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How to describe pictures like a pro ;) | tips for speaking exams (How to English) PRACTICE 3 - part of lesson E
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Good practical demonstrations of how to describe a picture.

Read the Explanations for some good advice about how to describe pictures.

(Transcribed with AI)

Hi, in some speaking exams, you have to describe a picture, and today I will show you how to nail it.

Okay, first, the most important thing: don't be afraid or ashamed if you don't understand something during the exam. Say it, and if you're not sure what to do, ask. "Could you repeat that?" "What do you mean?" "I'm sorry, I didn't understand that." "I'm not sure what to do. Should I start?" And sometimes, you can say, "I'm sorry, I'm really nervous," and it might help you.

And remember, you don't need to know all the words for the things you can see in the picture. If you don't know the exact word, just describe what you see, the main thing you see.

I would start describing this picture by saying, "In the picture, I can see five people. There are two men and three women. There are no children in the picture." And remember, we say "in the picture," not "on the picture." "There is a plant in the picture. There is a plant on the picture." To describe actions, we use present continuous.

"The people in the picture are not sitting at their desks. They are standing and raising their hands. They are all smiling. They are all wearing similar colors. The woman on the right is wearing glasses." Focus on the details.

"In front of the people, there is a desk. On the desk, there are two notebooks, some papers, and a plant. In the background, I can see a notice board. Behind the woman on the right, there is another plant. What do you think?"

Based on the fact that they are smiling, I believe that they like their job, or maybe one of them has just told a joke, and that's why everybody looks so happy. I guess they are good friends and that they like each other. Because of the clothes that the people are wearing, I think it is Friday. Their clothes are not entirely formal, and many offices have casual Fridays, which allows their employees to dress casually.

I like this picture because everybody in it is very relaxed, and they seem to be a good team. It reminds me of my parent's office, where the people are very friendly and helpful, and I think I'd like to have colleagues like that in the future.

And I will describe two more pictures for you. In the picture, I can see two boys. I guess they are both six or seven years old. On the left side of the picture, there is a globe, and on the right side of the picture, there are some books. The boys are in the middle of the picture. They are both sitting and smiling. The boy on the left is wearing a red t-shirt, and the boy on the right is wearing a black t-shirt. They are sitting next to each other, and they are reading a book. I believe this is a geography book because of the globe that is standing next to the boys. Judging by the fact that there are a lot of books and no toys in the picture, I think the boys are at school. It seems that they like it because they look quite happy. I guess they are best friends, and that's why they are sitting together. It reminds me of my school friends and how we used to learn and play together.

In the picture, I can see a couple, a man and a woman. They are in the foreground, and in the background, there are some trees. There is also a really big tree on the left side of the picture. They are in the park. I think it's springtime because all the leaves are green, the sky looks bright, and they are wearing light jackets, which are perfect for spring. Based on the look on the woman's face, I think she's angry. Even though she is in a beautiful park, she's not smiling. She doesn't seem to enjoy it, and I think she wants to go away. It seems that the man is following her. He is stretching his arms as if he wanted to say sorry. I suppose they have been arguing. Maybe he has done something wrong, and it made her furious. I guess that whatever the man did, it was rather serious because people don't normally argue in parks. I hope that they will be able to talk about it and that he will get the chance to make things right again.

Okay, now let's practice what you've just learned.

Okay, that's it for today. Thank you for watching. Give this video a like if you enjoyed it, and I'll see you next time. Bye.

Use the D-I-O-C Strategy:

When describing a picture use these types of sentences:

1- Use Describing sentences (what you can see)
2- Use Inferential sentences (what you think is there or is happening)
3- Opinions (give personal opinions about what you see)
4- Concluding sentence (you can finish your description with a conclusion)

Note: on the video they recommend a certain number of sentences for every type, but that is only useful for the activity they are preparing. In a normal picture description activity, simply use all these types of sentences, trying to use the description sentences the most and using the other types to expand and improve your description. Of course, the Concluding Sentence can only be one, and used to finish your description.


1- Descriptions: This is a sandy beach
2- Inference: It is probably a weekend as it is packed with people
3- Opinion: I think the lady should accompany the little boy to the water because it can be dangerous
4- Conclusion: In my opinion this is a good example of what beaches have become today, a place to make money from tourists where it is difficult to enjoy and relax anymore.

Some Dos and Donts

DOS (things you should do)

- Use the present tense (simple or continuous) to talk about the picture they give you.
    It is a sunny day. The water is calm. Some children are playing on the beach.

- Use adjectives and adverbs to better describe things and actions.

    The beach is sandy and nice. There is a tall fat man sitting under a colourful umbrella.

- Speak clearly and in complete sentences (Subject + verb + objects/complements). Speak slowly if you are not very fluent, but don't stutter, break your speech or speak in a way which is difficult to understand. Speaking fast is not the important thing, the most important thing is speaking clearly and correctly.

DON'TS (things you should not do)

- Do not name characters in picture (unless everybody knows their names)

     John is kicking a ball on the sand and playing with Mary. (it sounds strange unless you and the examiner both know those people)

- Do not say: "On the right/left hand corner..."

     Well, I don't agree with this, using that once may show a good level of English, but because it is a construction long and complicated, you shouldn't use it more than once or maybe twice.

- Do not say: "I can see...", instead say: "A boy is.../ The children are.../The weather looks...".

     Again, I don't agree. It is ok to say "I can see..." when you start describing a picture and maybe a few times during your description. It is true that many people use this phrase many times, even all the time, and that really sounds terrible. Try to use a variety of expressions and don't repeat the same expression too many times. The more you vary, the higher level you show.


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