1e Writing Skills

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1 e Writing Skills

Descriptive writing (people)

1 Read the theory box and the paragraph plan.

Descriptions of/Articles about people should consist of:

a)    an introduction giving brief general information about the person name/relationship to you & how/when you met him/her:

b)    a main body of two to four paragraphs describing the person's physical appearance, personality and hobbies/interests/activities/ achievements etc. in separate paragraphs. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence which summarises the paragraph.

c)    a conclusion with your comments & feelings about the person.
Descriptions of people can be found in articles, letters, narratives etc. We use present tenses to describe someone we know well/see often (a relative, a good neighbour) and past tenses to describe someone who is no longer alive or who we don't see any more (our best friend from primary school, a grandparent who has died).


2 a   Read the model. Match the headings to the paragraphs: A personality & justifications, B comments & feelings, C name and when/where/how met, D physical appearance, E interests

My Dearest Friend

My Dearest Friend

1> Sunny and I met on the first day of secondary school on a warm autumn day. After class I told her that her name described the weather perfectly that day. She laughed, and we became friends.

2>Sunny is an attractive girl in her late teens. She is tall, slender and dark-skinned and she usually wears her shoulder- length brown hair in a ponytail, which highlights her high cheekbones and long oval face. When she smiles, her almond- shaped eyes sparkle and her whole face lights up. She wears light makeup and fashionable clothes.

3> Sunny has an incredibly warm personality. She is supportive and knows how to encourage people when they're feeling down. However, she tends to be very stubborn and determined. Once she's made up her mind about something, no one can make her change it!

4>Sunny always lives life to the full. In fact, she finds it very difficult to sit still for long! She's always humming her favourite songs, too, whatever she's doing! She's adventurous and loves discovering things about people and places.

5>Sunny is a marvellous friend who really lives up to her name. I find it hard to imagine what my life would be like if I hadn't met her.

b The topic sentences in the main body paragraphs summarise each paragraph. Suggest other topic sentences.

3 a  Find words from the article in Ex. 2 which match the headings.

HEIGHT                    short, of medium height, just under six foot
BUILD                      skinny, overweight, well-built, petite
AGE                         in his/her mid-twenties/thirties etc., middle-aged, elderly  pale-skinned,
                                wrinkled,    tanned, freckled/ rosy/
COMPLEXION          rough/dry skin
FACE                       round, heart-shaped, triangular, oval, square
                                curly, straight, long, blond, dyed, thick, medium-length,
HAIR                        spiky, permed, neatly-combed, ponytail, bun
                               deep blue, light brown, sparkling, piercing, sad,
EYES                       tear-filled, expressive, lively
NOSE                      hooked, crooked, long, straight, upturned
CLOTHES                formal, casual, designer, fashionable


b Use adjectives from the table to complete Jane's description. Find pictures of your family members and describe them to your partner.

1 > Jane is quite good-looking. She's slim with ... and ... hair: She's pale-skinned with a ... nose. She always looks well-dressed in ... clothes.

Personality and behaviour

•    When describing someone's personality, use a variety of character adjectives and justify them with an explanation or example. Lyn is very shy: She doesn't like going to parties.
•    If you describe negative qualities, use mild language. Use: tend to, seem to, is rather, can sometimes be etc. Josh can sometimes be rather selfish. (NOT: Jesh is selfish.)

4 a  Match the adjectives to their justifications. Make sentences, as in the example.
1 energetic      2 easy-going          3 talkative          4 lazy
5    bossy   6    optimistic    7    ambitious    8   selfish
9   hot-tempered       10    popular

a    always looks on the bright side of life
b    never stops chatting
c    is always telling people what to do
d    only cares about him/herself
e    is always on the go
f    has lots of friends and is liked by everyone
g    isn't easily annoyed, worried or upset
h    doesn't like working
i    has a strong desire to be successful in life
j    gets angry really easily

> My dad is an energetic person who's always on the go.

b Fill in: aggressive, pessimistic, generous, hard-working, outgoing, arrogant, sensitive, cheerful.

1 Ben is so .......... He believes that a job isn't worth doing unless it's done properly.

2 Alison is quite ............. She often picks fights with people and gets angry really easily.

3 Jake is ........... He's the life and soul of the party and loves meeting new people.

4  Joe is a ..........person. He always expects the worst.

5 Tanya is ...... .She's always got a smile on her fere aod .never J ets Mytiting g&t her down.

6  I've never met anyone Sally. She's always buying people gifts.

7  John is so ........! He thinks he's more important and better than everyone else.

8 Sam is a .......... guy. He's a great listener and seems to understand when you're feeling down.

5   Rephrase the following using milder language.

1    Andy is very proud.
2    My sister always behaves immaturely.
3    He is terribly disorganised.

6 Match the descriptions (1-6) to the adjectives, Find two descriptions in the article in Ex. 2.

•    shy • moody • confident • nervous
•    impatient • sensitive

1 She looks people in the eye and smiles when meeting them for the first time.
2  He looks down at the floor and blushes when speaking to people he doesn't know well.
3  Sara's eyes often fill with tears when she watches sad movies.
4  Sam often sits with his arms folded and with a grumpy expression on his face.
5  Mike taps his foot and sighs when he has to wait.
6  As well as biting her nails constantly, Anna often fidgets a lot.

Linking words and phrases

•    We can join descriptions of similar personal qualities by using: in addition, also, and, both ... and, moreover, as well as etc. She is both kind and helpful. Moreover, she never loses her temper.

•    We can join descriptions of contrasting qualities by using: but, oh the other hand, however, nevertheless, in spite of this, although etc. She is independent and knows her own mind. However; she is sometimes very stubborn.    

1 e   Writing Skills


7  Link the sentences using appropriate words/phrases.

1    She is outgoing. Occasionally she can be moody.
2    He is trustworthy. He is reliable.
3    She is sensitive. She tends to get upset easily.
4    She is helpful. She tends to be immature at times.
5    He is intelligent. He is sensible.
6    He's down-to-earth. He can sometimes be stubborn.

8 a  Read the theory box, then find an example of this technique in the model in Ex. 3.

Using the senses in descriptions.

When describing a person, we can use our senses.

Sight: Instead of saying: She is untidy you can say: As you enter her room you see her things lying everywhere; her clothes on the bed, her books on the carpet and all of her CDs on her desk.

Sound: Instead of saying: She is always talking you can say: You can always hear her chattering away. Itfs difficult to get a word in when you're with her.

Smell: Instead of saying: Uncle Harry had a great garden with lots of roses you can say: The scent of hundreds or roses filled the air of Uncle Harry's garden.

Taste: Instead of saying: She was an excellent cook you can say: You could tell she was an excellent cook from the first bite of her delicious, crunchy biscuits.

Touch: Instead of saying: She had nice skin you can say: Her skin was smooth and silky like a newborn baby's.

b Use the ideas in brackets to rewrite the sentences.

1 Anna had a quiet voice, (speak in soft, gentle voice/sometimes hardly hear her)

> Anna spoke in such a soft, gentle voice that sometimes you could hardly hear her.

2    Dave likes to be smart, (clean-shaven/dress in suit, tie/neatly-combed hair)
3    She wore nice perfume, (always smell beautiful/like sweet, fresh, summer flowers)
4    Sam is always happy, (have wide smile/make skin wrinkle around eyes)
5    I like my mum's hair, (love/run fingers through/soft, silky hair)
6    She is a very loving person, (always touch on arm/hug me)
7    Angie is an excellent dancer, (move expertly to rhythm/glide across floor/when dance)

Discuss and write

9 a  Work in pairs. Read the rubric and discuss: who you could describe; what tense you would use; how many paragraphs you would write and what you would include in each.

You have read the following
in a teenage magazine:


b RNE  Write your answer. Answer the questions in the checklist before you hand it in.

Checklist for descriptions of people


•    Does your article have an introduction, a main body and a conclusion?
•    Have you included clear topic sentences to introduce the main body paragraphs?


Have you used the correct tense(s) throughout?

Have you used a variety of adjectives and descriptive language?

Have you justified the character adjectives you have used?

Have you included appropriate linking words and mannerisms and used mild language for negative character descriptions?

Have you used your senses to make your character more interesting?

Have you checked your spelling and grammar?

Английский язык. 11 класс : учеб. для общеобразоват. учреждений / [О.В. Афанасьева, Дж.Дули, И.В. Михеева и др.]. - 2-е изд., доп. и перераб. - М.: Express Publishing : Просвещение, 2009. - 244 с. : ил. - (Английский в фокусе).

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