Unit 13: People | Vocabulary | B1
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Unit 13: People | Vocabulary | B1

EXERCISE 1  |  Appearance

You may have heard a number of different words used to express ‘fat’ or ‘thin’ when describing people. Here are some examples:

chubby     plump     overweight
all mean ‘fat’ in some way, while
slim     skinny     frail
are ways of saying ‘thin’

The reasons for the variety of expressions is that each word contains more in its meaning than just fat or thin. We use chubby or plump in an affectionate ay, often to describe children. It can also be applied to other people and is more polite than the word fat. Overweight is also a more polite expression than fat and is sometimes used in a clinical way, by doctors or officials.

Slim is a complimentary word for thinness, while skinny is slightly derogatory and suggests too thin.

Frail is used most often for old people and denotes weakness as well as thinness.

Complete these sentences with the correct word:

1. What do you say to someone when you don't want to hurt their feelings but you are concerned that they are putting on a lot of weight?

Aren't you a little ___________?

2. What might you say to a child who is gaining weight?

You' re getting quite ___________, aren't you?

3. What could you say about a fashion model's enviable figure?

She's very ___________ with long legs.

4. She's eighty-two years old, small and very ___________.

5. You should eat more; you' re getting very ___________.

6. He's a sweet baby, with___________ pink cheeks.

EXERCISE 2  |  Find the villains - police offer reward!

Police report file number:    253

At approximately 22:20 hours on the night of 22nd September, two people were seen getting out of an X-registered Ford Escort in Brixton High Street. They then forced entry to Jones’ Jeweller’s shop, and made off with valuables worth over £250,000. The alarm was raised by a passer-by, who told the police that the thieves were dressed all in black: one was a woman aged 30-35, with short, spiky hair, thick lips and dangly earrings. The other was described as male, 35-40 years of age, bald, with thick eyebrows.

Can you pick out the suspects from the line-up below? [see pictures]

EXERCISE 3  |  Character

Match the opposites in the following list of character traits:

1. sensitive A. miserable
2. clumsy B. tactless
3. cheerful C. unreliable
4. loyal D. graceful
5. reliable E. unsympathetic
6. trustworthy F. insensitive
7. tolerant G. disloyal
8. sympathetic H. untrustworthy
9. tactful I. intolerant


To show that you can understand and use the words in EXERCISE 3 correctly, select the correct word to fill the gaps in the sentences below:

1 I have just heard from a ___________ source that this isn't the first time such an accident has occurred.

2 I have complete faith in her; she has always been a very ___________ employee.

3 You should be more ___________ towards people who have different opinions from yours.

4 He's a very___________ child; he gets upset easily if the others tease him.

5 She's so ___________ when she's not wearing her glasses; she trips over everything.


From the sentences below, decide which of the three words given is the correct one:

1. Someone who is happy one day and miserable the next is stubborn/moody/intolerant.

2. If you've just passed an exam, you feel very pleased/contented/cheerful with yourself.

3. If you don't say 'please' and 'thank you', then you' re not being very kind/polite/nice.

4. Once you decide something, nothing will change your mind; you' re very stable/constant/stubborn.

5. If you accept other people's points of view, you are sympathetic/tolerant/tactful.

6. You don't think before you speak; the moment you open your mouth, you say something tactless/clumsy/rough.

7. If you' re always tripping over or breaking things, you are clumsy/reckless/insensitive.

8. If you always arrive at meetings at the correct time, you are timely/punctual/loyal.


Divide the following characteristics into 'positive' or desirable characteristics and 'negative' ones:

intelligent     disloyal     tolerant     reliable     stubborn     tactless     clumsy
punctual     moody     patient     trustworthy     unsympathetic



Now write some sentences about yourself, including your positive and negative characteristics. Use some of the words above, as in the example:

e.g. I'm a loyal friend. 1 don't say things behind my friends' backs.