Учебно-методическое пособие по аспекту «Устная речь» для студентов III курса факультета английского языка

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When we speak of somebody’s appearance, we mean his or her figure, hands, feet, hair, face. A man or woman may be heavily built, delicately built, or well – made. The figure may be slender, or stooping, thin or stout, fat or plump. A person may be: tall, short or of medium height. As for a person’s arms, they may be short, long, rounded, thin, slender or shapely. Some people have small, thin and shapely hands. The hand may also be large, plump or bony. We usually find good-looking people with long shapely or slender legs. But if a person has short legs we find him ugly. We also pay attention to a person’s walk or gait. One’s steps may be light heavy, firm, though old people usually shuffle their feet, they have a shuffling gait.

When we describe a person’s appearance we usually mention his or her hair, which may be: black, dark, red, chestnut, brown, fair, golden, gray, white. According to the fashion woman’s hair may be cut, plaited or done in a knot at the back of her head. Some women wear a fringe. Women have their hair cut or done in various styles at the hairdressers. Men have a shave and have their haircut, and their beards and moustaches trimmed at the barber’s. Some men lose their hair and go bald.

The face may be square, oval, round, long, thin, slump, angled.

People’s complexion may be dark, fair, olive, ruddy. A person may have regular or irregular features. He may also have large, delicate clean – cut features. He may also have a large broad or narrow, high or low forehead and his eyebrows may be thin, thick, bushy, penciled, dark or fair. I won’t be mistaken if I say that each girl wants to have large wide-set eyes with long, thick curving eyelashes. The eyes may be of different colours: dark, black, hazel, brown, blue, grey, green.

The nose is considered to be good-looking if it is not large and it is straight. A plump face with a snub nose and dimples on cheeks also looks rather nice. The nose may also be hooked or aquiline. The mouth may be big, small, wide, and narrow. The shape of the lips makes it well-cut, firm, thin. The teeth may be even, uneven, large, small, tiny and pearly.

When a woman’s face and figure delight us we say that she is beautiful, handsome or good-looking. If she is pleasant to look at we say that she is attractive or pretty. But a person’s appearance may be common or even ugly. A lot of women want to lose weight and only few want to put on weight.

When a person resembles somebody we say that he takes after his father or mother. We may also say: he is the very image of his mother.

We say that a person looks his age when he looks neither older nor younger than he is in reality. He may look young for his age or look old for his age.

We often say that the face is the index of the mind. Besides, we should remember that sometimes appearances are deceptive and a fair face might hide a foul heart.

appearance, n – the way a person or thing looks to other people

heavily built, adj – weighing a lot; needing effort to move or lift

delicately built, adj – pleasantly soft or light; not strong

slender, adj – thin and delicate, often in a way that is attractive

stooping, adj – when someone stands or walks with their head and shoulders bent slightly forwards and down

stout, adj – (especially of older people) quite fat and solid-looking, especially around the waist

plump, adj – having a pleasantly soft rounded body or shape, POLITE WORD FOR fat

shapely, adj – used to describe something that has an attractive form, especially a woman's body or parts of a woman's body

bony, adj – very thin

gait, n FORMAL- a particular way of walking

shuffle, v – to walk by pulling your feet slowly along the ground rather than lifting them

chestnut, adj – reddish-brown in colour

plaited, adj – three or more lengths of hair or string-like material joined by putting them over each other in a special pattern

fringe, n – an area of hair hanging over the forehead that is cut shorter than the rest of the hair

trim, v – to make something tidier or more level by cutting a small amount off it

bald, adj – with little or no hair on the head

slump, adj – having a retreating forehead

complexion, n – the natural appearance of the skin on a person's face, especially its colour or quality

ruddy, adj – red

snub, adj – a nose that is short and turns upwards at the end

dimple, n – a small hollow place, especially one which appears on a person's face when they smile

hooked, adj – describes a nose which is large and curved

aquiline, adj – a nose curved like an eagle's beak

delight, v – to give someone great pleasure or satisfaction

resemble, v – to look like or be like someone or something

deceptive, adj – making you believe something that is not true


  • What do we mean when we speak of somebody’s appearance?

  • What can you tell about person’s figure?

  • What people do we usually find good-looking or ugly?

  • Is it necessary to mention his or her hair when we describe a person’s appearance? Give your grounds.

  • What can you tell about person’s features?

  • What do we say when a woman’s face and figure delight us?

  • When do we say that person takes after his father or mother?

  • What do we say if a person looks neither older nor younger than he is in reality?

  • How do you understand the proverb “Appearances are deceptive? Do you agree with this statement?

  • If somebody asked you to describe somebody’s appearance what would you start with?

  • What is the most important feature in the appearance of the other sex as you see it?

  • Do you think appearance is the most important thing in life? Give your grounds.

  • What do you think about the idea of altering one’s appearance with the help of surgery? Do you approve or disapprove of it?

Comment (agree or disagree, say why) upon the following quotations by famous people:

  • There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is what makes its pursuit so interesting.
    * John Kenneth Galbraith (Canadian-U.S. economist and public servant)

  • Beauty is all very well at first sight; but who ever looks at it when it has been in the house three days?
    * George Bernard Shaw (Irish playwright and critic)

  • What is a face, really? Its own photo? Its make-up? Or is it a face as painted by such or such painter? That which is in front? Inside? Behind? And the rest? Doesn't everyone look at himself in his own particular way? Deformations simply do not exist.
    * Pablo Picasso (Spanish-born French painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer)

  • A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction.
    * Oscar Wilde (Irish poet and dramatist)

  • Rarely do great beauty and great virtue dwell together.

* Petrarch (Italian scholar, poet, and humanist)

Use the words below to describe one of your group mates and let other students guess who it is

Describing appearance




tall, tallish, short, shortish, medium height

frail, stocky, slim, thin, plump, fat, skinny, well-built

young, elderly, middle-aged, teenager, in 20s, 30s, 40s





round, oval, square, with scares, wrinkles, freckles, sun-tanned, pale

big round blue eyes, large, small, bright, narrow

bald, straight, curly, spiky, wavy

casual, scruffy, shabby, smart, tidy, messy

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