Describing a Picture
To describe a picture we use some terms in basic language we know using some connectors for long statements. These are useful to explain the picture or a short description about the picture. Some useful words we often use in describing a picture are listed below:
|in the middle||a photograph|
|in the center||a painting|
|at the top||a drawing|
|at the bottom||an advertisement|
|on the left side||a poster|
|on the right side||the cover of a book|
|in the background||a map|
|in the foreground||a scene from a film|
|in the top left-hand corner||a chart / a graph|
|in the top right-hand corner||a cartoon (drawing)|
|in the bottom left-hand corner||a strip cartoon|
|in the bottom right-hand corner||a speech bubble|
HOW TO DESCRIBE A PICTURE
Focus on the main part of the picture at the beginning. Look at this picture. What can you see?
This is a picture of a little girl listening to music with headphones.
- This picture shows
- There is / there are
- I can see
Describe as much as you can.
She’s about three years old. She’s got short fair hair and big dark eyes. She’s wearing …
- In the foreground / in the background
- On the right / on the left
Try to use your imagination to make assumptions. For example: The girl could be listening to classical music to improve her mind. Maybe her mother makes her listen to music…or maybe she just listens for fun. She might be listening to music on a train to pass the time. Maybe it isn’t even music at all. She may be learning a language….a CD course perhaps.
- I think… Maybe / Perhaps…
- Modal verbs of deduction: she must / can’t / might be …
- She looks…(happy.)/ She looks like … (my little sister).
- You can also use personal stories Use your stories and examples from your life to speak more. People are much more comfortable talking about their experiences, so talk about yourself. For example when describing the girl listening to headphones you could say
- The little girl is wearing headphones, like the ones my dad had when I was about 6 years old. I remember he used to use them to play the electric key board without bothering my mom. When I wore those headphones some of the black plastic would come off and get stuck on my ears and face. They were huge headphones…not like the ones you can buy today…
- See what I mean? Talking about examples about your life while still describing the pictures…of a girl with headphones but you are more relaxed and comfortable.
- It is best to think about the WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN WHY HOW of each picture.
- Think about the subject, environment, time of day, weather, location, culture…this will give you ideas to keep you talking.
- Finally: Practice EVERY DAY. If you get your mind used to doing the activity you will find that during the exam you will not struggle to find ideas. Your ideas will come to your mind quickly and with little effort.