Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Speakout Advanced p 15. Commenting on the Pictures. Speaking

Remember that in the speaking task you need to comment on the pictures relating them to the topic. And to do that, you may need to describe what you see or to speculate about it.

1. Say where people and things are in the picture

In the top/bottom right/left-hand corner…On the left-hand side…On the right/left.
At the top/bottom…At the rear…
In the distance…In the middle…
In the foreground/background…In the front/ back
Between/ beside/next to/near/ close to/far from/over/above/underneath/below…
By the door
Opposite/ in front of

2. Describe people and things

The scene/picture shows/depicts/ portrays…
I can see…There is/are…In this picture I can clearly see.
This is a picture of…This picture is a representation of…
They look excited /look like tourists/ look as if they are about to take off /look as though they belong to Barbie doll's feet

You can also describe what is happening, what has just happened, what is going to happen next…

Physical Description


He is going bald /bɔːld/. His hair is receding. He has got a receding hairline.
She wears her hair in a ponytail. She has got a ponytail.
He has got a beard/a moustache/ a goatee/some stubble/ dreadlocks/ sideburns
He has got cropped hair
He has got a crew cut
She wears her hair in a plait /plæt/ /a braid /breɪd// a French plait/a French braid/pigtails/ a bun/cornrows
She has got a plait/braid/ a French plait/a French braid/pigtails/ a bun/cornrows
She has got layered/ permed hair. Her hair is permed/layered
She wears her hair in a bob.
She has got ginger hair (ginger: a light brownish-orange colour)
She has got curly/ straight/ wavy/ thick/ thin /dyed hair
He has got greasy, unkempt hair. (Unkempt: /ˌʌnˈkempt/ not well cared for; not neat or tidy)
She has got a fringe
She has highlights in her hair

Height and Weight

He is rather tall/ fairly short/medium height.
He is quite plump/stout/ slim/skinny/bony/wiry/strong/hefty
Plump: having a soft, round body; slightly fat. E.g. a short, plump woman. A plump face.
Stout: /staʊt/  rather fat, plump.
Bony: /ˈbəʊni/ very thin so that the bones can be seen under the skin. E.g. a bony hand. a tall bony man.
Wiry: /ˈwaɪəri/ thin but strong. Sinewy /ˈsɪnjuːi/ E.g. a wiry little man.
Hefty: big and heavy. E.g. Her brothers were both hefty men in their forties.

He is wearing a pair of polka-dot pyjamas
He is wearing a striped /straɪpt// check(ed) shirt
He is wearing a pinstriped suit/ a business suit/ a two-piece suit/a three-piece suit (with waistcoat/vest)

He is wearing a jogging suit/ tracksuit/ a sweatsuit/ a sweatshirt/ sweatpants
He is wearing a baggy/loose/tight/ a tight-fitting T-shirt
She is wearing high-heeled shoes/ flat shoes/ high heels

He is wearing trainers/ wellingtons/ lace-ups/ loafers/ slippers/ flip-flops/cowboy boots
He looks a little scruffy. He is wearing a scruffy pair of jeans.
Scruffy: /ˈskrʌfi/ dirty or untidy. Shabby.
She is wearing shabby old jeans and a T-shirt.
A wrinkled suit. The suit has wrinkles.
Unkempt: not well cared for; not neat or tidy
He looked tired and dishevelled /dɪˈʃevld/ (very untidy)
She is wearing a sober /ˈsəʊbə(r)//bright dress
A bleached/stonewashed pair of jeans.
Bleach: to become white or pale.
Stonewashed: washed in a special way so that the cloth loses some colour and looks older

He is wearing a polo neck/turtleneck/ V-neck/ crew neck sweater
A polo shirt
He is wearing tapering/ tapered/flared jeans
Taper: /ˈteɪpə(r)/ to become gradually narrower
Flared: /fleəd/ wider at the bottom 
Swimsuit (also swimming costume /bathing suit) (worn by women)
Trunks/ swimming trunks (worn by men)
A short-sleeved shirt/ a long-sleeved shirt
a dress with short / long sleeves. He rolled up his sleeves
To judge from the clothes he is wearing…

3. Speculate. Make deductions about the people/things/place.

Perhaps it's... Perhaps he feels…
Maybe it's... It makes me think (that) maybe he/she …It makes me think (that) maybe she knows the truth.
It's difficult to say, but...
I think I can see
It must be winter. It must be spring.
They must be…They can’t be…she may be…
On the other hand she might be… She might simply be looking at something outside.
The room/landscape might make me feel.
It might suggest (that) …It might suggest (that) he is guilty.
It might/could be…
He/she could be/ must be/ might be …She could be lost but I’m not sure.
These people could be…
This one could be...
They seem to be…
It seems like he/she … / It seems to me that … / It looks to me as if he/she…

It seems like she has no alternative. It seems to me that you have no alternative. It looks to me as if he has no alternative.
She appears to be…I imagine it’s very satisfying to…
I suppose/guess/reckon he’s/she’s about …I suppose she’s about to start.
I’d hazard a guess (that) …I’d hazard a guess (that)the meeting is at 5:30 pm.
If I had to make a guess, I’d say (that) …If I had to make a guess, I’d say (that) they will be at home very soon.
As far as I am concerned…I tend to think that… My personal view is that…
I’m fairly sure…I’m pretty sure he/ she …I’m pretty sure he will arrive late.
I’d say he/ she looks/ doesn’t look …I’d say he doesn’t look very surprised.
I’d say they are probably…
If I were him, I’d probably feel…
One possibility is that…It’s also possible that he...
Judging by the fact that…
To judge from his posture,…
As far as I can gather, he is involved in a fight. From what I can gather, there’s been some kind of problem.
I wonder what he/ she …I wonder what he’ll do now.
There’s something … about him / her. There’s something about him that makes me nervous.
He/ she gives the impression of being …He gives the impression of being very funny.

When you can’t tell

I can’t tell who/where/what… I can’t tell you whether the person is a man or a woman
I can’t see the expression on his face, but I think he must be…
I’m not sure whether this photo is meant to illustrate new technologies in general or the internet in particular.

Advantages and disadvantages

There are a number of advantages/ disadvantages to working in an office/living with your parents…One advantage/disadvantage would be…
The benefits/ drawbacks of ….are obvious, I think.
It’s easy to see the benefits of laptop computers, don’t you think?
Mobile phones certainly make it easier to keep in touch, wouldn’t you say?
The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages
I’m not sure whether there are any health risks associated with heating food in a microwave oven.
I would find it difficult to think of any disadvantages connected with electricity.
Perhaps we have to distinguish between electricity itself and the means of generating it.
Swings and roundabouts: used to say that there are advantages and disadvantages whatever decision you make. E.g. If you earn more, you pay more in tax, so it's all swings and roundabouts. What you gain on the swings you may lose on the roundabouts.

4. Compare and contrast

In contrast to…
As in the previous picture
Similar to/ different from/ the same as

You can also do some exercises here

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