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What is descriptive text?

The Definition and Purpose of Descriptive Text

Descriptive text is a text which says what a person or a thing is like. It covers the physical condition and characteristics of a person and a thing described. Its purpose is to describe and reveal a particular person, place, or thing clearly.

The Generic Structure of Descriptive Text

Descriptive text has it's structure as below:

  • Identification: identifying the phenomenon to be described.
  • Description: describing the phenomenon in parts, qualities, or/and characteristics.


The features of Descriptive Text


  • Using attributive and identifying process.                           
  • Using descriptive adjectives and classifiers in nominal group.
  • Using simple present tense


Examples of a descriptive text with the structure of identification, description and the use of descriptive adjectives in the yellow mark.


When you describe a person/people, you need to know descriptive adjectives, comparative adjectives, and compound adjectives. Look at the explanation below!

Descriptive Adjectives

Adjectives are words that describe or modify a person/thing/place/concept (e.g. a noun or a noun phrase) in a sentence.

  • Adjectives are placed before the noun or noun phrase that they modify (e.g. Ani is a smart student).
    If two adjectives describe a noun, use and to link the adjectives (e.g. Black and white televisions are very rare). If there are more than two adjectives, use commas at first,
    then use and before the last adjective although it is rare to have more than three adjectives in a row (e.g. The company seeks intelligent, motivated, and energetic people).
  • You can easily create adjectives with many verbs (not all!) if you add the - ed or - ing endings to the verb. However, be careful to make a distinction between the two! Generally, the - ed ending means that the noun described is the receiver of the action implied by the original verb. The -ing ending means that the noun described is the actor:
    The news is dramatic. I am shocked. (the news shocks you).
    I hate shocking documentaries. (the documentaries shock you).
  • Adjectives does not change. It is always the same for singular, plural, masculine and feminine nouns (e.g. a clever girl; clever girls; a clever boy; clever boys).



Comparative adjectives

Comparative adjectives are used to describe the differences between two things.
There are two ways to make or form a comparative adjective as can be seen from the following table:



Compound adjectives


Sometimes, we also use compound adjectives to describe a person's physical features. A compound adjective is an adjective that comprises more than one word. Usually, hyphen are used to link the words together to show that it is one adjective. Look at the examples of compound adjectives the table below!



Descriptive words and phrases

When we describe characteristics of a person or people, we need to know the appropriate descriptive words and phrases? What kind of words and phrases there are? Let us look at the table below!



Describing personality/characteristics

When you describe people or a person, it is not just the physical appearance that matters but also the personality/characteristics of that person/people that can reflect how you perceive about them. From these descriptive words describing personality/characteristics below, you can also identify good and bad personal qualities. At first, you may need a dictionary to help you understand further when you find difficulty in understanding certain characteristics.
Look at some examples of descriptive words to describe personality/characteristics of a person below!




Now, look at some examples of descriptive words used in describing good and bad personal qualities of a person!




Now look at the table below about people's personal characteristics and the definition. Hopefully it will help you to understand them better!



How is it? Do you feel that by doing Learning Activity 1 helps you understand better? Excellent! Now that you have known better about:


  • The structure of a descriptive text in a paragraph about describing people
  • Describing people by using descriptive adjectives, comparative adjectives, and compound adjectives such as about their appearance and their personal characteristics/qualities


Now it is about time to test what you have learnt so far by doing Exercises in Learning Activity 1!
Are you ready? Let's get started!