Descriptive Text


Descriptive Text is a kind of text with a purpose to give information. The context of this kind of text is the description of particular thing, animal, person, or others, for instance: our pets or a person we know well.
It differs from Report which describes things, animals, persons, or others in general.
The Social Function of Descriptive Text is to describe a particular person, place, or thing.
(Linda Gerot, Peter Wignell, 'Making Sense of Functional Grammar',1994)


The Generic Structure of Descriptive Text consists of Identification and Description.
1. Identification:
    Identifies phenomenon to be described.
2. Description:
    Describes parts, qualities, characteristics, etc.
(Jenny Hammond 'English for Special Purposes', 1992)


Descriptive often uses 'be' and 'have'. Tense which is often used is Simple Present Tense.
However, some times it uses Past tense if the thing to be described doesn't exist anymore.

Significant Grammatical Features:
- Focus on specific participants
  (My English teacher, Andini's cat, My favourite place)
- Use of Simple Present Tense
- Use of Simple Past Tense if Extinct.
- Verbs of being and having 'Relational Processes'.
   (My mum is really cool, She has long black hair)
- Use of descriptive adjectives (strong legs, white fangs)
- Use of detailed Noun Phrase to give information about the subject.
   (a very beautiful scenery, a sweet young lady, very thick fur)
- Use of action verbs 'Material Processes' (It eats grass, It runs fast)
- Use of adverbials to give additional information about behaviour (fast, at tree house)
- Use of Figurative language (John is as white as chalk.)
   (Jenny Hammond 'English for Special Purposes', 1992)

A. 1. My cat is black.
         It is not fierce.
         Is your cat also black?
      2.There are two cats under the bed.
         Both are black.
         Are they yours?

      S + (to) be
      I + am
      He/She/It + is
      You/We/They + are

B. 1. I have a cat.
         I do not have a dog.
         Do you have a dog?
     2. Rini has a dog.
         She does not have a cat.
         Does your sister like dogs?
         My sister likes dogs very much.
        Who has a dog? Rini does.

        S + V1(-s/-es)
(+) I/You/We/They + V1
(-) I/You/We/They + do + not + V1
(?) Do + I/You/We/They + V1

(+)He/She/It + V1-s/-es
(-) He/She/It + does + not + V1
(?) Does he/she/it + V1


A. 1. Pussy was the name of my cat.
         It was a beautiful cat.
         It was not boring at all.
         Unfortunately, it was dead yesterday.

     2. There were two cats on the roof.
         They were hungry.
         Were they happy?

B. My brother kept a cat last year.
     My brother did not keep a dog.
     Did your brother keep a cat?
     Yes, he did. / No, he did not.
     Who kept a cat ?
     My brother did.

      S + was/were
      I + was
      He/She/It + was
      You/We/They + were

     (+) S + V2
     (-) S + did + V1
     (?) Did + S + V1



Safari Park or Taman Safari is a quite unique zoo.
It lies about 90 kilometers from Jakarta. It lies in Cisarua, Bogor, about two kilometers from Puncak.
This zoo reminds us of the similar park in Kenya, Africa. Although it is not as large as the one in Kenya, we can still enjoy the park which is about one hundred hectares. In conventional zoos, the animals are in cages, but not in the Safari Park; they wander freely. Visitors are in buses or cars. They are not allowed to get off the cars or buses. Visitors who don't have cars can use the touring buses available at the park.

Let's check your listening skill

Try to do the quiz below

ProProfs - Listening quiz of Descriptive text » ProProfs Quiz Tool

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More about Descriptive text can be found my e-book from this link
After download the file, you can open it.
When you are using a computer
  • Google Chrome > Plugin Readium (install from chrome store)
  • Firefox > EPUBReader (intall from add-ons)
But when you use a tablet/smartphone:
  • Android > Gitden Reader or Ideal Reader or moon reader (install from google play)
  • iOS > iBooks (install from appstore)

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