We usually need to describe people’s appearance, to flatter them or, in general, to give our opinion of it.

Think about someone you know well. It could be someone in your family, a close friend, or someone you work with. How would you describe that person’s appearance?

In this short lesson, you will know some words that would help you in this matter.


Positive: beautiful is generally used to describe women; handsome is used to describe men; good-looking is used for both; pretty is another positive word to describe a woman (often a girl) meaning ‘attractive and nice to look at‘.

Negative: ugly is the most negative word to describe someone; plain is more polite.

Height and build

Note: Another word for slim is thin, but slim has a more positive meaning, e.g. John is lovely and slim, but his brother is terribly thin. Skinny also has the same meaning but is very negative.

Also, it is not very polite to say someone is fat; overweight is more neutral and polite.



Special features

The man on the left has got very pale skin (= white skin). He also has broad shoulders, with a small scar at the top of his left arm.

The other man has dark skin. He also has a beard and moustache and quite a hairy chest and a tattoo.

Asking questions about a person’s appearance

Q: What does she look like?

A: She’s quite tall, with short fair hair.

Q: How tall is she?

A: About I metre 65.

Q: How much does she weigh?

A: I don’t know and it may be rude to ask. Probably about 45 kilos.

You can read an extent to this lesson : How to describe character?



Complete these sentences in a suitable way. (More than one answer may be possible.)

1- She’s got blonde .
2- He’s got very pale
3- They’ve both got curly
4- I would say he was medium
5- Her brother has got very broad
6- She doesn’t like men with hairy
7- Last time I saw him he had grown a
8- He’s got very muscular .
9- Both men were very good-
10- All of them have got dark

Replace the underlined word in each sentence with a word which is either more suitable or more polite.

1- He told me he met a handsome girl in the disco last night.
2- She’s beautiful but her younger sister is really quite ult.
3- I think Peter is getting a bit fat, don’t you?
4- Most people want to stay slim, but not as skinny as that girl over there.
5- I think she’s hoping she’ll meet a few beautiful men at the tennis club.

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