A Student in Ibadan Passed Descriptive Essays at One Attempt: See the Secret


Whenever the writer paints a picture of someone, something, or a place in speech or in written forms aimed at making listeners or readers (audience) see, smell, hear, taste, and feel the person, the thing, or the place we are describing, what takes place is a description.

 The Concept of Descriptive Essays


A descriptive essay is a piece of composition in which the writer describes an object, a person, a place, or an incident. Mostly, the writer paints a vivid picture of what he or she knows to the readers. In a descriptive essay, there are three aspects to describe. They are listed below.

  • Description of a person;
  • Description of a town; and
  • Description of an object or a thing.

We should first discuss the general hints about descriptive essays below.

General Hints to Note

  1. Use rich vocabulary effectively to describe sounds produced by a person. In some cases, the following words may be possible – moaned, chanted, thundered, muttered, giggled, shrilled, chuckled, etc.
  2. Make sure that suitable tenses that will bring about orderliness in the presentation of facts are highly used. If the event had happened, use the past tense but if it is an everyday occurrence, then you can use the present tense.
  3. Clarity of expression is necessary.
  4. The writer must try as much as possible to describe and lay emphasis on them.

Description of a Person

Whenever you talk about what a person looks like, you are describing him/her. Therefore, a description of a person is a type of description that paints a vivid picture of a particular person.

While describing, you should give the name of the person, and it is important to know the person you are describing. The following features should be put in order in the description of the person:

  1. physical appearance;
  2. characters;
  3. achievements;
  4. educational background; and
  5. your evaluation of him/her.

 Processes in Describing a Person

 Step one: Write a title.

The first step is to write the title. Look at the examples below.

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My Best Friend/The Man I Admire Most

 Step two: Write an introduction.

 After the title, start a paragraph introducing the physical appearance of a particular person being described. You may begin this type of description by mentioning the name.

Even if the person is known by a popular appellation in the community, such an appellation may be mentioned. Some of the physical appearances that are necessary to consider are as follows:

  1. facial lookout;
  2. height/size;
  3. complexion;
  4. physical frame or shape;
  5. clothing;
  6. manner of walking;
  7. physical disability if any, etc.

Learn from the following paragraph:

        The man I admire most is Kola Owolabi. Kola is a little bit slim and 4 feet tall. He is fair in complexion and his beard is so full that the face is almost covered with hair. The result is that his nose, eyes, and lips all appeared rather small. Kola, most of the time, likes wearing English dresses: black trousers and different shirts, jeans, and T-shirts, a fine suit complemented by imported black or brown shoes. He walks rather fast and he is mentally balanced.

You must discover that the features itemized under step two above are described.

Step three: Write the body of the description (1).

Another paragraph will be described characters and personality traits. Some of the characters and personality traits include the following:

  1. honesty;
  2. manner of speaking;
  3. social life;
  4. religious lives and values;
  5. generosity, kindness, truth worthiness, peace-loving;
  6. dignity, sense of justice, intelligence, discipline, etc.

 Learn from the example below.

         I admire Kola most because he is generous, kind, and philanthropic. Kola has affected the lives of many people around him positively. He has met the needs of people. If Kola Owolabi discovers that someone is suffering or experiencing any calamities or difficulty, he will not be pleased until he finds a lasting solution to the problem(s). He is also humble, peaceful, and peace-loving. It has not been recorded that Kola disrespects elders, even those who are his mates. He maintains peace whenever he is and treats people equally. Kola is a devout Christian, who teaches his colleagues about the fear of God and sensitizes to them that everything in the world is vanity.

You should discover that the itemized characteristics above are described.

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 Step four: Write the body of the description (2).

More paragraphs, where the achievements of the person, will be described. The achievements may include the following:

  1. What he has done or his fame for giving scholarships to you, bringing amenities to the community, bringing improvement to churches/mosques, bringing honor to his country.
  2. Is he a philanthropist, helping the needy in society?
  • It is also important to describe his educational background in a separate paragraph.

Learn from the paragraph below.

         Kola Owolabi is a well-known philanthropist in his community. He is the father of boys because he does help the needy. In the churches, the mosques, and the communities, he is identified for his generosity. Kola Owolabi has headed some groups and he has a good record: when he was at the university, he was a financial secretary/treasurer of the Students’ Union Government (SUG). Now, he is the Chairman of Sterling Trust Bank.

      Kola Owolabi attended L. A Primary School, New Eruwa between 1987 and 1992. He went further his education at the Baptist Grammar School, Eruwa, and the University of Ibadan where he studied Educational Management.

Kola’s achievements and educational background have been described so far in the paragraphs above.

Step five: Write a conclusion.

In this paragraph, you will say why he is your best choice and the person you can emulate. Learn from the paragraph below.

   I admire the man most because of his moral and religious conduct. And I believe that our society will change for the better through good morals, peace-making, generosity, kindness, etc. if people we can emulate Kola Owolabi’s qualities.

Format for Describing a Person


The man I admire most is Kola Owolabi. Kola is a little slim and…                                                        I admire kola most because he is generous, kind and

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Kola Owolabi is a well-known philanthropist in his community.

This makes all his friends and…

Kola Owolabi hails from a good family. He attended L.A. Primary

School, New Eruwa between…

I admire the man most because of his moral and religious conduct. And…

Practice Question

An institution in your country is organizing an essay competition on ‘The man or woman I admire most.’ Write your entry (SSCE.GCE Nov. 84)

Author: Deola Adelakun

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