Definition, Generic Structure, & Linguistics Features of Descriptive Text

Definition, Generic Structure, & Linguistics Features of Descriptive Text

Descriptive texts are like word paintings. They use words to show us things, people, or places in our minds. When we read them, it is as if we are looking at a picture. In this article, we are going to learn what descriptive texts are, how they’re structured, and what makes them interesting to read. Let us start our journey into the world of descriptive texts!

Definition of Descriptive Text 

According to Anderson and Anderson (2003, p.26), the descriptive text describes a particular person, place, or thing. It means that descriptive text is designed especially about a person, a place, or things. They also stated descriptive text to tell about the subject by describing its features without including personal opinions.

In line with this statement, Gerot  &  Wignell (1994) and Knapp  &  Watkins  (2005) said that descriptive text is a type of text the writer or speaker uses to describe a particular thing, person, animal, place, and or event to the readers or hearers. The process of describing is done by ordering their characteristics clearly, starting from naming them, classifying them, and dealing with their attributes, behaviors, functions, and so on so that the readers or hearers can notice what the writer is writing about as if they could directly see it through their own eyes.

In addition, according to Pardiyono (2007, p.33), descriptive text gives descriptions of living or non-living things to the reader. Thus, this kind of text can tell an object that is still alive or not.

Generic Structure of Descriptive Text

Like other genres, descriptive text also has its structure or stages. Jenny Hammond (1992) divides generic descriptive text structures into two parts: Identification and Description.

  • Identification: it is aimed at introducing and identifying a specific participant, such as a person, a  thing,  a  place,  an animal,  and or an event. 
  • Description: it describes that  participant from  its  characteristics, appearances, personality, and habits or qualities (Butt, Fahey, Feez,  Spinks,  &  Yallop,  2000;  Derewianka, 1990;  Gerot  & Wignell,  1994; Knapp  &  Watkins, 2005)

Linguistics Features of Descriptive Text

Regarding  its  linguistics  features,  Derewianka  (1990), Emilia  and  Christie (2013), Gerot and Wignell (1994), Knapp and Watkins (2005) state that  descriptive text employs some linguistics features as summarized below:

  • Focus on specific participants as the main character (My English teacher, Andini’s cat, My favorite place).
  • Use present tense as dominant tenses.
  • Use linking verbs or relational processes frequently (is, are, has, have, belongs to) to classify and describe the participant’s appearance or qualities and parts or functions.
  • Use of descriptive adjectives (strong legs, white hair)

Example of Descriptive Text

My Mother Clean Kitchen

IdentificationMy house is located in Jl. Tunggala 2G, Anawai. There are several rooms in our house. They are a living room, a kitchen, two bathrooms, three bedrooms, and a warehouse. Talk about my kitchen, it is not large, but it looks clean with a white wall. My mother always cooks there. 
DescriptionIn the kitchen, there are cooking utensils, such as a gas stove, green pot, and orange kettle. The pot and the kettle are on the gas stove. Then, the cooker hood is under the gas stove, and the oven is above the gas stove. There are also modern electronic tools, such as a white refrigerator in the corner of the kitchen. My mother uses it to store the food supply. There is also a silver toaster beside the refrigerator. I usually use it for baking my bread in the morning.    There are some plates, glass, cups, forks, and spoons inside the dish cabinet. Below the dish cabinet, there is a hanging shelf. My mother hung up gloves, a frying pan spatula, and a ladle. Besides, there is a seasoning counter to put jars of sugar, coffee, salt, and other seasoning bottles on it. Near the window, there is a sink with a tap.    My mother put a brown dining table in the middle of the kitchen with four white chairs. My family and I usually have breakfast, lunch, and dinner together there. On the dining table, there is a cup. It is my father’s cup of coffee. Although this kitchen is small, I like it because I can reach everything without moving too much. It also has many cabinets and big windows. Thus, the sun can shine easily through it.  


  • Butt, D., Fahey, R., Feez, S. S. S., & Yallop, C. (2000). Using Functional Grammar: An Explorer’s Guide 2nd Edition. National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research: Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Derewianka,  B.  (1990). Exploring How Text Work.  Australia:  Primary English Teaching Association.
  • Emilia, E., & Christie, F. (2013). Factual Genres in English: Learning to Write, Read, and Talk about Factual Information. Bandung: Rizqi Press.
  • Gerot, L., & Wignell, P. (1994). Making Sense of Functional Grammar: An Introductory Workbook. Queensland: Antipodean Educational Enterprises.
  • Knapp, P., & Watkins, M. (2005). Genre, Text, Grammar: Technologies for Teaching and Assessing Writing. Unsw Press.
Tenry Colle
Tenry Colle

Hi! My name is A. Tenry Lawangen Aspat Colle. I am a motivated and resourceful English educator. In addition, as the owner of @rymari.translation17 has shaped me to be a punctual and dependable translator of Indonesian to English and vice versa.

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