Test Descriptive Paragraph

Module Five Objectives

The purpose of this module is to increase your awareness of the power of words by teaching you to revise your paper, replacing dull or confusing language with exact, concise, fresh, and sometimes, figurative language.

  1. After practicing using exact, concise, fresh, and figurative language, you will write a descriptive paragraph according to the criteria listed below.
  2. You will take an adjective/adverb test in class; you should achieve at least 70% accuracy.
  3. In class, you will discuss the purpose of the CONTROLLING word in the topic sentence. Examples: My brotherís bedroom is so cluttered, I am afraid I will get lost if I walk through his door. My closest friend is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. While waiting in my doctorís office, I noticed another patient who looked so much like a clown, I thought he must work for a circus.

Read the following paragraphs; then, be prepared to discuss, in class, why the second one is better. (Try to identify the run-on sentence and spelling error in the first paragraph.)

Paragraph One

She captured my full attention. Her make-up was ugly. She was tall. She wore a sweater, skirt, and boots. The women kept talking to the clerk in the store. This irritated me because I was running late. She paid for some things and left I donít know where she went.

Paragraph Two

Last night in the checkout lane at Homeland, a witchy young woman standing in front of me captured my full attention. To begin with, her stark white make-up appeared even chalkier when contrasted with her spidery Maybelline eyelashes and jet black hair. The blood red slash of lipstick matched the color on her two-inch pointed fingernails. Next, her height of approximately 5í 10" was exaggerated by her extremely thin body. Draped in an oversized black sweater and ankle length skirt, she looked ready for a funeral. Her high-heeled boots enabled her to tower over virtually everyone else in the store. The pointed toes on her black leather boots matched her very pointed chin. Having paid for an odd assortment of herbs and candles, the unusual looking woman exited by the front door. Whether she drove home in a car or flew on a broom is unknown.

Dr. Mary Ann Mertz



Go to a mall, grocery store, the airport, your place of employment, the school cafeteria, the library, or any place where you have the opportunity to observe people without being overly rude. Write notes of ideas with specific references in mind about how your subject is dressed or looks. The description should be so exact that if the person being described were to walk in the classroom, the reader would identify him or her immediately. Remember, the ultimate goal of this writing assignment is to SHOW, NOT tell, for this assignment is NOT a story; it is pure description, so the subjectís actions or personality should NOT be included in this type of writing.


The Descriptive Paragraph should meet the following criteria:


  1. a topic sentence that includes a controlling word (pages 27-29)
  2. at least six supporting statements that describe, in concrete terms, the writerís understanding of the controlling word and are unified in that they ALL support the topic sentence
  3. coherent sentences that move smoothly from one idea to another through the use of transitions (page 86)
  4. a concluding sentence that summarizes the main point of the paragraph, or leaves the reader with a final thought, and brings closure to the paragraph (A minimum of eight sentences are required for this assignment.)
  5. contains no errors with fragments (pages 362-373), comma splices/run-on sentences (pages 358-362) or past tense (pages 385-393)
  6. at least one compound and complex sentence, underlined and labeled (Refer to the chart on page 353)
  7. correct spelling, punctuation, and usage
  8. Submit your paper in the required manuscript form.