Describing Photographs (Duolingo English Test)

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Duolingo Writing Practice

The Duolingo English Proficiency Test is an internationally recognized agency that assesses the writing skills of the test-taker in different ways. If you are a DET aspirant and want to get a better score in the writing section, then you are at the right place. Here, you are going to learn and practice one type of writing test i.e. to describe a photograph.

The examinees find it really difficult to write it quickly without preparation. They are supposed to describe the given picture in a minute. Through this test, experts assess your proficiency and your descriptive skills in writing. You need to keep the following points in your mind while writing the test.

The following questions should be in your mind while describing the photograph.

  • What is the picture all about?
  • What is/are the person(s)/things doing in the picture?
  • How does it look?
  • What is the setting (place, background, time, etc.)?
  • What could be the possible guess or prediction about the activity or function presented in the picture?

Introductory sentence

Generally, the test-givers are confused, and they find it very difficult to describe the flashing picture. They do not get an idea of how to start writing easily. The following examples will help you to kick off the writing test well.

  • This picture shows…….
  • This is a picture of …….
  • This image depicts…..
  • In this photograph, there is / are ……

Example: This is a picture of an Indian lady shopping for vegetables in the local market.

Adding describing words to the sentence

You need to add adjectives (maybe adverbs) to be more accurate. Do not forget to mention: what is in the image and where is it positioned?

Descriptive words for a person: young, old, child, tall, short, fat, stout, Indian (nationality if you’re sure), South Asian, white, brown, black, etc.

Descriptive words for the shapes of the objects: triangular, rectangular, conical, spherical, circular, cubic etc.

Describing words for attire or dress: Colour, dress type (formal or casual), name of the dress (if you know) Additional information like caps, suits, helmets, glasses, headphones, jewellery etc.

Descriptive words or phrases for the position where it is located: on the top of, above, at the top, to the left, to the right, in the centre, in the middle, in the corner, at the bottom, under, below, underneath, beneath, etc.

Example: This is a picture of an Indian lady shopping for vegetables in the local market. She is looking down at the red tomatoes in the basket to the front and choosing the better quality tomatoes from the bulk.

Make a guess or prediction

Your observation may be just a prediction or a guess about the picture. It may be true or false. So, you may add some sentences at the end of the writing paragraph.

  • It seems like…
  • It looks like…
  • I guess that….
  • I think……

You can also use model verbs like might, may, must, and could.

Example: This is a picture of an Indian lady shopping for vegetables in the local market. She is looking down at red tomatoes in the basket at the front and choosing fresh tomatoes from the bulk. It seems, to the right of the woman, the greengrocer is looking at her and she is bargaining.

Describe the following photographs in not more than 50 words, Time: 60 seconds for each


Hints for writing

  • A picture of a shopping mall
  • The description of the lady
    • A young blonde woman in a navy blue sweater hanging a backpack.
  • Action or activity
    • is picking something up from the shelf.
  • Background
    • To the right side, another woman is looking for something
  • Prediction or guess
    • It seems she is a shopaholic and found something interesting on the shelf.


Hints for writing

Image of the city road

A man is crossing the road

There is a rush on the road

I guess the man is looking at the google map on his cell phone.


Hints for writing

Two middle-aged women at a big grocery Store

Looking at something and picking something up

In the Background, the shopkeeper is weighing something on balance.

I guess….

For more practice:

Describe the following photograph in not more than 50 words: Time-60 Second

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