Depiction of something in words can be drastically different. You can make your descriptive essay dry, arid even, but still manage to present an object. Or you can add shades and halftones, vivid comparisons, and activate your reader’s imagination. Both styles are valid and depend on your goal.
If you are planning to write an ardent and impassioned essay, you better use the following techniques! They are not too complex and require only your imagination and vision. Of course, you can combine several techniques for the ultimate effect. But you want to write a perfect portrait or a scenery, not put random stains on the canvas of your essay, right? Thus, remember about balance and don’t overuse the power of depictive constructions.
1–2: Metaphors and Similes in Descriptive Essay
Both figures of speech we mentioned show the likeness of two objects. So, you and your reader(s) learn about something through collations and comparisons. Speaking of metaphors! Their functioning is nothing more than referring to one object by mentioning something else. For instance:
- For my family, our pets are the brightest light of our life.
- The cold blade of her gaze forced everyone around to obey.
- He spoke about true feelings, but the mirror of his soul had a web of cracks.
So, metaphors can be loosely anything. Of course, the collation should be demonstrative and point out something that your object has.
A simile is like a metaphor, but with it, the writer compares two distinct things. For example, you can say that your character is like a sly fox. Or the distorted chant sounded like a broken radio.
The main difference from metaphors here is the usage of the following words:
This figure of speech means replacing a word with another word(s). The new word defines an object or phenomenon that has a connection to the first word. Of course, both words have a close association. For instance:
- a hired gun (which originally is a firearm but now means a mercenary or a soldier);
- snobby suits (a suit is an attire, yet this phrase defines an elitist lawyer or business executive);
- the bench made a decision contrary to its heart (bench is a thing to sit on, but here it is judiciary workers).
By the way, some metonymies are so common that we don’t notice them anymore. For instance, what do you imagine hearing the word Hollywood? Objectively, it is nothing more than a particular district. Yet, the first association most people have is the film industry. Or take a look at the combination of the White House. Objectively it’s a building, a residence. Yet, some people say this referring to the president and their colleagues.
4–5: Hyperbole and litotes
Even though descriptive essays should represent something objective, no one cancels occasional dramatizing. Moreover, drama and escalation are not the only purposes of hyperbole. With this powerful descriptive tool, you can emphasize something significant in your essay. For instance:
- There were so many protesters in the square as if every citizen had come.
- She was waiting eons of time for her wife to come, but Angela vanished.
- Rivers of tears flowed after the declaration of war.
Litotes is the same tool for emphasizing, but it functions vice versa. If hyperbole makes something big look vast, then litotes make something small look tiny. Yet, note that experienced writers use litotes carefully. This thing greatly understates something that can be important or at least adequate. For instance:
- The big and aggressive-looking dog was so polite, she couldn’t bite worse than a gnat.
- The cries of the haughty king sounded like the squeak of a puppy.
- No matter how hard the writer tried, his works were just a drop in the sea of literature.
This is a rare thing in essay writing that can do great things. Climax means escalation, yet it’s hasteless, so the reader’s studying the text resembles a measured climb up the stairs. Also, it adds dynamics, which makes the essay text more compelling and vivid. Here are some examples:
- Their decision didn’t affect a town, a region, a country, it would become the fate of the whole world.
- Hope, passion, and then unconditioned love for this place: that is what motivated her to go further.
- True-hearted, loyal and devoted, the dog would never leave his human.
7: Oxymoron (Sometimes Called Oxymora)
This figure of speech feeds on the friction of contrasting concepts. Even though combining ambivalent words has to give rise to contradictions, it’s never like that. On the contrary, paradoxes only make objects look much brighter. For example:
- This wise fool smiled when others cried in sorrow and blubbered when everyone enjoyed the ball. So, no aristocrats paid attention to him, even though they should have.
- Fiery ices of this horrific place didn’t let anyone light the bonfire in time.
- The pleasing pain after that hard victory made the new queen smirk when she drove her sword into the ground.
Various techniques can make your essay shine. Diversify it as you wish, yet, remember the significance of equilibrium. And when your descriptive essay looks too dry, don’t be shy to add at least a couple of listed techniques! Take it as a tool to draw a new masterpiece with mere words and enjoy your essay writing assignment.