DESCRIBING people and family
A number of the speaking topics that you may be asked to talk about will involve describing or classifying people in some way. In Part 2, the long turn, the examiner may ask you to talk about a friend or a family member, a colleague or someone who has influenced you. You should talk about their physical appearance and their personality. You will score higher marks if you can demonstrate knowledge of precise and unusual vocabulary.
Generally, people's physical appearances are described in terms of their height, build, hair colour and style, facial features, eye colour, maybe skin tone and any distinguishing features such as wearing glasses or having a beard, moustache, or particular dress style.
|Dress||casual, elegant, scruffy, smart, untidy, well dressed|
|Hair||auburn, bald, black, blonde, clipped, cropped, curly, dark, dark brown, dyed, fair, light, light brown, long, medium length, mousey, premed, receding, shaved, short, straight, wavy|
|Facial features||arched eyebrows, bushy eyebrows, high cheekbones, high forehead, long eyelashes, long nose, small mouth, snub nose, wide mouth|
|Height||average height, lanky, medium height, short, tall|
|Skin||black, brown, dark, fair, freckled, light, olive, pale, tanned|
|Build||big, fat, medium build, muscular, overweight, plump, shapely, skinny, slim, stocky, svelte, thin, underweight, voluptuous, well built|
|Distinguishing features||a beard, a mole, a moustache, a scar, earring(s), freckles, glasses or specs, spots, wrinkles|
The vocabulary range to describe people's personalities is extremely wide. In the test, you will most likely be asked to describe a close friend or a family member, so it is worth thinking in advance about how you would describe your friend, brother, grandmother or whoever. Again, you will score higher marks if you can demonstrate knowledge of precise and unusual vocabulary. Here are some vocabulary tasks to revise or expand your range.
Listen to some examples of people talking about different people and their family.
Record yourself talking about someone you know, or your family. After you have finished listen to yourself. Think about your use of vocabulary, your fluency, and your intonation. How could you improve?