The Descriptive Essay
by Owen Fourie
~ Part One ~
Many students struggle to describe things in their writing. When an assignment requires them to write a descriptive essay, it can turn out to be a frustrating task. Many, feeling unable to measure up to the requirement, give up and produce inferior work, which satisfies neither them nor their teachers.
There is a way to write an effective descriptive essay that will be well rewarded with an excellent grade. To write such an essay, you have to sharpen all your physical senses and closely observe the world around you.
Make a daily and even a moment-by-moment effort to capture with all your senses the scenes and events that come your way. See them and note the finer details of how they look. Hear them and note their particular sound or sounds. Smell them and note their fragrance or pungency. Touch them if possible, or, if not, touch them remotely in your imagination. Sense their texture–the coarseness or the smoothness. Taste them if possible, or again imagine a comparable taste. Note the sweetness, the blandness, the saltiness, or the sourness. While you might not be able to apply every sense to each instance, you should do your best to apply most of them and let your imagination fill in what is lacking.
As you practice the sharpening of your senses, take time to write down your observations in descriptive paragraphs. When you do this, you are capturing the experience and the memory of a scene or an event in words. You are using the camera of your senses and your use of words to help your readers to enter into what you are describing. They see it, hear it, smell it, touch it, and taste it. To be able to write an effective descriptive essay, you should practice using your senses in this way.
...impressions of something higher...deeper, something beyond this world...
Going beyond the physical …
There are other aspects of description that you should try to include. Not only do we respond to our environment with our physical senses, but we also respond emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. As you observe the scenes and events around you and practice the art of description, ask yourself these questions. Here I will include the questions relating to the physical senses:
- What do I see? How does it look? How shall I describe its appearance (or invisibility)?
- What do I hear? How does it sound? How shall I describe its sound (or silence)?
- What do I smell? How does it smell? How shall I describe its odor (or lack of it)?
- What do I detect by touch? How does it feel? How shall I describe its texture (or lack of it)?
- What do I taste? How does it taste? How shall I describe its taste (or lack of it)?
- How do I feel about this? What emotions are stirred up in me by this–happiness, sadness?
- What do I think about this? Can I analyze or categorize this? Can I relate it to something else by way of comparison or contrast?
- Does this cause me to have impressions of something higher, something deeper, something beyond this world, something deep within me, a sense of infinity, a sense of eternity, a sense of the meaning of life, or of something beyond explanation?
Your objective as you write a descriptive essay is to get your reader to share as closely as possible all that you have sensed in a particular experience of a scene or an event. By careful and attentive observation, as you use all your senses and by writing these things down, you will be preparing the way to fulfill the requirements of your assignment.
We must move on now from this preparatory phase to what you should do when you actually write a descriptive essay. Be sure to read part two of this article.
Are there other questions that should be added to the bulleted list above? Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.
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For other uses, see Beaker (disambiguation).
Beakers of several sizes
|Uses||Liquid volume containment|
|Related items||Laboratory flask|
Beakers are generally cylindrical in shape, with a flat bottom. Most also have a small spout (or "beak") to aid pouring as shown in the picture. Beakers are available in a wide range of sizes, from one millilitre up to several litres.
Structure & common uses
Standard or "low-form" beakers typically have a height about 1.4 times the diameter. The common low form with a spout was devised by John Joseph Griffin and is therefore sometimes called a Griffin beaker. These are the most universal character and are used for various purposes—from preparing solutions and decanting supernatant fluids to holding waste fluids prior to disposal to performing simple reactions. In short, low form beakers are likely to be used in some way when performing just about any chemical experiment.
"Tall-form" (B) beakers have a height about twice their diameter. These are sometimes called Berzelius beakers and are mostly used for titration.
Flat beakers (C) are often called crystallizers because most are used to perform crystallization, but they are also often used as a vessel for use in hot-bath heating. These beakers usually do not have a flat scale.
A beaker is distinguished from a flask by having straight rather than sloping sides. The exception to this definition is a slightly conical-sided beaker called a Philips beaker.
Beakers are commonly made of glass (today usually borosilicate glass), but can also be in metal (such as stainless steel or aluminium) or certain plastics (notably polythene, polypropylene, PTFE). A common use for polypropylene beakers is gamma spectral analysis of liquid and solid samples.
Beakers are often graduated, that is, marked on the side with lines indicating the volume contained. For instance, a 250 mL beaker might be marked with lines to indicate 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 mL of volume. These marks are not intended for obtaining a precise measurement of volume (a graduated cylinder or a volumetric flask would be a more appropriate instrument for such a task), but rather an estimation. Most beakers are accurate to within ~10%.
The presence of a spout means that the beaker cannot have a lid. However, when in use, beakers may be covered by a watch glass to prevent contamination or loss of the contents, but allowing venting via the spout. Alternatively, a beaker may be covered with another larger beaker that has been inverted, though a watch glass is preferable.
DIN EN ISO 3819:2015-12 defines the following types and sizes:
+/- 5 %
|Low high beaker||5||22||32||0,7|
|Thick wall type||150||60||82||1,1|
- ASTM E960 - 93 (2008) Standard Specification for Laboratory Glass Beakers
(B) A tall-form or Berzelius beaker
(C) A flat beaker or crystallizer