Do you know how to describe a person who you know in English? Think about a person you know. It could be a friend, someone in your family, or your coworker. How would you describe that person? What does this person look like? What is this person’s personality like? Describing a person is very useful for you in many situations including speaking exams like Toefl or IELTS.
Describing someone in English language
You should learn how to describe a person in detail using clear English. You can practice so, you need to think of a person whom you know well that you can describe better. If you think of someone to describe you can use these ways;
You need to ask yourself what does he or she look like? What can you say when describing someone’s appearance? You can talk about the person’s build and height. For example; My friend Lara is tall and slim. My sister is short and overweight. My coworker John is tall and well-built. Do you know the meaning of ‘’well-built’’? A person who is well-built is broad and strong with big muscles. You can also use adverbs to make your sentences more precise.
For example; My cousin is quite tall and a little overweight. My sister is medium height and really slim. My coworker David is quite tall and well-built. And you can also add something about the person’s hair. She has long, dark blonde hair. He has brown and curly hair. He has short and fair hair. Do you know the meaning of fair here? It means the opposite of dark. You can use it to describe a person’s hair or skin. What else can you say about someone’s appearance? Think about that you’re describing the person to your friend and want him to be able to recognise this person from your description.
There are many possibilities you can say but these are my suggestions: She looks a bit like a younger version of Madonna. He has a long scar on his left arm. She is really beautiful with very eye-catching features. Do you know what ‘eye-catching features’ means? In this context ‘features’ refers to a person’s face. ‘eye catching’ means that you can’t help noticing something. If a person has ‘eye-catching features’ it means the person has a very attractive and unusual face. What about the scar? When you undergo surgery or have a deep cut the scar remains. So, you can make three sentences about the person you’re describing.
For example; ‘My friend Henry is quite tall and well-built.’ He has brown, short hair but he’s going bald fast. He looks a bit like a younger version of Mark Sinclair. Now, you can try to make three sentences about the person you’re describing. Don’t forget to mention height-build, then hair and then general appearance.
Describing positive characteristics
What’s the person like? This question means; I want you to tell me about the person’s personality. There are positive words you can use to talk about someone’s character. You should think about the person that you are describing. Think about the good things you can say about him or her. You can describe a person as “kind”, but it’s better to be more specific if you can.
You can use “considerate” which means someone who always thinks about other people and their needs. And also, you can use “warm” which means someone who shows positive feelings to others and makes other people feel good. And this person may be good at making other people laugh. You can think that they are funny or they have a good sense of humour. You can describe someone as entertaining or fun if people enjoy spending time with them. And also, it’s very important that a person is reliable as a friend.
So, you should know they will be there for you when you need them and keep their promises. Similarly, you can describe people as straightforward or honest. If someone is straightforward, they’re honest, easy to spend time with and easy to understand. Straightforward people say what they think in a polite way and don’t keep secrets or gossip about other people. There are more positive adjectives.
One of them is cheerful; most people like spending time with cheerful people who smile a lot and are usually in a good mood. Cheerful people are generally optimistic and positive; they expect good things to happen. Now, you can try to use some of these adjectives to talk about the person you’re describing. And also, you should add details and examples to your description or you can add a story if possible.
Describing negative characteristics
Nobody is perfect. Everybody has their flaws. There are many ways to describe the bad side of someone’s personality. You can use the direct opposites of the words in part two. These words are; unkind, inconsiderate, dishonest, unreliable. And also, there are other words you can use.
For example; selfish or self centered; they think about themselves too much and don’t think about the needs of others. These are similar words. Self-obsessed has a more extreme meaning. They only think about themselves and don’t realize other people exist. Maybe, you can’t be a funny person but don’t want to be seen as dullor humorless. Humorless means that someone has no sense of humour and is very serious, and dull is similar to boring.
Dishonest and unreliable people don’t keep their promises and don’t do what they say. Similarly, insincere means that someone says things without meaning them. If someone seems friendly but they don’t really feel anything inside, you can describe them as insincere. And the opposite of cheerful is moody.
Moody people are often in a bad mood and their moods change very easily. Grumpy people are always negative and unhappy. They never seem to be in a good mood. You can see there are twelve negative adjectives and twelve positive objectives. And don’t forget to try to add details or examples when you use these adjectives to describe someone.
Talking about your relationship
You can add some details about how you know this person and your relationship. These are some examples; “We met at school five years ago.” “ We’ve known each other for about eight years”. “We get on very well because we have a similar sense of humour.” On the other hand, if you’re talking about your sister or another relative, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve known each other or where you met. But, you can talk about how well you get on and why. You can also add what you like to do together or how often you see each other.
For example; I don’t see my sister often, though we talk a couple of times a month. We like playing basketball and watching movies when we meet up. So, try to make sentences about the person you’re describing.
For example; I’ve known my friend Amy for about ten years. We met because we worked in the same place for a couple of years. We get on well, we have a lot in common; we like the same music, same books, same movies, etc. I’ve known David since May. We met at a mutual friend’s birthday party and then we realized that we work in the same office. We’re very different people and we’re not close.
Making a longer answer
Up to now, you’ve learned how to describe a person talking about their appearance,talking about your relationship and how you know each other, talking about the positive and negative sides of their personality. Now, you can put everything we’ve learned together into a longer answer.
For example; “I’m going to tell you about a friend of mine, John. He is quite tall and well-built. He has short, blonde hair but he’s going bald fast. He looks a bit like a younger version of Marc Sinclair. He is very funny. John can be a little unreliable sometimes. He often forgets to do things that he promised before. He likes making weird jokes at the most inappropriate moment.
We don’t see each other often, though we talk a couple of times a month. We like listening to music, talk about news when we meet up. Another example which has a longer answer; “My sister Lucy is quite short and overweight, with light brown hair. She’s very lovely and she has a really nice smile. I’ve known her for about ten years now, since college.
Lucy’s fun to be around and cheerful, and she’s also very straightforward; it’s easy to feel comfortable around her and you know who she’s right away. We get on very well because we have a similar sense of humour and we always have lots to talk about. Now, you should try to make a longer answer to describe someone you know. You can use the examples and language from this essay to help you. I hope these examples are useful for you.