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How to Describe Location & Setting in a Paragraph

Updated November 21, 2016

Step 1

Format your paragraph to give the reader a clear sense of the location and setting by listing off the most important information at the beginning of the paragraph. For example, the fact that the characters were in a mall food court might not be as important as the fact that it is the year 3030.

Step 2

Draw on the senses for writing inspiration. Whether you are writing a nonfiction account or are detailing characters in a book, you will need to think of what the reader should hear, see, smell, taste and touch. For example, if you are describing a meadow you may want the reader to feel the grasses swaying in the breeze. If they are in a restaurant, they may smell garlic.

Step 3

Vary your sentence structure. For example avoid saying, “It is cold outside” and “It looked like it was going to rain” in the same paragraph. These may be descriptive, but they are not very interesting to read. Instead, try “Sherry put on her jacket to avoid the chill” and “the smell of rain was in the air.”

Step 4

Be as concise or detailed with information as you need to be. If you are writing a short five-sentence paragraph for a book report, for example, you might want to avoid flowery speech. However, if you are writing a story, use figurative language such as simile and metaphor to convey the necessary information about location and setting.

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About the Author

Liza Hollis has been writing for print and online publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on various digital properties, including USAToday.com. Hollis earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Florida.