Describing Friends

Describing People
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Read the dialogue and the reading selection to learn about describing both male and female friends. 

My Friend

  • My friend Rich is coming to town next week. Have you ever met my him?
  • No, I haven't.
  • He's kind of crazy, but a great guy.
  • Yeah, why do you say so? What's he like?
  • He's really hard working, but very much a loner. He's pretty talented and can do just about anything.
  • Sounds interesting. Is he married?
  • No, he isn't.
  • What does he look like? Maybe my friend Alice would be interested in meeting him.
  • He's tall, slim and quite good looking. I'm sure your friend would find him attractive. What's she like?
  • She's outgoing and very athletic.
  • Really? What sports does she like playing?
  • She's a great tennis player and also goes bicycling a lot.
  • What does she look like?
  • She's kind of exotic looking. She's got long dark hair and piercing black eyes. People think she is rather beautiful.
  • Do you think she would like to meet Rich?
  • Sure! Why don't we introduce them?
  • Great idea!

Key Vocabulary

  • to be like = used for character description
  • to like doing = used to state general preferences
  • would like to do = used to state a specific wish
  • look like = used to speak about physical appearance
  • loner = likes to be alone a lot
  • outgoing = very ambitious and does lots of activities
  • athletic = very good at sports
  • exotic = from a little known location
  • piercing = looking deeply into
  • rather = very

Differences in Vocabulary between Men and Women

You've probably learned that the adjective 'handsome' is generally used with men and 'beautiful' with women. It's a general rule, but there are certainly instances in which a woman is handsome or a man is beautiful.

Of course, it's all in the eye of the beholder. The same can be said for the adjective 'pretty' which is used with women. Whereas, 'cute' is used when referring to either sex. 

This is also true when speaking about a person's character. Any adjective can be used to describe either sex, but some are more common than others. Of course, these days, many people rightly complain about such stereotypes. Still, there are preferences that lie deep in the English language.

'Guys' and 'gals' used to be used to refer to men and women in an informal manner. These days, it's common to refer to everyone as 'guys'. Job names have also changed over the years. It's common to change words like 'businessman' to 'businesswoman' or 'business person'. Other job titles such as 'stewardess' are no longer in use. 

These changes in vocabulary is an example of how English commonly changes with the times. In fact, English is such a flexible language that it's difficult to understand English from four hundred years ago, whereas other languages such as Italian have changed relatively little in comparison. 

Key Vocabulary

  • to refer to either sex = be used with both male and female
  • stereotype = a general idea, often negative, of how a particular group of people act
  • to change with the times = to make changes as the culture changes
  • in the eye of the beholder = for the person who is taking notice
  • to lie deep in the language = to be at the roots of a language

More Intermediate Level Dialogues