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Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

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1.6 Texts that describe or explain

Descriptive texts tell you about what has happened or about people and situations. This means that they don’t try to tell you what you should do or think; they leave you to make up your own mind.

These texts tend to be longer because they are not just giving information but explaining or describing something in more detail. Newspaper, magazine and internet articles are good examples of this.

Descriptive texts often contain describing words to help build up an image in the reader’s mind. They may draw upon your five senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting) to help you to imagine what something is like. For example:

  • The white sandy beach stretched around the gently curving cove.
  • The familiar smell of bonfire smoke hung in the cold air.

Activity 6 Descriptive texts

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Read the texts below and decide which one is descriptive.

Text A

The cottage was probably built in Tudor times. It has a thatched roof and black beams. Surrounding the cottage is a small garden with old wooden fencing. There is a narrow entrance from the lane and a small apple orchard at the back.

Text B

Have you ever thought how wonderful it would be to live in a country cottage? Away from the fumes and smoke of the city you could enjoy a happier life in a real community setting. People in the country always have time to stop for a chat, not like in the town, where nobody knows or cares about their neighbours.

Text C

You should renew a thatched roof about every 80 years. Remove the old thatch and replace any rotten joists. Then lay the new layer of thatch onto the roof. Reed thatch lasts far longer than thatch made from wheat straw, but is much more expensive. Norfolk reed makes the best thatching material.

Which text is descriptive?


Text A


Text B


Text C

The correct answer is a.


Text A is descriptive as it describes the cottage and its surroundings. It uses describing words like thatched, black, small, old and narrow.

Text B sounds like a text that persuades, as it tries to persuade you that life in the country is great!

Text C sounds like a text that instructs, as it tells you how to replace a thatched roof.