English in Use 1 - DPU International College
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  • Modified August 3, 2016

English in Use 1

English in Use 1 Self Study Class 1 Describing people

Class 1: Describing people
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Keywords: The verb ‘be’, linking verbs, descriptions, complements, present simple
Background
There are many situations in which you need to do the following:

1) State facts about yourself
2) Describe yourself to other people or describe other people
3) Ask questions about personal information
4) Answer questions about personal information

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Discussion: In what situations do you need to do any of these things?
Write down the situations that you have experienced:
1
2
3
4
5

If you meet someone for the first time, or you are interviewing someone, you might ask the following questions:
What is your name?
What do you do?
Where do you come from?
How old are you?
What is your nationality?
These are called ‘WH’ questions. In each question, the tone goes down towards the end of the question.

e.g. How old are you?

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PRACTICE 

Listen to me say the question and then say it yourself:
When answering such questions, you can answer by saying ‘I am…..
What is your name?                                       I am Steve Cannell. (My name is Steve Cannell.)
What do you d o?                                           I am a teacher.
What is your nationality?                                I am English / I am from England. (I come from England).
How tall are you?                                           I am 1 metre 75 centimetres tall
How old are you?                                           I am 52 years old.

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PRACTICE 

I am’ can be contracted. That means it can be shortened by joining ‘I’ and ‘am’ together to make ‘I’m…:
I’m Steve. I’m a teacher. I’m from England. I’m 1metre75 centimetres tall. I’m 52 years old.

How about you?

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Nationality
Country (noun)Nationality (adjective)
England/UKEnglish
France French
AmericaAmerican
GermanyGerman
JapanJapanese
VietnamVietnamese
CambodiaCambodian
ThailandThai
LaoLaotian
MyanmarBurmese
CameroonCameroonian
KoreaKorean
IndonesiaIndonesian
The PhilippinesPilipino
MalaysiaMalaysian
BhutanBhutanese
IndiaIndian
SingaporeSingaporean
RussiaRussian
SwedenSwedish
TaiwanTaiwanese

 

Speaking Practice
Choose a country and then take turns asking your partner the following question:
Question: What is a boy/girl from _____________ called?
Answer: He / She is ________________

Work with your partner or friend and ask and then answer the following questions:
When you have finished, change roles and answer your partner’s questions.
What is your name?                                   ‘I’m ……………’ (or ‘My name is…’)
What do you do?                                       ‘I’m a…………………’
Where do you come from?                         ‘I’m from……………..’ (or ‘I come from…..’)
How old are you?                                      ‘I’m……………..’
How tall are you?                                      ‘I’m……………..’
What is your nationality?                           ‘I’m……………..’

Grammar Note:
The verb ‘be’ in the sentences we have been using is known as a LINKING VERB.
It is called a linking verb because it links the subject of the sentence, for example ‘I’, with a description of the subject (a complement), for example ‘English’.
Subject Linking Verb Description (a complement)
I am English
I am a teacher
I am 52 years old
We use the present simple tense because these facts are true at the present time.

Third person verbs
When you describe another person using the present tense, you use ‘third person’ verbs.
The first person is you, the speaker (I am…).
The second person is the person you are talking to. (You are… Are you…?)
The third person is a person or thing that you are talking about
(He is… She is… It is… Is he…? Is she…? Is it…?)

For example:
My partner is called Somchai, and he is a boy. He is 18 years old.
He is Thai, and he is from Buriram. He is a good student. He is…….

Write some sentences below about the girl in the picture:

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She’s …………………………………………….
She’s…………………………………………….
She’s …………………………………………….
She’s …………………………………………….
She’s …………………………………………….
She’s …………………………………………….

Here are some descriptions that might help you

ThaiCambodianChinesea superstarTaiwanese
a boya girla teenagera studenta sportsman
happylazygay18 years olda bad student
1 m. 55 cm. tallslimbeautifulaverage heightfrom Thailand
tiredboredexcitedhard-workinga good student
handsomechubbysadcleverstupid

 

Asking questions
When asking questions you have to reverse the subject and the verb:

 

Subject                      Verb                        Description
I                                       am                                Japanese         =          a statement

Verb                        Subject                      Description
Are                                 you                                Japanese?       =          a question

 

Write down 5 questions using descriptions (a complement) of your choice and then ask your partner the questions.

1 Are you………………………………?
2 Are you……………………………….?
3 Are you.………………………………?
4 Are you………………………………?
5 Are you………………………………?

These questions give a yes or no answer, so the tone goes up e.g. Are you happy?
Your partner will either say: ‘Yes. I am.’ or ‘No. I’m not.’

When you have asked the questions and decided what information you are going to include, you are now ready to describe your partner.

Task: Describe your partner or another student in the class.
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Describing things
We also use the third person to describe singular things:
For example: a house, a car, a pet, or a product

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My house is: modern / old / traditional / large / small / beautiful
My car is: fast / slow / old / new / Japanese / a Toyota / in the car park
My cat is: female / young / playful / always hungry / black and white
My telephone is: a Samsung / a tablet / expensive / very modern / very useful
We also use the pronoun ‘ít’ to represent something
For example: “My car is Japanese. It is a Toyota Vios.”

Try to describe something of your choice using the verb ‘be’ using ‘it’ where necessary:

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Describing groups of people

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We are students at DPUIC

They are military cadets.

You are students in my class.
(In this case ‘you’ is plural)
Exercise: Use the verb ‘be’ (present tense) in each gap to match the subject
1: Ploy………….. a student, and she………18 years old..
2: Somchai………..Thai.
3: Ploy and Somchai……………. students.

4: Ploy…………..a girl, but Somchai …………..a boy.
5: My car ……………. a Toyota.
6: My house……………..in Bangkok
7: My brother and sister…………….English.
8: My dog……………..very fat.
9: My dog and my cat …………………. friends.
10: We …………………… at Dhurakij Pundit University now.
11: They ……………………. in the library.
12: You …………………. a good girl, and he………….a good boy..
13: The government……………..elected by the people.
14: The shop near my house……………..very convenient.
15: The shops near my house………………..very small.
16: The sea water ………………… very cold.
17: The food……………………..delicious.
18: The animals …………………. hungry.
19: He………………..handsome.
20: She …………………. very intelligent.
21: My sister…………..quite selfish.
22: Your mother ……………. very nice, but you…………very talkative.
23: His mother and father……………..government officials.
24: Air pollution ……………. bad for your health.
25: Cycling ……………… good for your health.
26: My house and garden……………..very large.

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Adjective list from the most frequently-used 2000 words in English
Homework Task: Highlight the words you know: Google the words you don’t know and create a list/file of new words. Try to use any new words when speaking and writing.

academicableactiveactualadditionalafraid
alternativealoneancientannualapparentappropriate
attractiveavailableaverageawarebadbasic
beautifulbloodyblackbigbluebrief
brightbroadbusycapablecarefulcentral
certaincheapchiefcivilcleanclear
closecoldcommercialcommoncompletecomplex
concernedconservativeconsiderableconstantcorporatecorrect
criminalcriticalculturalcurrentdangerousdark
deaddeepdemocraticdetaileddifferentdifficult
directdomesticdoubledrydueearly
easterneasyeconomiceducationaleffectiveeither
elderlyemptyentire environmentalequalessential
excellentexistingexpensiveexternalextrafair
familiarfamousfarfastfemalefinal
financialfinefirstfollowingforeignformal
freefreshfrontfullfunnyfuture
generalgoodgreat green grey growing
happy heavy historical hot hugehuman
immediateimportantimpossibleincreasedindependentindividual
industrialinitialinterestedinterestinginternationalinternal
liberaljoint large leading legal local
lovely low limited main majormale
marriedmedicalmentalmilitarymodernnarrow
nationalnaturalnecessarynew nice normal
northern nuclear obvious odd oldordinary
original overall particular perfect permanent personal
physical political poor popularpositive possible
powerful practical pretty previous previously primary
prime private professional proper quick quiet
rare ready real reasonable recent red
regionalregularrelativerelevantreligiousresponsible
richrightroyalruralsafescientific
secondaryseniorseparateseriousseveresexual
shortsignificantsimilarsimplesingleslow
smallsocialsoftsorrysouthernspecial
specificstandardstrongstrangesubstantialsuccessful
sufficientsuitablesuretalltechnicalterrible
tinythin toptotaltraditionaltrue
typicalunitedunableupper urban useful
usual various vast veryvital young
warm weak western white wide wild
wonderful working wrong

If you want to hear these words spoken by a native speaker, open the link below and cut and paste the word into the box.

Click here to visit the website

 

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