Bulats language functions – describing people and things

Enhance your English language functions for describing people and things to boost up your Linguaskill (Bulats) score

Language Functions refer to the different situations where we use language. Often, the meaning of expressions we use is not easy to understand from the words of the sentence. For example, a person could say ‘I see what you mean but …’ and the meaning of the sentence is ‘I understand what you are saying but my opinion is different.’

In BULATS, your knowledge of Language Functions will be tested. You will see examples of Language Functions in the Reading texts and you will hear people use them in the Listening audios. They are also important in the Writing Test and the Speaking Test. If you can understand the different nuances of meaning, you will improve your score.

This exercise will give you examples of typical expressions that are used to describe people, objects and products effectively.

Physical description (objects)

What does it look like?

(This phone) is small ≠ (This phone) is big.

(This phone) is short ≠ (This phone) is long.

(This phone) is heavy ≠ (This phone) is light.

What shape is it?

It is a circle, it is round / circular.

It is a square, it is shaped like a square.

It is a rectangle, it is rectangular.

It is a triangle, it is triangular.

What colour is it?

It is black / white / blue / green / red.

It is dark blue ≠ it is light blue.

It is bright blue ≠ it is pale blue.

Length (front to back)

How long is it?

The length of (this car) is 4 metres.

(This car) is 4 metres long.

It is a long (car) ≠ It is a short (car).

Height (bottom to top)

How high is it?

How tall is it?

The height of (this car) is 1.5 metre.

(This car) is 1.5 metre high.

It is a high (car) ≠ It is a low (car).

Width (left to right)

How wide is it?

The width of (this car) is 1.6 metre .

(This car) is 1.6 metre wide.

It is a wide (car) ≠ It is a narrow (car).

Depth (front to back, or surface to bottom)

How deep is it?

The depth of (this swimming pool) is 2 metres.

The depth of (this car radio) is 16 centimetres.

(This swimming pool) is 2 metre deep.

It is a deep (swimming pool) ≠ It is a shallow (swimming pool).

Thickness (distance between opposite sides)

How thick is it?

The thickness of (this book) is 3 centimetres.

(This book) is 3 centimetre thick.

It is a thick (book) ≠ It is a thin (book).

Weight (or mass)

How heavy is it?

How much does it weigh?

The weight of (this car) is 1100 kilograms.

(This car) weighs 1100 kilograms.

It is a heavy (car) ≠ It is a light (car).

Price (or cost)

How much is it?

The price of (this car) is €20000.

The cost of (this car) is €20000.

(This car) costs €20000.

It is an expensive (car) ≠ It is a cheap (car).

Speed (or velocity)

How fast is it?

The maximum speed of (this car) is 150kph (kilometres per hour).

It is a fast (car) ≠ It is a slow (car).

Composition, origin and manufacturing

(This pen) is made of plastic / metal / wood / glass / rubber.

(This pen) is made in China / this country.

(This pen) is made by a machine / hand.

Physical description (people)

What does he look like?

He’s tall ≠ he is short.

He’s fat / overweight ≠ he is thin / slim.

He is handsome ≠ he is ugly.

She is pretty / beautiful ≠ she is ugly.

He has long, black hair and blue eyes.

He looks like Tom Cruise.

What is he like?

He is funny ≠ he is serious.

He is interesting ≠ he is boring.

He is talkative ≠ he is quiet.

Describing products

Functions (= what a product does)

What does it do?

You can use it to (phone your friends).

It can (wash different types of clothes).

It is designed to (play music).

It (plays music) as well as (audio files).

It (prints 50 sheets) per minute.

It processes (100kg) per hour.

Features (= things that make a product different to others of the same type)

It is guaranteed for one year.

The guarantee is for parts and labour.

The warranty is for parts and labour.

It is easy to use.

It is reliable / dependable.

It has a built-in (camera).

It comes with (lots of accessories).

It is available in (4 different colours).

(This software) is up-to-date.

It uses up-to-date (software).

It uses the latest (software).

It represents good value for money.

It is the best (product) that money can buy.

It is second to none/it is the best.

It is very light which means that you can carry it for a long time.

It has a handle which means that you can carry it easily.

It has a handle so you can carry it easily.

It features (an LED warning light).

It is battery powered.

It uses mains electricity.

It can be recharged.

It uses rechargeable batteries.

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