Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today you will learn vocabulary for describing a person’s physical appearance and personality on Speaking Part 2.

Go to for your IELTS score and free resources.

Today’s question comes from 3 Keys IELTS student Abla Herida.

She asked the following question:

I was wondering if you can make a video for answering Part 2 questions about describing a person, including both physical appearance and personality. Thank you in advance!

Watch the video now!

Where on IELTS will you describe people?

There is a good chance you will be asked to describe a person in Speaking Part 2.

You may be asked to describe a hero or someone you look up to or admire.

Questions also come up asking you to describe your favorite celebrity or television character.

You might also be asked to describe a friend or loved one.

For many other questions describing a situation or event, you can always describe the people who were present!

In order to take the full 2 minutes talking about the person you’re asked to describe, you’ll definitely need a lot of high level vocabulary at your fingertips!

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#1: Describe physical appearance

First, you can describe their physical appearance.

You can, of course, describe their height and build.

A band 9 word for someone who is tall and thin is lanky.

  • Lanky: tall and thin

If they’re a bit clumsy or awkward, a fun idiom is, “They have 2 left feet.” 

  • Two left feet: clumsy

There are fantastic idioms for describing hair and eye color. 

When a person’s hair is starting to have some grey in it, you can call the color “salt and pepper”.

We often refer to this as a distinguished look, meaning it has an air of commanding respect.

Eyes can be referred to as piercing if they have an intense look, and in this case we can also use the idiom:

When she looks at you, she sees straight into your soul.

#2: Describe the look of their face

Additionally, you can describe the look of their face.

You have an opportunity here to boost your Vocabulary score with high level adjectives.

Faces can be described as thoughtful, intelligent or discerning.

  • Discerning: they look like they’re figuring things out

Their look can also be referred to as kind, cheerful, friendly or charming.

You could say, “She has a kind face, and just looks like everyone would want to be her bosom buddy.”

  • Bosom buddy: a very close friend

As you can see, when describing a person, you’re not limited to a simplistic, “She has brown hair, green eyes and is average height.”

#3: Provide detailed descriptions

Get descriptive!

Use interesting adjectives!

This will help you get that 7 or higher on your Vocabulary score.

It can also make it easier to boost your Pronunciation score, as it’s easier to vary your intonation with unique adjectives.

“He has piercing, discerning eyes that see straight into your soul!”


There is a good chance you will need to describe a person on the IELTS exam.

Use today’s high level vocabulary to get a 7 or higher on these questions.

If you are just beginning your journey studying for IELTS, or if you want to check if you’re ready for test day, take our free quiz.

This 2-minute quiz is based on Jessica’s 14 years of Examiner experience.

It gives your estimated band score and free resources for your level.

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What questions do you have today?

Let us know in the comments below.

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