Describing People’s Physical Appearance in Spanish

In the previous lesson, we covered the most common adjectives to describe people in Spanish, particularly on physical appearance – describiendo la apariencia de las personas. We also discussed how to make simple sentences with SER, LUCIR and adjectives. In this lesson, we will put all the pieces together to describe people’s appearance in Spanish. You will be able to practice listening, spelling and other abilities thanks to the interactive quizzes in the lesson. Let’s start…

Vocabulary review: Adjectives to describe people in Spanish

We will begin by watching a short video reviewing a list of common adjectives to describe people in Spanish, the basic ways to ask what someone looks like and how to create simple sentences with these words. Try to stick until the end of the video as it explains some things that you will not see in the rest of the lesson.

How to describe people’s physical appearance in Spanish

The verbs SER and TENER for physical descriptions

We often use the verb SER plus a few common adjectives to describe people in Spanish. SER will be used in two forms: ES for a single object and SON for many. In order to describe people’s eyes, nose and other parts of the body in Spanish, we will use the irregular verb TENER, like in the sentence “Tengo pelo largo” which describes hair in Spanish. Remember that adjective placement and their agreement with nouns are very important to make accurate descriptions of people in Spanish. In the first example, we will see the verbs SER and TENER in use with some common adjectives for physical descriptions.

The verbs SER and TENER in sentences describing people in Spanish

Alto, delgado, corto, verde, clara, gordo

¿Cómo eres tú?
Yo me llamo Alvaro. Tengo 25 años. Soy alto y delgado. Tengo pelo corto y ojos verdes. Tengo piel clara. Peso unos 70 kilogramos. No soy gordo. Me gusta hacer ejercicio

Read English translation
My name is Alvaro. I’m 25 years old. I am tall and slim. I have short hair and green eyes. I have clear skin. My weight is 70 kg. I’m not fat. I like to exercise.

The verb LUCIR for physical appearance in Spanish

The second example will be about a girl. This time we will use the verbs SER, TENER and will add LUCIR as well. Another important verb for physical descriptions is LUCIR (to look like), though it is kind of formal.  When describing people in Spanish, it is also a good idea to talk about parts of the body and the way they look with adjectives, e.g. “una nariz pequeña”, “labios hermosos”, “pelo saludable” and so on. In the description below, you will also see two common adverbs:“siempre”(always) and “todos los días” (every day).

De estatura promedio, rubio, liso, café, joven, saludable, morena, bonito

¿Cómo es ella?
Ella es de estatura promedio. Tiene pelo rubio, liso y ojos cafés. Es joven y hace ejercicio todos los días así que luce muy saludable. Además, tiene un tono de piel morena muy bonito. Cuando la veo, siempre luce muy bonita.

Read English translation
She is of average height, has blonde, straight hair and brown eyes. She is young and exercises every day so she looks very healthy. She also has a very nice, brown skin tone. When I see her, she always looks very beautiful.

Common nouns and adjectives to describe people in Spanish

The third example will be about two statues and a thief, something we made up for you to see how we use several different adjectives to describe people in Spanish, and objects in this case too, with SER and LUCIR in the same paragraph. Apart from adjectives, the box below includes common nouns like “nariz”, “bigote”, “pelo” and “barba”:

Adjectives to describe people in Spanish

Joven, alta, bonita, antiguo, guapo, delgado, bajo, pelo largo, castaño, rizado, grandes, de mediana edad, barba, bigote

Robo en el museo
Anoche, una persona robó dos estatuas en el museo. Una de las estatuas es de una cantante joven, alta y muy bonita. La otra estatua es de un antiguo faraón egipcio. El faraón era un hombre alto, guapo y delgado. Los vecinos dicen que el ladrón es un hombre bajo, de pelo largo, pelo castaño y rizado, nariz y ojos grandes, de mediana edad. El hombre tiene barba y un bigote largo.

Read English translation
Last night, someone stole two statues at the museum. One of the statues is of a young, tall, beautiful singer. The other statue is of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. The pharaoh was a tall, handsome, thin man. Neighbors say that the thief is a short, middle-aged man with long, curly, brown hair and big eyes and nose. The man has a long beard and mustache.

Listening Activity: Talking about people’s appearance in Spanish

Listen to a conversation between two friends who are talking about someone’s physical appearance in Spanish. Pay attention to the way they use and pronounce the vocabulary for descriptions used in the examples above and remember to write down the information you consider important, so you can solve the quiz.

Key conversational expressions:

  • “Yo mejor…” means “I´d better..”
  • “Por cierto…” and “A propósito…” mean “By the way”
Conversation script: Describing people in Spanish
Carlos: ¿Qué estás haciendo Miriam?
Miriam: Estoy estudiando para el examen de matemática.
Carlos: ¡Buena suerte con eso! Yo me estoy alistando para mi cita.
Miriam: Dime algo Carlos… ¿Cómo es ella? ¿Es bonita?
Carlos: Sí, es bonita. Ella es alta, delgada y tiene pelo castaño. ¿Y tú tienes novio? ¿Cómo es él?
Miriam: Sí tengo novio. Él es de altura promedio, tiene cabello crespo, ojos cafés y piel morena. Por cierto… ¿A qué hora es tu cita?
Carlos: A las 7:30…. Hablando de tiempo, estoy buscando mi reloj, pero no lo encuentro.
Miriam: Yo creo que está dentro de esa caja verde.
Carlos: ¡Gracias Miriam! No puedo creer que ya casa si es hora… voy a llegar tarde.
Miriam: Eso parece. Yo mejor sigo estudiando para el examen, Ja Ja…

Practice: Describing your family members in Spanish

We will learn to describe people’s personalities in Spanish too, but before you go, here is a final quiz. This interactive quiz will use some of the vocabulary and verbs used to describe people in Spanish that were covered throughout the lesson. This exercise is also related to our lesson on family descriptions. The quiz is easy to solve and will help you relate both lessons, which is always good to keep things fresh.

Lesson Assignment

Choose three people you know and describe their appearance in Spanish using the adjectives and some of the expressions we have covered in this and the previous lesson. Thanks for joining us, and we hope you got an idea on how to describe people in Spanish. ¡Hasta pronto!

Related Spanish Worksheets:

1 thought on “Describing People’s Physical Appearance in Spanish”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top