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    (February 5 and 6,2003 )



What Does it Look Like?
Four Rules of Description

February 5 and 6, 2003


Good descriptive writing follows four rules. We'll look at the four rules tonight, and then write a description from an interesting and unusual point of view.

1. Observe the world around you carefully.

This is the most important rule of all.

2. Form a central impression.

What do you see, in general, when you observe? You may note that a person's room is very messy. This is your central impression.

3. Now, select specific, concrete details to support your impression.

In the messy room are three pairs of dirty socks strewn across the floor. On the desk, a brown banana skin is beginning to grow a dull green mold.

4. Finally, organize your details.

For a messy room, you might start with eye level, then move to what you see on the floor.


Think of a place you either dislike or like very much. Imagine it. What do you observe? Form a central impression (for example, messy) and then choose three details. Organize your details.

Write a 125 word paragraph on the place.

Teacher Writing Sample for this topic.

Please also visit your Advanced Composition Class Page where you can access current and past lessons.

For more assignments, visit our Assignment Archive

More Student Writing:

A Place to Live
Atala writes a beautiful descriptive paragraph about her grandmother's house. Full of lovely detail using all the senses, it ends with song lyrics from Louis Armstrong.  February 28

Free Tranquilizer
An excellent descriptive paragraph about the delights to be found at Central Park in Burnaby. By a former student who wishes to remain anonymous.  February 1

An Ordinary Day
Far from ordinary, Octavia's paragraph captures the sights and smells and sounds of an outdoor market. Sensuous writing with excellent detail! January 16

The Place I Long For
Jana's rich description makes it easy to imagine the peace she finds at a favourite place.  December 13

The Mosquitoes on Campus
Couch writes an amusing story of meeting the new, much smarter, urban mosquito!  November 28

Nothing Came to My Mind
Tina has written an intriguing narrative paragraph about finding quiet contemplation time in her car on an autumn day. November 9

A Smart Pig
Annie's amusing paragraph contemplates what it would be like to be a pig, but only for one day! 

Hanging Up the Clothes
Short paragraph with lots of detailed description. 

How to Reduce Stress
    Short essay in five paragraph standard style.

Smells of the Sun
Short paragraph demonstrating the use of the senses in writing.

Advice to New Students of the PALC
Lucky gives some straightforward and useful advice to new students. 

The PALC for Improving Your English
Ciprian has some good advice on how the PALC can help you with your English skills.




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