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Ministrio da Educao - Programa Idiomas sem Fronteiras 1

Produo Escrita: Pargrafos

B2 32 horas

HORAS 19 e 20

Descriptive Paragraph

A paragraph developed by detail, the topic sentence is supported by factual material,

either sense impressions or conceptual facts. Almost all writing has some detail in it. The
descriptive mode takes the whole (relationship, place, process, etc.), breaks or divides it into
parts or events, and treats each separately. The basic objective of descriptive writing is the
depiction of the appearance of people, places, and things. The writer helps recreate for the
reader sense impressions (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste) that have been experienced or
observed by the writer. Keep in mind that the purpose of the writing and the audience must be
determined: to focus on the writers experiences is the expressive aim, to inform or explain
information is the expository aim, and to persuade or argue the reader to one side of an issue is
the persuasive aim.

There are 9 ways in which it is possible to describe a descriptive paragraph:

Specific element

Exercise 1: Read the following paragraphs, underline the topic sentence, and write the type of

Paragraph 1
My dormitory room, on the second floor of Bienville Hall, is small and crowded. The dark green
walls and dirty white ceiling make the room seem dark, and thus even smaller than it is. As you
walk into the room, you are stopped short by my bed, which fills half of the room. The two large
windows over the bed are hidden by heavy dark gold drapes. Against the wall on your left,
pushed into a corner behind the head of the bed, is a large bookcase that is crammed with
papers, books and knickknacks. Wedged in between the bookcase and on the wall opposite the
bed is a small gray metal desk. It has a brown wooden chair that seems to fill the left end of the
room. Stuffed under the desk is a woven wastepaper basket overflowing with paper and debris.
The wall above the bookcase and desk is completely taken up with two small posters. On the
right-hand side of the room is a narrow closet with clothes, shoes, hats, tennis racquets, and
boxes bulging out of its sliding doors. Every time I walk out of the door, I think, Now I know
what it is like to live in a closet


Paragraph 2
The kitchen held our lives together. My mother worked in it all day long, we ate in it almost all
meals except the Passover seder, I did my homework and first writing at the kitchen table, and
in winter I often had a bed made up for me on three kitchen chairs near the stove. On the wall
just over the table hung a long horizontal mirror that sloped to a ships prow at each end and
was lined in cherry wood. It took the whole wall and drew every object in the kitchen to itself.
The walls were a fiercely stippled whitewash, so often rewhitened by my father in slack seasons
that the paint looked as if it had been squeezed and cracked into the walls. A large electric bulb
hung down the center of the kitchen at the end of a chain that had been hooked into the ceiling;
the old gas ring and key still jutted out of the wall like antlers. In the corner next to the toilet
was the sink at which we washed, and the square tub in which my mother did our clothes. Above
it, tacked to the shelf on which were pleasantly ranged square, blue-bordered white sugar and
spice jars, hung calendars from the Public National Bank on Pitkin Avenue and the Minsker
Progressive Branch of the Workmans Circle; receipts for the payment of insurance premiums,
and household bills on a spindle


Paragraph 3
Our backyard is dominated by a huge old live oak tree. The base of the trunk measures
approximately ten feet around. The thick muscular trunk rises solidly for about 8 feet and
then separates into four main branches. From these, the lower branches spread out
horizontally over the ground, reaching into the neighbors yards. The main branches continue
to rise, up and up, where they compete with each other for air and sunlight. From these
heights, the neighborhood cardinals and blue jays sing to each other, keeping a sharp eye out
for cats. As the birds sway in the wind, they look as if they are riding a ship across a gently
swelling ocean. From these heights, too, it is easy to see the variety of shrubs and sweet-
smelling flowers lining the two long sides of our rectangular yard, the small walkway along
the back of the house, and the back fence that runs along the alley.

Details in descriptive paragraphs are organized spatially to give the reader a clear picture of the
scene being described. Clarifying the spatial relationship helps to achieve coherence. These
spatial expressions are called adverbs of place; most of them are prepositional phrases
(preposition + noun phrase). Some of the expressions used to clarify space relationships include:

On the second floor On the right-hand side Along the back of the house
Straight ahead Against the wall Underneath the desk
Under the windows Above the bookcase Opposite the bed
On your left Next to the toilet From these heights
Over the table In the corner

Here are some other expressions that clarify space relationships:

Behind the chair is a guitar.

On the top of the refrigerator is a plant.

The desk is adjacent to the bookcase.

Exercise 2: Underline the topic sentence and circle the adverbs of place.

So this was to be our home for the summer. My husband and I had rented a cabin on a
ranch in Colorado and here we were. As we opened the front door of Spruce Tree Lodge, my
first impression was of a dim, cool place inviting us to relax. With some lights one, I was relieved
to notice on the wall in front of me the traditional white cabinets, small electric stove, and
humming refrigerator that marked a functional kitchen. At least we werent going to be doing
all our cooking over a campfire! I noticed against the paneled wall to my left a small sofa made
of tan naugahyde. Even though it was not chic, it spoke of years of comfort and service. Beside
it, on a table in the corner, perched a funky old lamp made from a piece of unfinished pine. Both
table and lamp were straight out of Salvation Army, but the mood they created was just right
for long afternoons of reading novels. On the wall to my right were two big windows with a view
of the trees and mountains outside. How glorious! We could sit on the sofa and drink in the
timelessness of the mountains while the fir and spruce trees moved in the gentle lull of the wind.
In the middle of the room, straight ahead, stood a sturdy oak table with heavy, massive legs and
a smooth, worn top. It would serve as desk, table, and catchall. My husband was already trying
out the padded chairs, made of dark brown naugahyde, that were pulled up around the table
ready for use. We smiled. Yes, the cabin would do very nicely.
An adjective clause (sometimes called a relative clause) modifies a noun and, like an
adverbial clause, is a dependent clause that cannot stand alone as a sentence; it must be
connected to an independent clause. But unlike adverbial clauses, which can be placed only
after the noun it modifies; it can never be placed at the beginning of a sentence.

The subordinators that introduce adjective clauses include who, whom, whose, that, and
which. Less common adjective clause subordinators are when, where and why. Observe the
use of adjective clauses in some of the passages you have read thus far:

Its a small mouth that looks delicate and feminine.

From these heights, too, it is easy to see the variety of shrubs and sweet-smelling
flowers that line the two long sides of our rectangular yard.

As you walk into the room, you are stopped short by my bed, which fills half the room

Exercise 3: The paragraph below is a good description of one famous monster in literature.
However, the sentences when read do not flow smoothly. As an expert in description, you are
responsible for making the paragraph coherent.

One of the ugliest creatures in literature is the monster in the novel Frankenstein,
The Modern Prometheus. The novel was written by Mary Shelley in the nineteenth century.
The monster was created by Victor Frankenstein when he was a student at a university. The
monster has flowing black hair. The hair is lustrous. The monster has pearly white teeth.
These fine features form a horrid contrast with his other features. He has yellow skin. The
skin barely covers his facial muscles. His complexion is shriveled. The monster has hideous,
watery, almost colorless eyes. The eyes seem to be almost the same color as the sockets.
They are set in the sockets. Even uglier, perhaps, are his lips. His lips are straight and black.