Hello September and hello everybody! This week we´re going to talk about ‘oral expression’. In a speaking exam, are you able to describe a picture or your mind goes blank? If so, don´t worry because we´re going to give you some tips to improve your skills when describing a photo. Go on and read this post!
First of all, what´s a monologue? According to WordReference (one of our favourite online dictionaries) a monologue is a ‘long speech by a single speaker’. And there is the problem: ‘a single speaker’. No one can help you. That´s why a lot of people prefer dialogues instead of monologues. But don´t worry because you can follow some tips to describe a picture.
DESCRIBING A PHOTO: BASIC TIPS
The teacher / examiner show you a picture / photo, what do you have to do?
-You have to describe the place, the things and the people in the photo and what are they doing. (You have to imagine you´re describing it to someone who can´t see. That´s why you have to include the name of the objects, describe colours, people clothes, the weather and so on. But please, avoid giving a boring list of things you can see. Try to sound interested!)
-You have to talk about facts and impressions. (E.g. He looks sad… The house is warm and cozy…)
-If you don´t understand what´s happening in the picture, just describe what you can see. (E.g. I can see a man. He´s wearing a jacket…)
-Learn some expressions to use when you don´t know the name of something. (E.g. I don´t know what´s called in English, but it´s like… / it´s a kind of… / it´s a thing for… / you can use it to… )
DESCRIBING THE PEOPLE IN THE PHOTO
In this photo / picture I can see… / There´s a /an…
-An old person
-An adult (man / woman)
-A teenager (boy / girl)
-A child /kid
Describing somebody´s age
-I think he´s young / old.
-I think he´s probably about 15 (Remember: You can only guess, you´re not a fortune-teller!!)
-I believe he´s in his early / mid / late thirties / teens.
-I believe he´s in his forties (between 41 and 49).
-I think he´s middle-aged.
Describing somebody´s body
-He´s tall and slim. (Slim: thin but in an attractive way).
-He´s medium height and well built.
-He´s short and a bit overweight.
Describing somebody´s hair
Hair colour: fair (blonde), brown, red, black, grey, white.
No hair: He´s bald.
Appearance: wavy, curly, straight.
Length: long, shoulder-length, medium-length, short.
Hairstyles: ponytail, fringe, braids…
Facial hair: a moustache, a beard, sideburns…
E.g. She has fair hair and a ponytail. / She has short brown curly hair. / He´s bald and has a moustache.
Describing what somebody´s wearing
He / She is…
-well /smartly dressed
-wearing casual / informal clothes
-wearing a jacket, a dress, a track suit, a suit…
Materials: cotton, silk, leather, denim, woolly…
Patterns: striped, checked, plain, floral…
Details: zip, buttons, short /long sleeves, earrings, nose ring, necklace, handkerchief…
Special features: tatto, piercing, scar…
He / She looks…
-Happy, sad, angry, nervous, excited, surprised, tired, confused, disappointed, frightened, worried… (Remember, you can only guess!)
Describing a house
-Household objects and furniture: chair, fridge, washing machine, cupboard, shelf, sofa, table, TV…
-Rooms: bathroom, bedroom, dining room, garage, garden, hall, kitchen…
-Jobs around the house: cook, do the ironing, do the shopping, do the washing, lay the table, make the bed, take out the rubbish, tidy up, wash the dishes…
-Adjectives: new, antique, old-fashioned, modern…
-Design and decoration: well /badly designed, stylish, tasteful, original, practical, luxurious…
-Atmosphere: comfortable, impersonal, relaxing, cosy…
Describing a landscape
-Natural world: field, flowers, forest, hill, island, lake, mountain, river, sky, valley, waterfall…
-The weather: cloud /cloudy, cold, dry, foggy, hot, icy, rainy, snowy, stormy, sunny, warm, wet, windy…
When speaking, try to use connectors to link your ideas. That way your speech sounds more natural. For example, you can use:
-Moreover /Besides / In addition/ Furthermore / What´s more (Además, lo que es más)
-However / Nevertheless (Sin embargo)
-Despite + verb-ing (A pesar de…) E.g. Despite being easy to recycle, nobody does it.
-On the one hand /on the other hand (Por una parte, por otra parte)
-Firstly, secondly, thirdly, next, finally… (Primeramente, en segundo lugar, en tercer lugar, después, finalmente…)
-Consequently / As a result… (Consecuentemente, como resultado…)
-To cut a long story short… (En resumidas cuentas…)
-To sum up (Resumiendo…)
-In other words / To put it another way… (En otras palabras…)
Remember that to enrich your vocabulary you can use ‘idioms’, phrasal verbs, compound adjectives, conditional sentences and modal verbs. Here you have some examples.
-He seems to be the life and soul of the party
-I think she has a heart of gold.
-I believe he´s a know-all / the teacher´s pet.
-I think he´s… a fast mover / a slow coach / as hard as nails / a cold fish…
-Work out: entrenar.
-Take after: parecerse a.
-Get on: llevarse bien.
-Look up to: admirar.
-Look down on: menospreciar.
-Ask someone out: invitar a salir.
-A middle-aged woman.
-A 30-year-old man.
-A worried-looking but friendly man.
-A half-witted / quick-witted person.
-A stony-faced woman.
-It´s snowing. If I were the girl in this picture, I would wear a coat.
And that´s all for today!
Are you able to describe a photo now? If so, leave us a comment, please. Thanks for visiting our blog!