How to Write a Descriptive Paragraph About a Person (With Examples)
  • 4-minute read
  • 7th January 2023

How to Write a Descriptive Paragraph About a Person (With Examples)

Describing a person or character is difficult for even the most successful authors. It requires a balance of words to make sure they shine through without the language being too heavy. In this article, we’ll look at how to write a descriptive paragraph about a person, share some examples, and talk about different strategies.

1.   Brainstorm Your Ideas

Brainstorming is crucial to any writing process. It’s the process in which you think of ideas for what you’d like to write about. In this case, you’re writing a descriptive paragraph about a person. It’s important to use adjectives to describe the features or characteristics you want to focus on.

One way to come up with ideas for a descriptive paragraph about a person is to go through the five senses. Use the questions below to get some ideas for what you want to highlight about your person.

Appeal to your reader’s senses – smell, taste, sound, sight, and touch

Smell: How does the person smell? Do they wear perfume? Are they doing an activity that would make them have a certain smell?

Taste: Do you associate a certain food with this person? Does it make you think of a specific taste? Can you taste something due to a certain smell they have?

Sound: Do they have a unique voice or laugh? Are they doing an activity that has distinctive sounds?

Sight: What prominent features do they have? For example, think about their dressing style, their smile, or their surroundings. What do you see them doing in your mind when you see a photo of them? What memories do you have of this person? Does this person remind you of something or someone?

Touch: What textures do you see? For example, imagine their skin or clothing. How does it feel if you hug them?

Pro Tip: While you can think of as many details or adjectives as you want during this part, try to focus on 3–5 details (this will depend on how long your paragraph should be). This way, you’ll avoid using too many adjectives in your writing.

2.   Begin With a Short and Snappy Sentence

Like with any type of writing, you want to hook your reader so that they want to continue reading. In this case, you can use a topic sentence, if appropriate, to introduce your reader to the person. For example:

The person I admire most is my mother. She is…

Or, if you want to be more creative, you can reel them in with a short and snappy sentence about this person. This is called a writing hook. This sentence should focus on a stand-out detail or characteristic about the person you’re describing. For example:

Christine’s hair is the biggest thing about her.

To get to know John, all you had to do was look at his hands. They never stopped moving.

She was the tallest woman I’d ever seen.

3.   Describe the Person

Now, this is the hard part. But, if you’ve brainstormed plenty of ideas and know which ones you want to focus on, it will be easier. Let’s look at some examples to get a better idea of how to write a descriptive paragraph about a person using the prompt “describe a person you admire.”

Example 1:

The person I admire most is my mother. She is of average height and has a pretty face. She has chin-length dark brown hair. Her eyes are like the color of honey in the sunlight. She often wears pretty floral dresses in the summer. Her smile shines like the sun, and her laughter fills the room.

Comments: This paragraph is pretty typical of most students. It gives lots of visual details of the person and uses a simile or two (“Her eyes are like the color of honey” and “Her smile shines like the sun”). While this strategy gets the job done, it’s not very exciting to read. In fact, it can be quite boring!

Let’s look at how we can rewrite this to make it more exciting.

Pro Tip: Authors have a saying, “Don’t tell me, show me.” This means that instead of saying “my mother is a beautiful and hardworking person,” you show the reader these qualities through your words. For example, “My mother has been up since 5:30 a.m., but there isn’t a hair out of place. That’s a typical morning. It’s my favorite part of the day. I love watching her put on her lipstick, wishing I could do the same, before she hurries out the door to leave for work. She throws me a bright smile and waves as I watch out the window.”

Example 2:

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She’s one of those people with a crazy laugh. You know the kind. When you’re sitting in public, and suddenly you think a fire truck is going by, but it’s really someone laughing their face off. That’s my mother. Except her laugh is more like a broken foghorn. At a certain point though, everyone in the room is laughing with her because of the absolute joy she radiates.

Comments: In this example, we focused on one defining characteristic of the person we are describing — her laugh. This strategy places more focus on the person you’re describing, rather than the adjectives you use to describe them.

Example 3:

She was the kind of woman that spent most of her time in the kitchen when hosting a party, asking everyone that passed through if they had enough to eat. She would keep to herself while everyone was talking and dancing, but as soon as someone would say, “Delores, what’s the recipe for this German chocolate cake? It’s the best I’ve ever eaten,” her face would light up with joy and pride. She would never tell her secret recipe, as it was her prized possession.

4.   Edit and Revise

After you write your descriptive paragraph, be sure to read it over. Read it out loud. Read it in a funny voice. Doing this will help you to hear the words and identify which parts do not work or sound awkward.

5.   General Tips for Descriptive Writing

●  Avoid using too many descriptive words.

●  Remember to show the reader, not tell.

●  Appeal to the reader’s five senses – smell, touch, taste, sight, and sound.

●  Focus on a striking or defining characteristic.

●  Use contrasting details from other people or surroundings for emphasis.

●  Use literary devices (metaphors, similes etc.) sparingly and with intention.

●  Use a hook to reel your reader in.

●  Use a variety of short and long sentences.

●  Practice creative writing exercises to improve your descriptive writing skills.

●  Always edit and revise your writing.

If you need more help with writing a descriptive paragraph or essay, send your work to us! Our experts will proofread your first 500 words for free!

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