Collocations about Physical Appearance
If you want to speak a foreign language properly, you need to learn the words that ‘collocate’ (go together) to sound natural. Collocations are especially important if you talk to native or advanced native speakers because they are chunks of words that are common and natural expressions. In that sense, here are some commonly used collocations about physical appearance. Hopefully, they’ll come ‘handy’ 🙂
When we want to describe someone’s appearance, it definitely helps to tell their age. We can say the exact age:
Marcia is 43 years old. (not Marcia is 24 years or Marcia has 24 years.)
If we don’t know the exact age of a person, you can use general age expressions such as in his/her 30s or early/mid/late 40s.
He’s a man in his 50s, or he’s a middle-aged man.
The burglar was in his early/mid/late 30s.
We usually use the verb BE to talk about people’s height.
People can be tall, short, medium tall, etc.
Peter is a tall guy. He used to play basketball back in high school.
Sara is not very tall. She’s a medium-tall lady.
There are numerous ways to describe someone’s weight. We can say that someone is underweight or overweight.
Some people find it hard to stick to the same weight. That’s how they may become overweight.
When talking about how much people weigh, we can also say that they are thin, skinny, slim, fit, plump, chubby, fat, etc.
Scarlet is tall and slim and fit, while her sister is short and plump. They don’t look alike at all.
Hair can be long or short, fair, blond, brown, dark, etc. It can also be straight, wavy or curly, etc.
People can lose their hair and go bald.
Darren is a boy with short, wavy, fair hair.
When we talk about the shape of people’s faces, we say it is oval, round, long, squared, etc.
You can use a wide range of adjectives to describe someone’s face: beautiful, pretty, smiling, sad, familiar, strange, pleasant, etc.
Hank had a round, smiling face with friendly blue eyes.
A nose can be small, big, pointed, straight, hooked, Grecian, etc.
Tina was a tall girl with curly blond hair and a small, straight nose.
People’s skin can be tanned, pale, light, dark, blemished, freckled, smooth, soft, dry, oily, etc.
Look how tanned his skin is. He must have been sunbathing.
More collocations about physical appearance
Jim’s hair is going grey so he started dying it.
I don’t put much make-up during the summer months.
I look horrible! Look at my dry hair and my oily skin.
She wasn’t the prettiest girl in the class but she had beautiful, white, even teeth. (opposite – crooked teeth)
You don’t look your age; I’d never thought you’re over fifty.
Our boss is a man in his early/late thirties.
His badly-cut hair and scruffy clothes will not make a good impression on the interviewer.
I haven’t seen you for some time. Have you gained/lost weight?
Jane has a very good dress sense; she always looks great.
Paul is a swimmer. Look how well-built he is!
I take after my mum’s family – we have broad/narrow shoulders.
Judith was always dressed in fashion while being a student.
It’s no use buying this shirt if it doesn’t suit you.
Isn’t George too young to go bald?
Curly/straight hair is so boring.
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