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How to describe someone in English – 7 expressions

In this lesson, you’ll hear Rachel talking to Josh about one of her clients.

[see below for the video script]

  • First, you’re going to watch a conversation with Josh and Rachel.

  • Then, we’re going to look at the 7 expressions they use.

  • Finally, you can try a little quiz on our blog.

OK, so first, you’re going to watch a conversation. To improve your listening skills, there are 2 great things you can do. Firstly, try to understand the video (or audio) once completely without stopping. This first time you should watch the video and try to get the gist of it – a general understanding of it. Then, later, you should listen with the script. This will help you see the relationship between the spoken word and written word.

So, for this first listening, I want you to listen to it from start to finish without stopping, and just try to get a general understanding of it. Josh is going to visit one of Rachel’s clients, Margaret Hardchat.

Rachel is describing Margaret for Josh. In order to help you listen once without stopping, I want you to answer this one, simple question: How easy or difficult do you think it is to deal with Margaret?

7 expressions

OK, now let’s look at the 7 expressions. For all of them, Try repeating them after me. Repetition is a great way to remember things, and it’ll also help with your pronunciation.

  1. Rachel said, she’s a stickler about starting meetings on time.

If someone is a “stickler”, you have to do things his or her way. They think they know best, and you have to do what they say. It’s like saying they’re fussy or pedantic.

  1. Get into – make sure not to get into that with her – talking about politics

If you “get into” a topic, you start talking about it.

 3. I’ll steer clear of that

eg- politics. If you “steer clear of” something, you stay away from it and don’t go near it. Literally, to steer is to turn the steering wheel in a car so you move.

  1. Go along with – just go along with that

If you “go along” with something, you agree with it, or just do what someone is doing or saying. – They were talking about small talk.

 5 Avoid – I’d rather avoid it if I can – If you “avoid” something, you don’t go near it.

 6 Agree with – just agree with her as much as you can – if you “agree with” someone, you accept that something is right, and you don’t say the opposite.

 7. Please her – anything else I can do to please her? – if you “please” someone, you make them happy.

 

Video script

Josh: So, I’ve got this interview with an old client of yours.

Rachel: Oh!
Josh: Margaret Hardchat.

Rachel: Oh, Margaret Hardchat.

Josh: Any tips?

Rachel: I’d say make sure you arrive on time. She’s a stickler about starting meetings on time.

Josh: She plays it hard like that.

Rachel: She is, and she likes to talk about politics, but make sure not to get into that with her.

Josh: Mmm… we aren’t going to agree?

Rachel: She has some very radical views on things.

Josh: Yeah, I’ll steer clear of that.

Rachel: And she likes to start with small talk, so just go along with it until she starts to talk about the contract.

Josh: I’m going to play it by her rules, but politics, I’d rather avoid it if I could.

Rachel: Yeah, she’s a hard person to get along with, so just agree with her as much as you can.

Josh: Anything else I can do to please her?

Rachel: Mmm… She’ll try to go out to lunch with after the meeting. Make sure to offer to pay, even if she insists. Still pay. And she likes to drink.

Josh: Otherwise she’s going to talk about you, eh?

Rachel: She might, she might.

Josh: And she’s a drinker?

Rachel: Yes, she’s a drinker, so if you get a couple of drinks in her, you’ll be good!

Josh: Yeah, she’ll probably start talking about politics though right if I give her a couple of drinks.

Rachel: Yeah, but you should be fine. Just, just stick to it and you’ll be OK.

Josh: OK, you had an OK experience with her?

Rachel: It was pretty horrible, but you’re calmer than I am.

Josh: I’m not going to avoid this one, am I?

Rachel: No.

 Exercises

Language quiz!

Try our little language quiz to see how much you can remember. [answers below]

What’s the word or expression?

 

  1. If you do this with something, you agree with it, or just do what someone is doing or saying = you go _______ with them.

 

  1. If you do this with a topic, you start talking about it = to get _______ a topic

 

  1. If you do this, you don’t go near something = you _______ it.

 

  1. If you do this to someone, you make them happy = you _______ them.

 

  1. If you do this, you stay away from something and you don’t go near it = you _______ clear of it.

 

  1. If someone is like this, think they know best, and you have to do what they say = they’re a ________ for/about things.

 

  1. If you do this with someone or something, you accept that this thing is right, and you don’t say the opposite = you agree _______ it.

 

 

 

Answers

  1. along; 2. into; 3. avoid; 4. please; 5. steer; 6. stickler; 7. with

How many did you get right?

Watching native speakers in particular situations using some specific vocabulary for that situation is a great way learn and improve your Spoken English. You will improve your listening skills, vocabulary and pronunciation from hearing how they say it. Our product https://learnhotenglish.com/product/howtoimprovespokenenglish/ is a great example.

 

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