15 Personality Vocabulary and Speaking Activities

A wide range of teaching activities are useful for teaching the vocabulary of personality including: vocabulary-picture matching, personality surveys, word sorting  exercises  and role plays

1  Elementary personality vocabulary  and speaking

Nearly all the  words used to talk about personality are adjectives. This makes it quite easy to teach. The only problems I have with elementary personality vocabulary are the words “fun” and “funny”. My students often use “funny” when they should be using “fun”. And then there is the problem of “fun”  often being used as a noun. But other than that….teaching  the language of personality  is …a lot of fun!

Elementary personality vocabulary-picture matching and questions.

Elementary personality vocabulary(PDF)

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 2  More advanced personality vocabulary  and speaking

The range of personality vocabulary becomes almost infinite the more you look into it. Here is a selection of more advanced vocabulary which can also serve as a pronunciation exercise for better students. Many  students have problems with words such as “enthusiastic” and “conscientious”. And other words that are tricky for some students include “weird” and “suspicious”.

Advanced personality adjectives and vocabulary-picture matching exercise and questions for students.

More advanced personality vocabulary(PDF)

 3  Parts of speech: personality

When you look at the grammar of personality, it is quite interesting that  most of the words are adjectives. But it is worth helping students get to  know  the noun forms of these adjectives too.

Parts of speech for personality vocabulary sorting exercise.

Parts of speech for  personality(PDF)

 4  Create a conversation: personality

Writing a conversation exercises work really well for some topics and personality is one of the best. This works best with lower level students of course, but with advanced students you have to encourage them to build on their ideas.

Write a conversation and speaking activity for talking about personality.

Write a conversation: personality(PDF)

5 Elementary personality interview speaking lesson

This is an ESL speaking lesson for talking about personality. Students interview each other using the questions on the handout. They also ask for examples of each personality trait. Then they choose a job for the interviewee based on the answers they receive.

Personality interview speaking exercise

Personality interview speaking exercise  (PDF)

6 Personality adjectives dictation and other exercises

This is my favorite all-purpose and sustainable (ie. it never gets old and can be repeated endlessly – you just need new vocabulary and new pictures) teaching exercise .  It’s  a listening exercise, a vocabulary exercise and it’s suited to every size of class.  It can be used to introduce vocabulary. It can be used to review vocabulary.

To introduce vocabulary  the teacher dictates the words randomly but going  row by row 1-10. The students have to choose or guess which is the appropriate picture for the word. So they are choosing a word to match one of three pictures. They should write the word in the same box as the picture it matches. The teacher can make sentences using the words to make the context and meaning clearer. Also, spell and explain the meanings of words as necessary.

First, go down the rows one by one so students are choosing from three pictures. Then.  come back up to the top and  go down row by row again and students  choose  from two pictures to match the word I am dictating.

After the students have 2 pictures per row filled in with an adjective I write the remaining adjectives on the board and ask the students to complete the sheet so that every box has an appropriate adjective.

Click on the image or the link to download the printable PDF file.


Personality vocabulary and adjectives lesson

Personality adjective and vocabulary exercises (PDF)

7 Personality vocabulary positive/negative sorting

In this vocabulary exercise students have to decide whether the personality adjectives are positive, negative or if they are sometimes positive and sometimes negative depending on the situation.

Personality adjectives positive negative sorting exercise

Personality vocabulary sorting  (PDF)

8 Personality vocabulary survey and speaking lesson

This is an ESL   speaking and writing lesson  for  talking about personality. First,  each student chooses one  adjective. Then they write five survey questions that adjective. There are some examples of  questions at  the top of the first page of the PDF.  When they have written five questions,  they can walk around the class asking  classmates their questions and noting down their answers on the worksheet. Finally, they write a short report from their survey question answers. This is a fun communicative exercise that allows students to mix freely.

Personality survey speaking exercise template

Personality survey  (PDF)

9 Describing your colleagues

This is an  ESL speaking exercise for talking  about  colleagues at work.. First, students complete the sentences with the vocabulary below the pictures.  Then they can  have a conversation about their colleagues using the questions at the bottom of the page as a guide. 

Describing colleagues vocabulary and speaking exercise

Describing colleagues  (PDF)

10 Kinds of people

This is an elementary ESL exercise  for  learning and  using words and expressions that are used to describe kinds of people. Matching the words to the pictures is an enjoyable and fun way to learn vocabulary.  First, the students match the words to the pictures. Then they try to write sentences using the words.

Kinds of people vocabulary exercise

Kinds of people  (PDF)

11  Talking about types of people

This is a lower level ESL speaking exercise   for talking about personality. It is an elementary questionnaire exploring commonly used words for describing personality characteristics.

Types of people questionnaire for language students

Types of people questionnaire (PDF)

12 Leadership potential interview/questionnaire (more advanced)

Students interview a classmate about their leadership potential and write their opinions at the bottom of the page

Leadership potential interview speaking exercise

Leadership potential questionnaire (PDF)

13 First Impressions 1 (man)

This is a speaking exercise for English language learners to talk about personality and first impressions. This exercises focuses on  a man.  Students look at the pictures and try to create a story about how they got to know this  man. 


First impressions 1 (man) (PDF)

14 First Impressions 2 (woman)

This is a speaking/writing  exercise for English language learners to talk about personality and first impressions.  In this exercise, students have to describe their first impressions of a woman. Students look at the pictures and try to create a story about the development of a relationship. 

First impressions personality lesson for a woman

First impressions 1 (man) (PDF)

15 Describing a businessman (with answers)

  This is an  ESL exercise for practicing the use of adjectives that  might be useful for describing a businessman’s personality and behaviour.  Students match the adjectives to the pictures and if possible, try to make a sentence explaining why the adjective matches the picture. 

Personality adjectives for describing a businessman lesson

Adjectives for a businessman (PDF)

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