In the IELTS speaking test, for part 2, you might be asked to describe a person. There are many different types of people you could be asked to talk about, including a polite person, a famous person, a sportsperson, a friend, and so on. Today, however, I am going to show you how to describe an interesting person.
The Cue Card: Describe an Interesting Person
First of all, it is important to note that you cannot predict future cue cards, but it is worth preparing for the future by looking at past ones. However, be careful because they will not necessarily be repeated with the same exact wording.
When it comes to IELTS cue cards about describing an interesting person, you could be given one that is subtly different to those you have practised with in the past.
For example, you could be asked to describe an interesting person you know or describe an interesting person you have met. Whilst these may seem basically the same, knowing someone and having met someone are actually quite different and would require different answers.
Similarly, there are cue cards that ask you to describe an interesting person you would like to meet and those that ask you to describe an interesting person from another country. Clearly, you would need to fixate upon the parts that differentiate these, so read carefully and don’t jump to conclusions.
Today, we are going to explore this cue card:
Describe an interesting person you know.
You should say:
– what sort of person he/she is
– how you first met him/her
– what he/she does for a living
and explain why you think this person is so interesting.
How to Describe an Interesting Person
If you want to describe any kind of person, you need to have a good grasp of vocabulary. That is because talking about people requires specific language to discuss specific points of their personality or lifestyle. Subtle differences in word choice can present big differences in meaning.
When it comes to describing an interesting person, the language that you choose will be to a great extent impacted by the person’s job, personality, and so on. Thus, it is hard to give a set of specific words or phrases that you could use.
However, you might want to learn some words that relate to different aspects of a person’s life:
|Career||Pilot, lawyer, conservationist, filmmaker, musician, researcher, scientist|
|Personality||Mysterious, flamboyant, extroverted, generous, loyal, experienced, maternal, unconventional|
|Habits||Often dashes off to…, frequently travels around…, does the unexpected, never thinks twice, constantly challenges others|
|Appearance||Dresses oddly, is sharply dressed, has an unusual hairstyle, is totally unique, wears the weirdest things, has her own style|
For me, though, describing an interesting person is going to involve not just objective descriptions of a person’s appearance, lifestyle, and personality, but stories.
As I have said before, and discuss the video below, it is much easier to give engaging and detailed answers when you start with a personal aspect, tell stories, and bring the answer to a natural close.
After you are given your cue card, you will have one minute to prepare an answer. You won’t have much time to write anything, but you might want to note down some ideas or vocabulary that could help you later.
When I give sample answers, I tend to quickly write down an important idea (using just one or two words) that I want to mention later in my speech. This will help me to remember it and it also helps calm your nerves because knowing that you have this thing to talk about later stops you from panicking at the thought of your mind going blank.
Just remember: Don’t try to write a whole sentence or even a chunk of a sentence or else you will totally waste your time! After analysing the cue card, picking an idea, and then thinking of things to talk about, you’ve got just a fraction of that one minute left and it’s better to use that time to think of a good starting point.
Below is my sample answer to the cue card: describe an interesting person you know.
Sample Band 9 Answer
Years ago, I became acquainted with a man through Facebook. He was a friend of a friend, and I don’t normally add people like that, but he seemed quite interesting and was also a little famous, so I added him and we chatted a bit. Much to my surprise, he was quite interested in my business, and so we talked about that, and over the years we got to know each other in the digital sense before finally we met when I travelled to America and spent some time in his hometown.
I could tell before I met him in person that Paul was an odd guy by most standards. He is a poet and has lived a life on the fringes of society, more interested in art than anything conventional. He often puts on big events that feature poetry, music, and painting, and he has travelled the world meeting all kinds of famous people. Though he is not the sort to brag about it, he quietly told me some of his stories and I was amazed by the experiences he had had in his life.
Paul is one of those rare folks that you just don’t meet very often in this world. Whilst there are lots of strange people, few of them have his talent, intelligence, and kindness. It is a brilliant mix that made him into a person I am proud to call a friend and certainly one of, if not the, most interesting person that I know.
Notes on the Answer
As usual, I began this answer with a personal story – a memory of meeting Paul. It was a brief sentence but allowed me to start logically and naturally, so that I could talk without having to think too much about the structure of my answer. Likewise, when I felt I had said enough, I brought it to a natural conclusion, with a final sentence that tied everything together. My answer also loosely followed the structure suggested on the cue card, though I did shift a few things about for the sake of a better logical flow of ideas.
In terms of language, it was obviously specific to the person I discussed and your answer should similarly be specific to your chosen person. However, here are some words and phrases that I used that might be applicable to others:
- I became acquainted with___
- He was a friend of a friend
- Much to my surprise, he was___
- over the years we got to know each other in the digital sense
- has lived a life on the fringes of society
- I was amazed by the experiences he had had in his life
- one of those rare folks
- few (people) have his talent, intelligence, and kindness