How to Describe Physical Appearance
Describing physical appearance is one of the common topics that you will study since the topic is found in the most used textbooks.
In order to describe physical appearance in English, you need to manage these :
- Physical Appearance
- Simple Present
- Present Continuous / Past Continuous
- She is beautiful
- She has beautiful eyes
Considerations when Describing the Physical Appearance
We have to be really careful when we describe other people’s physical appearance since some descriptions might be considered impolite or offensive to some people.
Whether the description is accurate people might take it the wrong way when referring to the height, body shape or size.
We have to be really careful when the examples that we use, sometimes people learning a language might use words such as ugly, fat, chubby with the sole intent to offend or make fun of people and classmates.
Vocabulary to Describe Physical Appearance
This is key vocabulary to describe physical appearance
#1 Physical Appearance: Height
These are some common expressions to talk about the height in English
|Tall||He is quite tall|
|Very Tall||Mike is very tall|
|Short||He is very short|
|Medium Height||She is medium height|
#2 Physical Appearance: Build
These are some of the most common words to describe people
|Skinny||She is skinny|
|Big||That guy is big|
|Thin||He is slim|
|Fat||She is fat|
|Overweight||He is overweight|
|Slim||My brother is slim|
|Obese||He is obese|
|Muscular||He is muscular|
|Fit||She looks fit|
|Athletic||He is very athletic|
#3 Physical Appearance: Hair
These are some common expressions and words to describe hair color in English
|Blonde||She is blonde|
|Brown hair||She has brown hair|
|Red hair||He has red hair|
|Black hair||Both of them have black hair|
|Grey hair||She has grey hair|
#4 Physical Appearance: Eyes
These are some common expressions to describe eyes in English
|Grey eyes||She has grey eyes|
|Green eyes||My sons have green eyes|
|Blue eyes||I have blue eyes|
|Brown eyes||He has brown eyes|
|Dark eyes||I have dark eyes|
5: Physical Appearance: Type of Hair
These are some common expressions to describe type of hair in English
|Long hair||She has long hair|
|Short hair||He has short hair|
|Wavy hair||She has wavy hair|
|Curly hair||Her hair is curly|
|Straight hair||She has straight hair|
#6 Physical Appearance: General
These are some expression to describe physical appearance in General Terms
|Beautiful||She is very beautiful|
|Handsome||He is very handsome|
#7 Apperance: Clothing
When you are describing people’s appearance, some people might consider that describing what they are wearing is a good idea.
|Jeans||She is wearing black jeans|
|Pants||He is wearing black pants and a white shirt|
|Skirt||She is wearing a blue skirt and a white shirt|
Grammar to Describe Physical Appearance
These are two of the basic structures to describe physical appearance
#1 Physical Appearance with the Verb to Be
Examples of affirmative and negative sentences with the verb to be
|I am handsome||I am not that handsome|
|He is a very good- looking guy||He isn’t good-looking at all|
|She is tall||She is tall|
|We are in shape||We aren’t in shape|
|They are skinny||They aren’t skinny|
Examples of questions about physical appearance and the verb to be
|Are you in shape?||yes, I am|
|Is she tall?||Yes, she is|
|is he beautiful?||Yes, he is|
|Are they skinny?||Yes, they are|
|Is she tall?||Yes, she is|
#2 Physical Appearance with the Verb to Have
These are some examples of affirmative and negative sentences with the verbo to have
|I have blue eyes||I don’t have blue eyes|
|She has long hair||She doesn’t have long hair|
|He has black hair||He doesn’t have black hair|
|It has black fur||It doesn’t have black fur|
|We have green eyes||We don’t have green eyes|
|They have short hair||They don’t have short hair|
|You have brown eyes||You don’t have brown eyes|
Examples of Questions about physical appearance and the verb to have
|Do you have green eyes?||No, I don’t / Yes, I do|
|Does she have blue eyes?||No, She doesn’t / Yes, She does|
|Does he have short hair?||No, He doesn’t / Yes, He does|
|Do they have green eyes?||No, They don’t / Yes, They do|
|Do we have black hair?||No, We don’t / Yes, we do|
|Do you have short hair?||No, I don’t / Yes, I do|
Dialogue about Physical Appearance
This is a dialogue about people describing people physical appearance using some of the vocabulary and structures used above
- Maria: Look who is over there?
- John: Who?
- Maria: It is Jessica from highschool
- John: What does she look like? I don’t remember her
- Maria: It is the one with long wavy hear.
- John: She looks beautiful
- Maria: Let’s go to say hi to her
- John: Of course
Lesson Plan – Describe Physical Appearance
- Teacher plays You are Beautiful by Ed Sheeran
- Studens are given pieces of paper with the lyrics.
- They have to identify what students has the first part of the lyrics, the second part of the lyris until they find the last part.
These are several pre-task activities, choose the one that you consider appropiate for the level of your students and time constraints.
- Teacher reviews the vocabulary necessary to describe physical appearance using a Quizlet set.
- Students open the quizlet set andc check the spelling and pronunciation of words.
- Students quiz their classmates about the vocabulary in it.
- Students are given three sentences with scrambled words.
- Students have to unscramble the words to make a sentence
- Student turn the sentence into a question.
- She has curly hair = Does she have curly hair?
- She is beautiful = Is she beautiful?
- Students answer a survey about personal appearance with questions like this
- do you have black hair?
- Once they have the answers, they report their answers by saying:
- she has black hair / she doesn’t have black hair
- Students make groups.
- They are given a sheet with ten sentences to one group member
- That member read the sentence aloud
- Group members indicate if the sentence is true or false for them
- Students who indicate that the sentence isn’t true for them make a sentence that represents them better.
To test the listening skills of your students, you can consider some of these listening tasks:
If you want students to produce, create a Powerpoint Presentation and add pictures of celebrities such as famous musicians, singers and other artists. Try to include celebrities that they like so they enjoy the task even more. Take the following considerations:
- Include good-quality pictures.
- Include one picture per slide
- make sure the celebrities have different traits.
Ask the students to describe the people in the slides, make sure they give at least three characteristics so they use most of the vocabulary you taught.
- Students answer a short quiz about grammar related to physical appearance
- Spend some time dealing with pronunciation so students don’t make too many mistakes during practice time.
- Make sure students don’t start using the new vocabulary to call their classmates names. Sometimes students use words like fat and obese to offend a classmate.