There are many questions in the IELTS/TOEFL exam that require you to describe people. Frequently students struggle to think of adjectives and end up using simple words such as nice and good.

Positive Adjectives to Describe People

Adaptable- able to change or be changed in order to deal successfully with new situations

Adventurous-willing to take risks and try new ideas; enjoying being in new, exciting situations

Affectionate-showing caring feelings and love for somebody

Ambitious-determined to be successful, rich, powerful, etc.

Compassionate-feeling or showing sympathy for people who are suffering

Considerate-always thinking of other people’s wishes and feelings; careful not to hurt or upset others

Courageous-showing courage or bravery

Courteous-polite, especially in a way that shows respect

Diligent-showing care and effort in your work or duties

Exuberant-full of energy, excitement and happiness

Frank-honest and direct in what you say, sometimes in a way that other people might not like

Generous-giving or willing to give freely; given freely

Genuine-real; exactly what it appears to be; not artificial

Gregarious-liking to be with other people

Impartial-not supporting one person or group more than another

Intuitive-able to understand something by using feelings rather than by considering the facts

Inventive-able to think of new and interesting ideas

Passionate-having or showing strong feelings of sexual love or of anger, etc.

Persistent-determined to do something despite difficulties

Philosophical-having a calm attitude towards a difficult or disappointing situation

Practical-good at making or repairing things

Rational-able to think clearly and make decisions based on reason rather than emotions

Reliable-that can be trusted to do something well; that you can rely on

Resourceful-good at finding ways of doing things and solving problems, etc.

Sensible-able to make good judgements based on reason and experience rather than emotion; practical

Sensitive-aware of and able to understand other people and their feelings

Sincere-showing what you really think or feel

Sympathetic-showing that you understand and care about their problems

Unassuming-not wanting to draw attention to yourself or to your abilities or status

Witty-able to say or write clever, amusing things

Idioms to Describe Personality

Big cheese-an important person

Tough cookie-a mentally or physically strong person

Go-getter-a very ambitious person

Social butterfly-sociable and likes to spend time with people

Dark horse-a secretive person, often with a hidden talent

Sharp cookie-An intelligent person who is difficult to fool

Book worm-A person who loves to read

Book smart-having a lot of academic knowledge learned from books and studying, but not necessarily knowing much about people and living in the real world

Street smart-intelligence gained outside of school in the real world

Common sense-the ability to think about things in a practical way and make sensible decisions

Night owl-a person who goes to bed late and wakes up late

Early bird-a person who goes to bed early and wakes up early

Activity 1
Describe people who are close to you using at least three of the positive adjectives. You should aim to be able to speak about each person for at 2 minutes.
Activity 2
Try to think of other advanced words to describe yourself and consider including some negative characteristics too.

Post your answers in the comments section below.

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