How to describe a photograph in English - IELTS exam skills | DailyStep English

How to describe a photograph in English - IELTS exam skills

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Jane Lawson,  English Teacher at DailyStep EnglishHello, I'm Jane at DailyStep English.  This free IELTS Speaking Test Lesson will help you get a higher score in English exams, and improve your conversation skills. After the lesson, please also try my  IELTS Interactive course  

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English Speaking Exam skills: How to describe a tree in autumn
  
by Jane Lawson at DailyStep.com)

Just look at the autumn leaves on this beautiful tree! The colours are amazing aren’t they? I took this photo in a town called Athlone, in central Ireland. If you ever do an English examination, you will need to learn how to describe a picture for your speaking exam, so here is an example of how to do it. Below that, there is a study of some useful phrases for describing pictures.
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Describe a photograph IELTS exam practice

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These pictures show two different views of a tree in autumn. In the left hand picture we can see the leaves of the tree with the sun shining on them. The colours in this photo are amazing – the leaves are gold, orange, yellow and brown. They remind me of a fire burning, because the colours and shapes of the leaves look just like the flames of a fire. This is obviously a very tall tree because the view in the photo looks up into the branches of the tree, and we can see more and more branches up high in the distance. It’s obviously a bright, clear day, and it is also likely to be rather chilly because clear, sunny days in autumn often mean cold weather!

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In the picture on the right hand side we can see a carpet of gold-coloured leaves that have fallen from the tree. The sunlight is making the leaves look as if they are glowing. On the left hand side of the picture we can see part of the tree trunk, and at the top we can see a couple of large branches, covered in autumn leaves. The sun must be to the left of the tree because the trunk is casting a shadow on the wall and also on the ground between the tree and the wall.

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Both these pictures make me think of a wood where I used to play when I was a child. In the autumn, we used to gather up the leaves and throw them at each other. There is something rather sad about the beautiful season of autumn, because although the woods look stunning as their leaves die and fall to the ground, we know that winter is coming, and the tree will soon be bare, with no leaves until the new ones grow in spring.

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So, that is how you could describe these pictures in a speaking examination. Look out for more picture descriptions in my future blogs, including how to compare and contrast two different pictures. In the downloadable Audio Word Study below, you can learn the useful phrases from my description. 

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Here is Audio Word Study #081 on DailyStep.com 
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In my description above of the tree in autumn, I have highlighted some important phrases for describing pictures. Below, you can hear all those phrases again, and also learn some other ways of saying the same thing, so you can vary your speaking style. Make sure you remember these as you might need to use them in an English examination!

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1. These pictures show two different views of a tree in autumn. = These pictures are of a tree in autumn shown from two different angles.

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2. In the left hand picture we can see the leaves of the tree = The left hand picture is of the leaves of the tree

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3. The colours in this photo are amazing – the leaves are gold, orange, yellow and brown. = This picture has amazing colours in it

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4. They remind me of a fire burning = They make me think of a fire burning / They bring to mind a fire burning

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5. because the colours and shapes of leaves look just like the flames of a fire. = because the colours and shapes of the leaves resemble the flames of a fire

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6. This is obviously a very tall tree because the view in the photo looks up into the branches of the tree, = it is clear that this is a very tall tree because the photo has been taken when looking up into the branches of the tree

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7. it is also likely to be rather chilly because clear, sunny days in autumn often mean cold weather! = It is probably also quite chilly because the weather is often cold on clear, sunny days in autumn!

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8. In the picture on the right hand side we can see a carpet of gold-coloured leaves that have fallen from the tree. = In the right hand picture we can see a carpet of gold-coloured leaves that have fallen from the tree.

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9. On the left hand side of the picture we can see part of the tree trunk = On the left side of the picture we can see part of the tree trunk

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10. at the top we can see a couple of large branches = towards the top there are a couple of large branches

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11. The sun must be to the left of the tree because the trunk is casting a shadow on the wall = I assume that the sun is to the left of the tree because the trunk is casting a shadow on the wall

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12. Both these pictures make me think of a wood where I used to play when I was a child. = These two pictures remind me of a wood where I used to play when I was a child / Both these pictures bring to mind a wood where I used to play when I was a child

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Now, read and listen to this Audio Word Study again, and try speaking along with the audio file. Then write your own sentences using these phrases to describe two of your own pictures. That’s all for Audio Word Study #081 on DailyStep.com.
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