I was walking with a friend along Pham Ngu Lao, around 4 in the morning. The street was ………….quiet, just some tourists and a little traffic.
I was wearing a small bag, strung across my shoulder. A security guard was behind me, talking to a person in a car. …….., a motorbike came towards me on the pavement. He stopped, …………..my bag strap, then drove away.
Naturally, I shouted but it was too late; he was gone. My friend was worried but I told her it was OK, nobody was hurt. The ………of the bag were really worthless: pens, some medicine, a book, but also my designer glasses.
The security guard was comical in his incompetence. He shook his head, mouth open wide, and said, “It all ………. so quickly, there was nothing I could do.”
I should, …….. , have reported it to the police, that was the ……….. but people told me the thief would never be found. What I learnt from this unfortunate experience was to be very careful and never walk around with valuables.
Could you be a good witness ?
Tell me about the first criminal – height, weight, hair, features …
Now it’s time to put the work of previous lesson together in order to come up with more rounded character descriptions.
You can tell me what people are wearing by using adjectives (what we think of the clothes, the size, colour, pattern, material, country of origin).
Additionally, you should have enough vocabulary to tell me what a person looks like (length, type and colour of hair), height, age, what they look like.
Furthermore, I expect you to remember some personality adjectives.
If we put all these together, we have some very detailed descriptions, as well as having the opportunity to use relative pronouns (who, where, which, whose) in order to develop sentence-building which is absolutely essential for IELTS students.
And so, without further ado:
What do they look like ? What are they wearing ? What kind of person are they ?
As always, I’ll give you an example of what I want, then it’s your turn:
Billy Office manager 32
Works staff very hard. Never gives pay rises
Buys clothes and electronics. Never gives to charity
Becomes angry after beer. Member of a gym.
Not many close friends. Does not like kids
Billy, who is 32 and an office manager, is a very strict boss. He is very serious and also very mean because he doesn’t give his staff more money. Furthermore, he never gives money to charity so he is selfish.
Although he is only 32, he is almost bald. However, he has a neat beard and moustache. He has brown eyes, and he doesn’t like to smile. Billy stands with his arms across his chest, so he doesn’t look very happy.
He wears a bright and expensive cotton shirt with a white collar, but with red, white and blue stripes. Furthermore, he wears an extremely expensive watch.
In his free time, Billy goes to the gym, and also likes to drink beer. However, after too many beers, he can become aggressive. He is a loner, not having many close friends. He spends his money on himself, buying clothes and gadgets. He has no plans for a family as he doesn’t like children.
NOW … YOUR TURN:
Tell me about Ji-yeon and Kofi
Ji-yeon singer 24. Kind to her musicians. Shares money with band. Gives money to family. Performs free shows. Just drinks 1 beer. Uses Instagram & Twitter. Wants 2 children
Kofi civil engineer 37. Very professional. Buys his team lunch. Helps his brother study. Gives money to UNICEF.
Likes to dance and sing. Meets friends weekly.
Goes jogging and diets. Loves swimming. Loves all children.
For these exercises, refer to the previous blog (‘Holiday of a Lifetime’). Put class into small groups and assign a city to each one. The groups have to make a presentation, using advertising-style language: hyperbolic adjectives, expressions, phrases. Furthermore, they must really ‘sell’ the holiday, so they can practice their intonation and stress skills.
The blurb contains the selling points, while the practicalities has information. The style should change for these two parts – the teacher can demonstrate.
What are your first impressions of the man above, Mr Bob Dylan. What do you think of first – his appearance or his personality ? Probably the way he looks.
First impressions count
Today we’re having an advanced class using new words and expressions to describe both the physical and personality attributes of famous musicians.
So, as a warm up, how would you describe Mr Bob Dylan ?
Start with his looks, which are more factual, though subjective (i.e. to some young people, he will look ancient, while to older people, he may look distinguished and wise).
Then, tell me what you think he is like. You probably don’t know Mr Dylan, personally, so you can’t say, “He is incredibly friendly,” or, “He is extremely stand-offish.”
Therefore, you must employ opinion phrases:
He seems to be …
In my opinion …
I don’t know him personally, but I would say he is …
However, would it surprise you to know that Mr Dylan won the Noble Prize for Literature in 2016, and that his music has been unbelievably influential all over the world ?
I will show you some photos of rock stars, and you will practice sentence building. tell me what they look like, and what you think they are like as people. Can you explain why ? Finally, to practice complex sentence, I will give you basic information, and you have to incorporate these facts into long sentences using discourse markers and relative pronouns.
normal-looking // weird- looking // looks more dead than alive // bags under eyes
How would you describe these rock stars ?
Johnny Rotten, Real name John Lydon. Born 1956. Was in the Sex Pistols from 1975 – 1978. Formed band PIL. Changed name back to Lydon. Married Nora Forster in 1979. He was going to be on the Pan Am flight that crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland. He wrote a book, published in 2008.
John Lydon, who performed under the name Johnny Rotten while he was in the Sex Pistols from 1975 – 1978, is married to Nora Forster, and has been married since 1979. After leaving the Sex Pitols, he formed a new band, PIL, and had a book published in 2008. He escaped certain death by missing his flight on the doomed Pan Am flight that exploded over Lockerbie in Scotland.
Look at how much information I pack into the first, complex sentence:
Name – John Lydon
Stage name – Johnny Rotten
Band name – Sex Pistols
Time of band – 1975 – 1979
Marital status – married
Wife’s name – Nora Forster
How long married – since 1979
Now – how does he look ? Friendly ? Sweet and quiet ? What do you think ?
Make complex sentences:
David Bowie born 1947 and died 2016. Born in Brixton, south London. First big record was ‘Space Oddity’ in 1969. Record was in the Top 5. ‘Ziggy Stardust’ was released in 1972. It was incredibly influential. Many musicians say it is one of their favourite records. In 1976 he was in a film called ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth.’ In 1977 he moved to Berlin, Germany and made two important records, ‘Low’ and ‘Heroes.’ He was married to the super model Iman. She is Somali-American. Bowie made records up until his death in 2016. He died of Cancer.
Choose a musician; what do you think they are like ?
Which one would you like to meet, and why ?
Which one makes music you would like to hear ?
If these musicians are too old for you, tell the class about your favourite modern musician. Is it …
good as gold / butter wouldn’t melt in his\her mouth / a little rascal / a handful
well-behaved / a little madam / a young gentleman / full of him\herself
What are the pros and cons (The benefits and drawbacks ) ofhaving children ?
Pros: makes us responsible / patient / sometimes they can be funny
they can enrich our lives
Cons: sometimes they misbehave ( are naughty) / no free time / they need a lot of energy / need a lot of money for toys, sweets, uniform, books, equipment.
Is there pressure from family to have children in your culture ?
Niece (girl) and nephew (boy) = children of my brother/sister
How would you describe these children ?
She has an angelic smile.
Remember – for sentence building, use adjectives and discourse markers (linking words or phrases). Never start with a pronoun (she, it, he, they) but say what the subject is – in this example, the subject is a girl. Now we can keep building up more information:
The girl has an angelic smile.
The young girl has blonde hair and an angelic smile.
The young girl, who has long straight blonde hair, has lovely big green-grey eyes, and is smiling angelically. She wears a multi-coloured T-shirt as well as some flowers around the neckline.
Now – your turn:
Here, you can also add some verbs and background information. Where do you think he is ? How is he feeling ? Who taught him this behaviour ? Do you think his mother is with him ?
These young gentleman attend a very expensive, possibly elitist, private school. Such schools are named ‘public schools’ in the UK. they include Eton, Harrow and Gordonstoun.