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descriptive paragraph


Descriptive paragraph
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What is a descriptive paragraph?
? A descriptive paragraph colorfully describes a person, event or object with enough details for the

reader to visualize it.

A verbal picture!!

Example
? Watson and the Shark is a painting by John Singleton Copely. In the foreground of the painting, one naked man is being attacked by a huge gray shark in the cold and choppy(波浪起伏的) seawater. One small overloaded rowboat is near the naked man and the frightening shark. There are nine horrified men in this rowboat, who are trying to rescue the naked man. One young man takes a long spear and wants to kill the shark. Some people are reaching for his hand, and some are throwing a rope for him to catch. In the background of the painting, under the dark and cloudy sky, there are many ships stopping in the stormy harbor. The whole painting makes people feel tension and fear.

Watson and the Shark

Types of Descriptions
? subjective description
description of the subject √ reaction to the subject √

? objective description
description of the subject √ reaction to the subject ×

Purpose
? The purpose of descriptive writing is to make our readers see, feel, and hear what we have seen, felt, and heard. ? Whether we are describing a person, a place, or a thing, our aim is to reveal a subject through vivid and carefully selected details.

Two common methods of ordering details in descriptive writing
? Spatial arrangement (organize details according to their physical location) ? Least/most arrangement (organize details in increasing or decreasing order, according to some quality or characteristic, such as importance)

Elements of an Effective Descriptive Paragraph
? ? ? ? ? Topic Sentence Supporting Sentences Sensory Description Unification Coherency

Topic Sentence
? An effectively written descriptive paragraph should start with a sentence that states, in no uncertain terms, what the paragraph is about.

Example
? The first thing I noticed in the bride’s room is the beautiful curtain. This curtain is patchwork in design, and is made by stitching(缝) lots of different squares of material together in interesting color combination. The predominant color in the curtain are white, light green, russet(黄褐色), brown and orange. It is made of silk, which shines softly in the lamp light. Trimmed with delicate braids, it is about six feet long, and hangs from a wooden rail, which has round wooden rings at intervals along it. The curtain matches perfectly with the dark wooden rail and furniture in the room.

Example
? My most valuable possession is an old, slightly warped blond guitar--the first instrument I taught myself how to play. It's nothing fancy, just a Madeira folk guitar, all scuffed and scratched and finger-printed. At the top is a bramble of copper-wound strings, each one hooked through the eye of a silver tuning key. The strings are stretched down a long, slim neck, its frets tarnished, the wood worn by years of fingers pressing chords and picking notes. The body of the Madeira is shaped like an enormous yellow pear, one that was slightly damaged in shipping. The blond wood has been chipped and gouged to gray, particularly where the pick guard fell off years ago. No, it's not a beautiful instrument, but it still lets me make music, and for that I will always treasure it.

Supporting Sentences
? The sentences that follow the topic sentence should support the main idea of the paragraph. In a descriptive paragraph, these sentences should include description that proves the statement you made in your topic sentence.

Example
? The first thing I noticed in the bride’s room is the beautiful curtain. This curtain is patchwork in design, and is made by stitching(缝) lots of different squares of material together in interesting color combination. The predominant color in the curtain are white, light green, russet(黄褐色), brown and orange. It is made of silk, which shines softly in the lamp light. Trimmed with delicate braids, it is about six feet long, and hangs from a wooden rail, which has round wooden rings at intervals along it. The curtain matches perfectly with the dark wooden rail and furniture in the room.

Sensory Description
? Sensory description are words or phrases that allow the reader to form a picture in his head. While these additions can make any piece of writing more colorful, they are absolutely paramount in a descriptive paragraph. The most effective descriptive paragraphs appeal to multiple senses, allowing readers to feel as if they are experiencing the described object for themselves instead of just reading about your experience.

Five senses
What do What do What do What do What you see? you hear? you smell? you taste? might you touch or feel?

Example
? Telling: The room was vacant. ? Showing: The door opened with a resounding echo that seemed to fill the house. Cob webs once attached flowed freely in the air as the open door brought light to a well worn floor. The light gave notice to the peeling paint on the walls and to the silhouettes(轮廓)once covered by pictures. The new air gave life to a stuffiness that entrapped the room. Faded and torn white sheets covered once new furniture now drowning in dust.

Sense—hearing

? Senses used: ? Hearing-sight-smell-sight

Unification
? A descriptive paragraph must be unified to be effective. For a paragraph to be unified, it must be centered around one main idea instead of encompassing an assortment of concepts.

? For example, if writing a descriptive paragraph about your book bag, you shouldn't also include details about your new binder or your trip to school as these are extraneous and do not belong in your unified, book bagdedicated paragraph. If these elements are necessary to your composition, they should be placed in separate paragraphs.

Coherency
? To effectively communicate meaning, a descriptive paragraph must be coherent. If a paragraph lacks coherency, readers will not be able to understand the information you are trying to convey.

? Use Transitional Words ? Connect your sentences in in a descriptive paragraph with transitional words. ? This type of word allows you the ability organize and link your elements of the paragraph together. ? This also signals that the details in the paragraph proceed in a logical order.

Transitional words and phases between details
Common spatial arrangement transitions Common least/most Arrangement transitions

? ? ? ? ? ?

above beside inside next to nearby beneath

below in front of outside behind on the other hand to the west,etc

? ? ? ? ? ?

Most important Particularly important Especially Above all Even more Best of all

Tips for writing effective descriptive paragraph
? Use one dominant impression ? Use specific adjectives, adverbs, and vivid verbs, consistent with the dominant impression ? Through the impressions of one’s senses ? Use transitional words ? Try moving your reader through space and time chronologically

? The beach was deserted. ? The remote, rocky, windswept beach was deserted. ? The applicant greeted the job interviewer. ? The nervous, insecure applicant greeted the cool, polished job interviewer.
Specific adjectives!!

A description of Mr. Scrooge in A Christmas Carol
The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. Vivid Verbs!!

John Fante Ask The Dust
? In silence we reached the Palisades, driving along the crest of the high cliffs overlooking the sea. A cold wind sideswiped us. The jalopy teetered. From below rose the roar of the sea. Far out fog-banks crept toward the land, an army of ghosts crawling on their bellies. Below us the breakers flayed the land with white fists. They retreated and came back to flay it again. As each breaker retreated, the shoreline broke into an everwidening grin. We coasted in second down the spiral road, the black pavement perspiring, fog tongues licking it. The air was so clean. We breathed it gratefully. There was no dust here.

You should
? 1.find and explore a topic ? 2.draft a descriptive paragraph ? 3.revise, edit, proofread

Drafting a Descriptive Paragraph
? Begin the paragraph with a topic sentence that identifies your prized belonging, and briefly explain its significance to you. ? Next, describe the item in four or five sentences, using the details that you listed after probing your topic. ? Finally, conclude the paragraph with a sentence that emphasizes the personal value of the item.

Summary
? http://video.about.c om/grammar/Howto-Write-aDescriptiveParagraph.htm


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