Home IELTS Speaking Vocabulary Useful Expressions: Describing People (Part 2)

Useful Expressions: Describing People (Part 2)

Useful Expression for IELTS Speaking is a document that summarizes the most used phrases in the IELTS Speaking section (note that these phrases can only be used in spoken language). 

Being different or the same as others

  1. (to be) the black sheep (of the family)
    Meaning: to describe some who is different from others, particularly used when comparing someone to others in their family.
    Example: My brother Chris is the black sheep of the family. While everyone in my family is really outgoing and sociable, Chris is really shy and introverted, and doesn’t really share any similar interests with us.
  2. (to be) a chip off the old block
    Meaning: someone who has a very similar appearance or characteristics to one of their parents, especially the father.
    Example: Ben looks exactly like his father, he’s a real chip off the old block.
  3. (to be) a law unto themselves
    Meaning: someone who does not behave according to normal rules and ways of doing things, but does whatever they like, following their own way about how to act and live.
    Example: You can’t tell George what to do, he won’t listen, he’s a law unto himself.
  4. (to be) a queer fish
    Meaning: someone who is considered to be a bit strange or weird
    Example: Tony’s kind of a queer fish, he’s a bit strange compared to the other kids at school.
  5. (to be) a square peg in a round hole.
    Meaning: to describe someone who does not fit into a particular place or situation.
    Example: I really wasn’t suitable for that job, so I quit after a week. The whole time I worked there I felt like a square peg in a round hole.
  6. (to have) the x-factor
    Meaning: someone who has a unique talent, skill or look, or someone with a special quality that is difficult to describe or define.
    Example: The new salesman’s really got the x-factor, he’s already made more sales this month than the rest of the team combined.

Social or anti-social

  1. (to be) the life and soul of the party
    Meaning: someone who is popular, and is usually the centre of attention at a party or in a social situation.
    Example: Brad is pretty much the life and soul of the party whenever my friends and I get together. Everyone gathers around and listens to his funny jokes and interesting
  2. (to be) a lone wolf
    Meaning: someone who prefers to be by themselves most of the time.
    Example: I never see Matt hanging out with anyone, I think he’s a bit of a lone wolf.
    I’m kind of a lone wolf really. I don’t have many friends and prefer to spend time on my own.
  3. (to be) a party animal
    Meaning: a person who loves to go to parties often, or someone who likes to go out and get drunk often.
    Example: My friend Bill is a real party animal. You can find him drinking at the bar every weekend!
  4. (to be) a people person
    Meaning: someone who has very good ‘people skills’, and is good at interacting with others
    Example: The new HR manager is not what I would call a people person. She’s hardly spoken a word to any of the employees and she’s already been working here for a month.
  5. (to be) a social butterfly
    Meaning: someone who has many friends and likes to socialise often.
    Example: Megan is such a social butterfly. Every weekend she is so busy going to parties and different social events.
  6. (to be) a wallflower
    Meaning: a person who is usually shy and introverted and therefore doesn’t like to socialise a lot
    Example: Whenever I see Mark at a party he is usually sitting by himself in the corner, he’s a bit of a wallflower.


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