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7-G) Describing people (Twominute English) UNIT 7 lesson G

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Describing someone in English can be easy as well as tough. It depends on how detailed is the description you want to give. Describing someone can include talking about their features, characteristics, color, height, weight, etc. You might also describe things like their facial features, hairstyle and body language. No matter how you structure your description, you are going to use a variety of different terms. That's why you should know all about the terminology and have the right vocabulary to correctly describe a person.

 

Welcome to twominenglish.com. Teaching you English through two-minute lessons. In this extra learning lesson, we will learn in detail about the words and phrases you use while describing people. When you are describing people, you should describe how they look, colour of their eyes, how tall or short they are or what kind of clothes they are wearing. Yes, if you have to identify a person, you need to describe his/her physical features, but a person is more than how he/she looks. You must also learn to describe this person’s behaviour, preferences, clothing, etc.

At the very basic level you can describe how a person looks by using adjectives that describe the body type. For example: He is tall, he is thin, she is short, he is fat, she is obese, she is slim, he is of average build. These are some basic attributes for body types.

Do remember that some words are not considered polite, especially if you are describing what some may consider negative characteristics. For example, instead of saying ‘she is fat,’ you can say ‘she’s a little overweight’. You could also say ‘he’s on the heavy side’. Try to avoid discussing the weight of people before them because many people are conscious about their weight.

Apart from body type, the second most important thing that people describe is the face. You can describe the various features of the face like. He has long ears. She has small eyes and big eyebrows. Her nose is very long. She has full lips and crooked teeth. He has blue eyes. Frankly describing the face is not easy and there are a number of things you can say about the face.

Let’s start from the forehead. A forehead is often described as broad, narrow or prominent. The eyebrows can be bushy or sparse. Sometimes they are also described as full, as in she has full eyebrows.

The eyes are a very important part of the face. You can describe the eye colour, like she has blue eyes or he has brown eyes.  The shape of the eyes is also important. For example, he has large eyes, her eyes are small. She has doe-like eyes with full eyelashes.

The common words used to describe the nose are: narrow, wide, long, short, snub, big, small, upturned and hooked.

The ears are usually described as small or big.

The lips can be full or narrow and the mouth can be big, small, or wide.

Wow! Describing people is really hard work, but if you know all these words you can describe them to a fair degree.

That’s right! Don’t forget to view our original lesson and to practice with it.

DESCRIBING PEOPLE

Questions:

1- How is your mother? --> He's very well, thank you.     (health)
2- What does your mother look like? --> She's short but very beautiful.    (appearance)
3- What's your mother like? --> She's very nice and friendly.    (personality)
4- What does your mother like? --> She likes pizza and coffee.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION

- She is tall / short, beautiful / ugly, fat / thin, plump / slim
(we use "handsome" for men, and "beautiful" for the rest)

We can also make descriptions using the preposition WITH or the verb HAVE GOT (we can also use HAVE, but in British English it is more usual to use HAVE GOT for physical description).

- She's got long fair hair and blue eyes
- He's a fat man with a big head


-ISH --> When a person is not short, but not very tall, we can say:
- he's a bit tall
- he's tallish
- he's more or less tall
- he's tall, but not exactly

Grading --> extremely short, very short, short, quite short, shortish, a bit short, a bit tall, tallish, quite tall, tall, very tall, extremely tall.
quite = rather = -ish = pretty
Notice the difference:
- She's very pretty (pretty = beautiful)
- She's pretty tall (pretty = quite)

Clothes and complements --> For clothes and complements we can use WITH or TO WEAR, but with clothes we usually prefer IN or TO WEAR:
- There is a boy in green trousers
- He's wearing jeans and a white shirt
- I can see a man with an old hat wearing glasses
- She's wearing a long skirt and black shoes

HAVE (GOT) --> We can use this verb to describe clothes and complements, but it is more ambiguous:
- He's got glasses (we don't know where the glasses are, maybe on his face, maybe at home, maybe inside a box)
- He's wearing glasses (the glasses are on his face)

SOME OTHER QUESTIONS:

- How tall are you? --> I'm 1.80 / I'm 1 metre 80 centimetres / I'm 1 metre 80
We often use the word TALL at the end: I'm 1 m. 80 cms tall
(English speaking countries usually use "foot" and "inches" instead of "metres" and "centimetres" and "pounds" instead of "kilos") : I'm 5 feet, 4 inches tall.
- How much do you weigh? --> I weigh 75 kilos / He weighs 175 pounds
- What hair colour are you? --> I'm dark / brown / blond = fair / grey, white

PERSONALITY

- He's a nice person but sometimes he can be very unfriendly, especially when he is angry.
- She's very patient, but yesterday she was very nervous and rude
- I like her, she's nice and beautiful and she's got a wonderful smile

As you can see, the grammar here is quite simple, the most important thing is to learn vocabulary for description.

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