descriptions

The language of description

Writing Example

FriendsThe friends have arrived at Frank’s flat and have gone into the dinning room. The table is set for dinner, music is playing, and there are delicious smells coming from the kitchen.
Wendy’s been on a winter holiday to the Maldives. She describes to her friends the hotel where she stayed and two weeks of perfect weather.
Libby and Neil have just moved house. Libby talks about the people who have taken over their old flat and who seem rather snobbish.
To the clink of spoons around soup plates, they start talking about the sounds that people have to get used to in a new home.
As Frank refills the glasses, the conversation flows. The wine is helping our friends to express themselves, but it is also causing them to mix up their colours.
There’s lots of laughter now, as the friends tell stories about their Christmas holidays.
Sarah is talking about her two-year-old granddaughter, Tilly, who recently bumped her head when she fell off the bed on which she had been playing. The friends start remembering their childhood experiences.

Wendy : we used to spend hours skipping with an old rope or hoping around, pretending to have only one leg.
Frank : On hot summer days, I can remember us kids racing round the garden sprinkler naked.
MarkĀ  : Yes, and climbing trees and clambering over fences, crawling through hedges and swinging from branches.
Libby : There was an old house near us. We used to get into te garden and creep around on tiptoe, and then dash away screaming when we heard a noise.
NeilĀ  : Well, anyway, in a few years, we’ll all be limping with a stick, or shuffling around some old people’s house.
Sarah : Speak of yourself! I can recommend bouncing on the bed with your grandchildren. It really keeps you young.

Frank brings in a big bowl of chocolate mousse. It was delicious.
Everyone has enjoyed the evening. Frank and Mark are clearing up, and the others are on their way home.

Learning Points

Good, bad, quiet, wet, hot, cold .. Do your powers of description stop here? Whether you want to talk about your last holiday or your future plans, tell a joke or write your own story in English, you need the right words and phrases to describe people, places, experiences and many other things:
Setting the scene : Mmm! something smells good!
The weather : The weather was lovely. It was gorgeous-glorious!
Looks : Well, he looks a bit wild.
The noises things make : We’ve got these old floors everywhere now, and they creak terribly.
Colours : I went as red as a beetroot. It was so embarrassing!
The sounds humans make : That film was so terrible, we were screaming at the television set.
Movement : She fell flat on her face, poor thing!
Age : How time flies! My parents are coming up to retirement.
Size and quantity : An enormous portion of chocolate mousse for me, please.
Material metaphors : Well, there was certainly lots of juicy gossip!


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