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Unit 1: Planning your essayUnit 2: Structuring paragraphsUnit 3: Introductions & conclusionsUnit 4: Writing persuasivelyUnit 5: Writing cohesively

Descriptive writing

This section identifies the features of descriptive writing and explains why simple description of your main points is not what is expected in your essays.

Descriptive writing in argumentative essays

Descriptive writing is commonly used in academic writing where you are asked to describe or outline the way things are (for example, the features of a particular theory) or the way things happened (for example, a series of historical events).

Descriptive writing simply lists or catalogues information. It does not establish relationships between the pieces of information and does not present a position to be argued.

Descriptive writing does sometimes occur within the context of argumentative essays. However, because argumentative essays require you to do things like evaluate, analyse, interpret, argue, discuss or compare and contrast, descriptive writing can never be the primary component of this type of writing.

Descriptive writing also typically allows you very little opportunity to show your voice, that is, your interpretation of the source material and your point of view.