Whatever IELTS guide you refer to. You will notice there are certain common thematic areas. Such as travel, education, environment, and personality.

This article will focus on describing appearance and personality. This points out expressions that it is considered useful to know. So that you can make descriptions in this area in finer detail. Thus increase your chances of getting a higher grade for lexical range.

Describing Appearance And Personality

Describing Apperance

 

Below are some words for describing appearance. Use your dictionary to check the meaning.

Hair

 

bald  curlyreceding (hairline)       straightwavy

 

black-hairedblondefair -hairedgrey-hairedred-haired

 

Face

 

chubbyfreckledround-facedthin-facedsmooth

 

Build & General appearance

 

overweight

 

plump or stout

 

fat (impolite)

 

obese (very fat)

well-built

 

muscular

 

stocky

thin

 

slim (positive -usually for women)

 

lanky

 

anorexic

smart/tidy

 

elegant

 

untidy-looking

 

scruffy

 

scrawny

 

 

beautiful

 

handsome (for men)

 

pretty (for women

 

 

Structures

 

 
He looks tired.
 
She looks as if/though he needs a rest.
 
He seems to be very friendly.
 

Describing Personality

 

 
Below are twenty ‘more advanced’ adjectives. To describe personality, ten positive and ten negative.

Positive

 

assertiveconfident and not afraid to say what you think

 

conscientiousputting a lot of effort into your work

 

down-to-earthpractical and able to talk to people in a direct but friendly way

 

even-temperedcan stay calm and doesn’t get too excited or angry about anything

 

gregariouslikes the company of other people

 

impulsiveact spontaneously

 

self-assuredhaving confidence in your self

 

sensiblehave common and act in a reasonable way

 

shrewdhaving good judgment

 

tactfulcareful not to say or do anything that would upset other people

 

Negative

 

abruptacting or reacting in a sudden, unexpected and unpleasant way

 

aloofunfriendly and having a rather superior attitude to others

 

diffidentlacks confidence

 

discourteousimpolite (formal)

 

garruloustalks too much

 

gullibleeasily fooled

 

impetuousact without thinking (same meaning as ‘impulsive but suggesting it would have been better to think before acting)

 

obstinatenot prepared to change even though that would be the best thing to do

 

taciturnsays very little

 

unscrupulouswilling to act badly and hurt other people to get what you want

 

 

If you are serious about taking your IELTS writing to the next level. Sign up for your FREE 3 part IELTS writing video course that takes you through both task 1 and task 2. The video lessons are led by our highly experienced UK native IELTS teacher, Katherine. We also provide you with exercises to test your understanding!
 
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Exercises

 

Exercise 1

 

Complete the sentences with appropriate expressions from the box below

  1. a) You see a man lying on the ground.
  2. b) You see a driver shouting to himself in a traffic jam.
  3. c) You see someone with their head in their hands.  

 

He looks as if he needs to calm down.

 

He looks as if he’s had a heart attack.

 

smells as if something’s burning.

 

It tastes as if something has been added to it.

 

sounds as if they are having a party.

 

He looks as if he’s had some bad news.

 

 

Exercise 2

 

Identify the odd-man-out (the one different in some way from the other two)

determined

obstinate

stubborn

diligent

conscientious

shrewd

aloof

haughty

shy

tight-fisted

malicious

mean

 

Exercise 3

 

Match the words in column A with their opposites in column B.

                                 A                                                                      B

gregarious

 

slim
courteous

 

sceptical
corpulent

 

garrulous
gullible

 

anti-social
assertive

 

blunt
taciturn

 

quarrelsome
easy-goingrude

 

tactfultimid

 

 

Answers to Exercises

 

Exercise 1

 

a) You see a man lying on the ground.

He looks as if he’s had a heart attack.

b) You see a driver shouting to himself in a traffic jam.

He looks as if he needs to calm down.

c) You see someone with their head in their hands.

He looks as if he’s had some bad news


Exercise 2

 

  1. a) determined – all three have the same meaning but the other two have a negative connotation.
  2. b) shy – the other two convey a feeling of superiority over others.
  3. c) shrewd – the other two both have the sense of ‘hard-working’.
  4. d) malicious – the other two refer specifically to not wanting to spend money.

 

Exercise 3

 

                                 A                                                                 B

gregarious

 

anti-social
courteous

 

rude

 

corpulent

 

slim
gullible

 

sceptical
assertive

 

timid
taciturn

 

garrulous
easy-going

 

quarrelsome
tactfulblunt

 

 

 
Before using new words make sure you know how the words are used, and not just their dictionary meaning. This involves knowing their collocations, level of formality, connotation, and limits (contexts in which you can and cannot use the word).
 
If you are serious about taking your IELTS writing to the next level. Sign up for your FREE 3 part IELTS writing video course that takes you through both task 1 and task 2. The video lessons are led by our highly experienced UK native IELTS teacher, Katherine. We also provide you with exercises to test your understanding!
 
Sign up your FREE IELTS writing video course by clicking here.
 
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