering them will help you decide the organization of your paper.

    The organization of a descriptive essay about a place is much like the organization of a descriptive essay about a person. Thus, there are two main organizational schemes that you can choose from when composing a descriptive essay about a place: one that focuses on certain characteristics of the place or one that focuses on a specific event (or set of events) related to a place. For instance, for the first type of organization, you would focus on the reasons, or characteristics, that indicate why you enjoy, or dislike, a place. For the second type, you would focus on the events that explain why this place is important to you. For example, if you were writing a descriptive place essay about Disneyland, these are the two ways in which you could organize your paper.

    Below is a table detailing the two types of organizational schemes.
    Organization Type Characteristics Event
    Criteria
    1. Rides
    2. Food
    3. Atmosphere
    The last family vacation before your older sibling went to college and moved out of the house
    Explanation You would organize your paper around the main reasons why you enjoy Disneyland with each of these characteristics serving as a body paragraph. You would organize your paper around this event and how it has made Disneyland more important to you.

    While it may not matter which type or organization you choose, you must always make the place the focus of your paper. Thus, be sure the events are characteristics you describe in the essay do not outshine the importance of the place they are describing. For instance, following the example above, when discussing the rides at Disneyland, do not focus too much on rides at other theme parks. While comparing the rides at Disneyland to rides at other theme park rides does stress how much better they are, do not let the rides at other amusement parks overshadow the rides at Disneyland. Additionally, remember to stress why the place being described is important to you regardless of the organizational scheme you choose.

    Review Questions

    1. Write a descriptive essay about your home town. Describe the town and indicate why it is important either to you or to society as a whole.
    2. Write a descriptive essay about one of the original towns settled in New England by the early colonists (i.e. Massachusetts Bay Colony). Describe the location and environment of the town, paying close attention to how the location of the colony was integral to the colonists’ survival.
    • Was this article helpful?