Describing Character and Personality - ESL Activities, Worksheets and Games

Adjective Opposites Crossword

ESL Character and Personality Adjectives Activity - Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 25 minutes

Here is a captivating crossword activity to help students practice character and personality adjectives and their opposites. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. The students then take it in turns to ask their partner for a clue to one of their missing adjectives, e.g. 'What's 1 down?' Their partner reads out the opposite of the adjective and the other student tries to guess what it is. If the student guesses the word successfully, they write it on their crossword. If not, their partner continues to give more clues until the student is able to guess the adjective. When the students have finished, they check their spelling by comparing crosswords.

Character Traits

ESL Character Traits Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 40 minutes

In this intriguing describing activity, students practice asking and answering questions about character traits. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Students begin by going through the items on the worksheet and forming the questions they need to ask in order to do the activity. Students then go around the classroom, asking and answering the questions about character traits and completing the worksheet with answers, e.g. 'Do you like to try new or exciting things?' If a classmate answers 'no' to a question, the student repeats the question with other classmates until one of them says 'yes'. The student writes this person's name in the appropriate column and asks them to give an example of the trait, e.g. 'Last week, I went skydiving'. The student then writes the example on the worksheet. When everyone has finished, the teacher goes through each item and elicits the adjective that describes the character trait. The students also give feedback to the rest of the class on what they found out about their classmates, sharing any interesting examples.


ESL Personality Adjectives Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this personality matchmaking activity, students create a profile for a single friend or relative. Students then become matchmakers and try to find a match for their friend or relative by asking and answering personal information questions. The class is divided into two groups. The students in one group are each given a copy of the male worksheet and the students in the other are each given a copy of the female worksheet. The students then think of a friend or relative who is single and would like to find a partner. If students cannot think of anyone, they write about a person they know well or invent someone. The students then fill in the worksheet about this person by completing a profile containing their personal information, e.g. their appearance, positive and negative personality traits, interests, etc. When everyone has finished, students practice the questions they need to ask to find out about possible matches. Students then speak to the people in the other group and try to find a partner for their friend or relative. They do this by interviewing as many people in the opposing group as possible before deciding on the best match. Afterwards, students tell the class about the most suitable match they found and explain the reasons for their choice.     

Personality Types

ESL Personality Adjectives Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Low intermediate - 25 minutes

In this fun describing game, students define and guess personality adjectives. The students are divided into groups of three. Each group is given a set of cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the desk. Students then take it in turns to pick up a card from the pile. The student with the card describes the personality adjective in bold to the other students, without saying the adjective or using the underlined words on the card. The student is also not allowed to say variations of the disallowed words on the card. The first student to successfully guess the personality adjective being described wins and keeps the card. Students continue taking it in turns to describe an adjective of personality until all the cards have been used. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.

What do they do for a living?

ESL Characterizing Activity - Writing and Matching - Intermediate - 45 minutes

In this entertaining teaching activity, students describe and characterize people in certain jobs. Students then use the descriptions to match pictures of people to the jobs. Each group of four is given a jobs worksheet. Working in their groups, students describe and characterize the sort of person who does each job shown on the worksheet using adjectives of character, personality and appearance. When everyone has finished, each group is given pictures of people and told that each person does one of the jobs on their worksheet. The groups look at the descriptions they wrote and assess which description should go with which person and why. The students may also consider the appearance and overall impressions they get from the pictures to help them make their decisions. When everyone has finished, the groups compare their answers. Finally, the correct answers are given and the groups give feedback to the class.

You've Changed!

ESL Characterizing Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking and Matching - Intermediate - 25 minutes

In this engaging class activity, students write sentences, demonstrating the habits of someone with a certain characteristic. Students then read their sentences to each other and try to find a partner who has the opposite characteristic. Each student is given a character adjective card. Working alone, the students complete the sentences on the card, demonstrating their given characteristic. The students are then told that the cards are in pairs, with one card describing a person's characteristic in the past and the other describing the person's characteristic now. The students' task is to read their sentences to each other and find someone with the opposite characteristic. Students then stand up and walk around the class, reading out their sentences to one another. When a student finds someone with the opposite characteristic, they sit down together. When everyone has found a partner, the pairs' sentences are checked to see if they are paired correctly and the matching adjectives are written on the board. As an extension, the students create the same set of sentences, describing how their characteristics have changed using other character adjectives. Students then repeat the activity and try to find someone who has the opposite characteristic.

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