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Writing Projects » Key Words » Describe » Do Your Own

Get your assignment in front of you, then follow the instructions below. Type your answers to each task in the box below it. When you have filled in all the boxes, click on the button at the bottom of the page and you will be on your way to a completed project.

Step 1: Read your assignment carefully. What overall impression or feeling do you want your reader to have about your subject after reading your description?

Write your answer in the box below:

Step 2: What details could you include in your description to really make the subject come alive?

Think of as many details as possible and write them in the box below:

Step 3: Select one of the details from above and try to expand on it. Describe it as clearly as possible using images that appeal to the senses.

Often, writing instructors will urge you to show rather than tell when describing. This means using details that illustrate an idea rather than just stating the idea: instead of saying someone is old, you might say he went to school with George Washington. (We have more help on the difference between showing and telling.)

In the box below, fully describe one detail of your subject:

Step 4: Do you remember the way Joseph Brodsky compared the bells of Venice to a clattering teaset? In comparing these two unlike things (buildings and a teaset), Brodsky was using figurative language, one of the most powerful tools for writing description. When we use figurative language — simile, metaphor or personification — we can bring an immediate, sharp, visual quality to a scene.

Select one detail about your subject and try using figurative language to bring this detail to life:

Are you curious about how other instructors use description? CUNY Assignments gives some examples.

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