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Description is the pattern of development that presents a word picture of a thing, a person, a situation, or a series of events. It is one of four "rhetorical modes (also known as modes of discourse), along with "exposition, "argumentation, and "narration. Each of the rhetorical modes is present in a variety of forms and each has its own purpose and "conventions. The act of description may be related to that of "definition. Description is also the "fiction-writing mode for transmitting a "mental image of the particulars of a "story.["citation needed]
"Fiction is a form of "narrative, one of the four "rhetorical modes of discourse. Fiction-writing also has modes: "action, exposition, description, "dialogue, summary, and transition. Author "Peter Selgin refers to methods, including action, dialogue, thoughts, summary, "scenes, and description. Currently, there is no consensus within the writing community regarding the number and composition of "fiction-writing modes and their uses.
Description is the fiction-writing mode for transmitting a mental image of the particulars of a story. Together with dialogue, narration, exposition, and summarization, description is one of the most widely recognized of the fiction-writing modes. As stated in Writing from A to Z, edited by Kirk Polking, description is more than the amassing of details; it is bringing something to life by carefully choosing and arranging words and phrases to produce the desired effect. The most appropriate and effective techniques for presenting description are a matter of ongoing discussion among writers and writing coaches.
In "literary criticism, "purple prose is a passage or sometimes an entire literary work, written in "prose so overly extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself. Purple prose is sensuously evocative beyond the requirements of its context. It also refers to writing that employs certain rhetorical effects such as exaggerated "sentiment or "pathos in an attempt to manipulate a reader's response.["citation needed]
In philosophy, the nature of description has been an important question since Bertrand Russell's classical texts.