Description of your favorite place

1. You’ll post an outline and a description of your favorite place in only three paragraphs.

2. You’ll want to type an outline on Word or another word processor such as the free one offered by Open Office.

3. The essay is in MLA format (we’ll learn more about this later), so use this heading in the upper, left-hand corner: Your first name / Eng 100: Davis / Descriptive Essay / Date

4. Give it an original title, centered below the heading.

5. Don’t worry about the word count–focus on your sentences (should be 6-10 sentences in each paragraph) and paragraphs (only three).

6. Size 12 font. Single-spaced is fine. Don’t worry about inserting page numbers.

7. When you paste your outline and essay into the discussion, it may lose some formatting. Do make it look respectable, as we’ll all read it. To edit your post, click the gear icon then “Edit.”

8. Your description will include the five senses.

9. You will need to use some basic literary and rhetorical techniques (for a refresher, see the hand-out provided in the Course Information Module).

10. Read your essay aloud and ensure it’s smoooooth. Always think of your audience–your adoring readers and fans (a.k.a., your classmates and teacher).

11. Introductory paragraph: Open by stating where this favorite place is set (1-2 sentences). It can be anywhere, open or enclosed space. Make sure it’s a manageable location, of course. Give some background (3-4 sentences) about your history with this place. What makes it special to you? Close your Intro with a Thesis Sentence stating clearly what your essay accomplishes. It can be this literal: “This essay uses imagery and three rhetorical devices to describe my favorite place, ___.”

12. Body Paragraphs: You’ll write two paragraphs of 6-10 sentences each. Each paragraph include some of your senses: the abilities to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. Don’t forget to label these senses using brackets, e.g., [SIGHT].

13. Within the Body Paragraphs, you will also use four literary/rhetorical techniques: personification, simile, metaphor, and alliteration. Don’t forget to label these techniques, e.g., [SIMILE].

14. Conclusion: Instead of a conclusion paragraph, here simply write a closing, summative sentence at the end of your second body paragraph.

15. After you’ve typed up an outline and written your first draft, go back and proofread, revise, and produce a second draft. You will want to proofread and revise your essays multiple times. Fyi: I used to proofread and revise my essays ten times or more. I’d often notice typos and minor grammar edits, and I’d usually move around body paragraphs to create a more fluid and logical reading experience.

16. Think of this as an exercise down memory lane. You’ll be posting to the Discussions for everyone to appreciate.

17. It will be graded based on how well you follow the directions.

18. You’re not required to reply to classmates or comment on their writing unless you wish to.

19. Full points for following these instructions and for writing a mechanically sound description.

20. Think of this week’s descriptive essay as a warm-up writing exercise, though the essay should still be polished to the best of your ability at this time.

21. One prohibition: please choose a location more original than Disneyland or Disney World. Most readers already know these places. Thanks!

Sample outline and description mini-essay


I. Introductory paragraph

1. Opening about New Orleans

2. Background about my first visit

3. Thesis sentence stating purpose of mini-essay

II. First body paragraph about the French Quarter

1. Transition phrase and topic sentence stating main idea of paragraph

2. Supporting details

i. Sight

ii. Smell

iii. Taste

iv. Alliteration

3. Conclusion to paragraph

III. Second body paragraph about the cemeteries

1. Transition phrase and topic sentence stating main idea of paragraph

2. Supporting details

i. Metaphor

ii. Sound

iii. Personification

iv. Simile

3. Conclusion to paragraph and to mini-essay


J. H.
English 100–Prof. Davis
Descriptive Essay
September 5, 2016

The Big Easy

My favorite place is New Orleans, Louisiana, specifically the French Quarter [OPENING]. On my first trip here, I was a very young adult traveling for the first time on a business trip. New Orleans enchanted me on that first visit; I couldn’t wait to return [BACKGROUND]. Please accompany me down memory lane to my favorite place. This essay conveys the magic, majesty, and tragedy of New Orleans using my personal experience and four rhetorical terms [THESIS SENTENCE].

Let’s visit the French Quarter first [TRANSITION PHRASE & TOPIC SENTENCE]. The intricate scroll-work of the wrought iron balconies and gates, the beautiful gardens and parks with elaborate statuary, and the grand St. Louis Cathedral are all picturesque [SIGHT]. The smells [SMELL] here can overwhelm the senses: seafood and heavy pepper in the jambalaya; damp, swampy odors from the waterfront; the aroma of thick cigarette smoke and booze from any bar in the Quarter at any given time. Comparable to the rich smells are the flavors [TASTE], for tantalizing treats tempt every tongue [ALLITERATION]. Thus, you have experienced the French Quarter as I have [CONCLUSION].

Next, let’s visit the many cemeteries [TRANSITION PHRASE & TOPIC SENTENCE], known as “Cities of the Dead,” for they are the New York skyline [METAPHOR] of cemeteries, each with massive mausoleums and headstones. Even in the cemeteries, a saxophone can often be heard [SOUND] wailing [PERSONIFICATION] into the wee hours of the night. The music drifting over the tombstones is like [SIMILE] the keening of a mother whose child has been sold; tragically, New Orleans was once the biggest slave market of the south. New Orleans is a haunting place, appealing to our emotions and senses in so many ways. It calls me now to visit again [CLOSING].