Describing Things - DPU International College

Describing Things


Describing Things

1) Characteristics: linking verbs

Firstly, we use the linking verb ‘be’ to describe things.

It is called a linking verb because it links the subject to a description, for example:

The Iphone is a smart phone.           My car is a Toyota.          My books are interesting.


Things can be described in the following ways:

  1. a) size: enormous, huge, very large, large, big, quite big, medium-sized, quite small, small, very small, tiny

  2. b) weight: very heavy, heavy, quite heavy, not very heavy, light, very light

  3. c) shape: round, square, oval, flat, rectangular, oblong, etc

  4. d) colour: black, gray, brown, blue, purple, green, yellow, orange, red, white

  5. e) materials: wooden, steel, plastic, glass, brick, stone, pottery

  6. f) flavours: sweet, sour, salty, spicy, rich, oily, buttery, creamy, bland

  7. g) appearance: ugly, beautiful, cute, lovely, sweet, attractive, modern

  8. h) age: new, quite new, not very old, quite old, old, very old, antique, ancient

(A list of the most commonly used adjectives can be found in Self Study Pack #1)


Here are some sentences that describe a computer (singular):







The computer is very expensive. It is very fast. It is very modern. It is the best laptop on the market. It is good value-for-money. It is available in most department stores and shopping malls. It is a Compaq Presario.

Here are some sentences that describe Toyota cars (plural):   

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Toyota cars are very reliable. Toyota cars are cheap to repair. Toyota cars are available in most countries. Toyota cars are made in Thailand. Toyota cars are reasonably priced. Some Toyota cars are small and suitable for city driving. Some Toyota cars are large and are suitable for families. Toyota pick-ups are very strong.


Secondly, we use the verb ‘have’ to describe the features that belong to something.

For example: My telephone (third person singular)








My telephone has a camera. My telephone has a USB port. My telephone has a large memory. My telephone has many uses. My telephone has a headphone socket.


My laptop (third person singular)








My laptop has a Pentium processor. My laptop has a 16 inch screen. My laptop has four USB ports. My laptop has an NVIDIA video card. My laptop has microphone and headphone sockets. My laptop has 4 gb of RAM.


My classrooms (Plural)

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My classrooms have many tables and chairs. My classrooms have overhead projectors. My classrooms have computers and microphones. My classrooms have air conditioners. My classrooms have white boards.

Write a few sentences about your friends:

My friends have………………………

My friends have………………………

My friends are……………………….

My friends are……………………….









There are some other ways to describe things too:

  1. a) It’s a kind of… / a type of








A Magnum is a kind of ice cream.









Heineken is a kind of beer.









A Honda Civic is a type of car.








A victoria sponge is a kind of cake.









Gaeng Kio-Wan is a type of Thai curry.









Pepsi is a kind of cola.


  1. b) It looks like…

When two things look similar, we use ‘It looks like…’

I look like my father. (First person)

You look like a monkey. (Second person)

My brother looks like our mother.  (Third person singular)

My sister looks like the next door neighbor. (Third person singular)

My cat looks like a tiger. (Third person singular)

(See Self Study Pack #4 for more explanations and links)


  1. c) It is made of… / It is made from…


We use ‘ít is made of’ to identify the material of something, for example:

A bottle is made of glass.  (It is still glass)

The chair is made of wood. (It is still wood)

We use ‘it is made from’ to describe the ingredients that are used to make something new or different.

Wine is made from grapes (It is now wine. It has been changed into something else)

Paper is made from wood. (It is now paper. It is not wood any more.)

A cake is made from flour, eggs and sugar. (It is now a cake)


What is ice cream made from?

Ice cream is made from cream, eggs and sugar.

What is your shirt made of?

My shirt is made of cotton and polyester. (It is still cotton and polyester)


Utility and Function

When we describe the function of something we use: ‘It is used for’/ ‘it can/could be used for’ (passive voice).

For example:

What is that sponge used for? (passive) / What do you use that sponge for? (active)

It is used for cleaning my car       (‘for’ with a gerund)

It is used to clean my car.             (‘to’ with an infinitive)


What are the following used for?


A ____________ is used to do difficult calculations./ is used for doing difficult calculations 

A ____________ is used to brush my hair. / is used for brushing my hair

A ____________ is used to write. / is used for writing

A ____________ is used to cut wood. /is used for cutting wood

A ____________ is used to dry my hair. / is used for drying my hair

A ____________ is used to clean my teeth/ is used for cleaning my teeth