A1 Level. How to describe the physical appearance of people in Spanish

Updated: Jun 13

Talking about physical appearance in Spanish is easy if you know a few basic verbs and some common adjectives. In this lesson, we will introduce the basic vocabulary and expressions for making physical descriptions in Spanish in a very simple way. We will see how adjectives and other important parts of speech can be used in meaningful examples. There is a nice video at the end of the lesson to practice as well.

What is and adjective?

As we have share in previous post adjectives are words used to describe something or someone, such as JOVEN (young), BONITA(beautiful) and so on. Spanish adjectives must agree in number and gender with the noun (person or thing) they modify and remember that the placement of adjectives and their concordance with nouns are very important to make physical descriptions of grammatically correct people.

The verbs Ser, Tener y LLevar in the physical descriptions.

We often use the verb SER together with common adjectives to describe people in Spanish. Ser will be used in two ways: Es for one person and SON for many. What is he/she like? and how are they/you?. ¿Cómo es él? ¿Cómo eres? a simple sentences describing someone follows the structure: Subject + verb Ser + adjective.

Let's see some example with the verb to be Ser.

To describe the eyes, nose and other parts of the body of people in Spanish, we use the irregular verb TENER and follow this structure:

Subject (optional) + TENER (conjugation) + article (optional) +noun + adjective.

The Spanish verb llevar used to mean primarily to carry a heavy burden. However, it has become one of the most flexible verbs in the language, used not only in discussing what a person carries, but also what a person wears, has, does, tolerates, or moves. As a result, it isn't easy to tell what llevar means out of context. One of the most common uses of llevar is as the equivalent of "to wear" clothing or accessories. It can also refer to wearing or sporting a type of style, such as tattoos or a type of hairdo.

Normally, if a person is wearing a type of item of which he or she would wear or use only one at a time, the indefinite article (un or una, the equivalent of "a" or "an") is not used. Often the definite article (el or la (the equivalent of "the") can be used instead. In other words, Spanish doesn't say the equivalent of "I am wearing a dress" but often "I am wearing the dress." If the identity of the item is important, such as if the sentence identifies the item's color, an indefinite article is retained.

Llevar is conjugated regularly.

Now, let's see others examples:

Let's practice

Listening Activity No. 1: The physical appearance.

In this video you will learn the vocabulary about the physical appearance. Take notes of the information you consider important and listen carefully to identify the phrases presented above plus a few new ones. Press PLAY when you are ready.

Listening Activity No. 2: Mi tía Margarita

Watch the following video and response:

a) ¿De qué color tiene el pelo mi tía Margarita?

b) ¿Cómo es Alfonso?

Write your answers in the comments.

Listening Activity No. 3: Free Handout

Download a free handout for you to practice any time. Enjoy it!

¡Hasta la vista!

The Español Latino Team.


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