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Personal Descriptions

Beginning Level Writing Practice - Introducing Yourself and Others

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Learning to write personal descriptions is important to provide information about yourself or others. This guide to writing personal descriptions is perfect for beginners, or beginning level English learning classes. Begin by writing about yourself by reading the paragraph below, and using the tips to help you write your own personal description. Continue by reading a description of another person and then write a description about one of your friends. ESL teachers can print out these simple paragraphs and tips to use in class when helping beginning level students write personal descriptions.

Read the following paragraph. Notice that this paragraph describes the person who is writing the introductory paragraph.

Hello, my name is James. I'm a programmer and I come from Chicago. I live in Seattle with my wife Jennifer. We have two children and a dog. The dog is very funny. I work at a computer company in the city. The company is very famous and successful. Our daughter is named Anna and our Son is named Peter. She is four years old and he is five. We like living and working in Seattle.

Tips for Writing a Personal Description about Yourself

  • Use 'come from' for the city or country where you were born. Use 'live' for the city where you currently live.
  • Use the present simple tense to explain what you do every day.
  • Use 'have' or 'have got' to speak about your children, pets, etc.
  • Use 'a' the first time you mention something. For example, I live in a house. Then use 'the' after the first time you write about it. For example, I live in a house. The house is in Seattle.
  • Remember to use he, his, him for boys and men and she, her, her for girls and women. Use 'our' when speaking about the whole family.
  • Use 'like doing' when speaking about hobbies.

Read the following paragraph. Notice that this paragraph describes a different person than the person who is writing the introductory paragraph.

Mary is my friend. She is a student at a college in our town. The college is very small. She lives in an apartment in the center of town. She doesn't have a dog or a cat. She studies every day and sometimes works in the evening at a small shop. The shop sells gift items like postcards, games and other small items. She enjoys playing golf, tennis and walking in the countryside.

Tips for Writing a Personal Description about a Friend

  • Remember to add 's' to the present simple tense when writing about other people.
  • In the present simple tense, 'doesn't' takes the 's' in the negative form. Remember to use 'doesn't + verb' in the negative.
  • Use sometimes, often, never, etc. before the main verb in a sentence.
  • Remember to use he, his, him for boys and men and she, her, her for girls and women.
  • Use 'enjoys doing' when speaking about hobbies. It's okay to connect a few verbs using commas, but place 'and' before the final verb in the list when speaking about someone's hobbies. For example, She enjoys playing tennis, swimming and riding horses.

Exercise

  1. Write a paragraph about yourself. Try to use a variety of verbs and 'a' and 'the' correctly.
  2. Write a paragraph about someone else. You can write about a friend or a someone from your family.
  3. Compare the two paragraphs and note the differences in pronoun and verb use. For example,

    I live in Seattle BUT She lives in Chicago.
    My house is in a suburb. BUT His house is in the city.

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