Descriptive Composition


- This type of composition requires the writer to describe something. The writer should be quite vivid in his/her description.


Describing a person

When you are describing a person, you are telling the reader something about him or her. The quality of your description will depend on your observation and on how well you can express yourself in writing.



Lucy Wamboi

This is Lucy Wamboi. She is very clever. She always comes top of her class. Lucy is often careless and looks untidy. Her blouse is never tucked in. One or both of her shoelaces are often missing. However, Lucy is kind and pleasant to everyone. For this reason, she is liked by the whole class.


Here is a detailed description of Dokatu

Dokatu is the oldest person in our village. Nobody knows exactly how old she is. She could be anything between eighty and one hundred years old. The effect of her age on her appearance is quite striking. She has hardly a single hair left on her head. Her eyes, though placed deep in their sockets,are still sharp and lively. Her mouth is a toothless dark opening at the centre of sunken cheeks. She seems to be chewing something all the time.

Dokatu often talks to herself as she walks along, bent double and supported by her walking stick. She often stops to count something on her fingers. People say that she still counts the great herd of goats she lost during the previous drought. They say she was lucky to have survived the drought herself.

Whenever you meet Dokatu, she will look at you with a lively sparkle in her eyes. Then she will ask you whether you have any tobacco for her to chew. If you give her some, she will shower you with blessings. If you don’t, you will receive a string of curses.


Describing a place

In describing a place, you need to use your five senses. Simply ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I see?
  • What do I hear?
  • What can I smell? How does it smell? Is it pleasant or unpleasant?
  • What do I feel? How does it feel?
  • What does it taste like?

The proper application of your five senses will give you a good description of a place.



The hotel

The hotel towered five storeys above the ground. My parents led me to the reception where we checked in and were given keys to our rooms. As we walked up the stairs, we went through the dining area, where we were greeted by a rich smell of fried fish, which made my hunger rise to a high pitch. The tables were covered in red, matching them well with the soft red carpet. On the next floor, a cool breeze came from a large open window which faced the sea, covering my lips with a salty taste. I could see a large ship on the far horizon inching its way slowly towards land.

Between the ship and the hotel you could only see stretches and stretches of a blue mass of water broken by an endless series of receding waves. When I opened my room, soft, piped music by Bob Marley welcomed us in...


The bus station

Five o’clock found me at the central bus station, waiting to board a bus to Kikuyu. The place was full of buses ferrying people to and from the suburbs of Nairobi. The evening sun had lost its sharp edge as it slid behind the city’s tall buildings. But the bus station was hot and stuff y. The air was filled with diesel smoke emitted from exhaust pipes. The smell of diesel mixed with a strong stench from the public latrines gave me a throbbing headache and a feeling of nausea.

Bus No. 102 for Kikuyu appeared at long last. The struggle at the bus door was a question of survival for the fittest. I was so flattened between two strong gentlemen, that I could not breathe. I nearly gave up the struggle when the jostling propelled me into the bus. I considered myself lucky to have found a seat.

The aisle of the bus was full of hawkers who were selling sweets, biscuits, handkerchiefs, combs and cheap digital watches. A pickpocket brushed shoulders with unsuspecting travellers who were standing in the aisles. I saw a wallet fished out of a back pocket of an unsuspecting passenger with amazing speed. The thief wriggled his way out of the bus and in a flash, he had disappeared into the crowded bus station. I was too surprised to speak.