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Students discussed the use of physical features, behaviours and anecdotes in order to indirectly support character description. Read student sample sentences below. Teacher comments are in italics.

Physical

During a one month program, my instructor only wore one type of outfit: short-sleeved shirts with dark coloured pants.

This shows a lack of imagination and is a boring way to dress OR she seems to like this style and that is why she dresses in this way.

My father is bald; however, he grows his hair long on the side of his head and combs it over the top to hide the bald spot.

He might be a bit vain or proud of his appearance and doesn't really like the fact that he has gone bald.

Behaviour

One day, I told my friend I had forgotten to lock the door when I took a nap after lunch. My friend was shocked and after that day my friend calls me every night before she goes to sleep to check whether I have locked the doors and windows properly.

First comment: "Boyfriend behaviour." The character of this friend is very clear to us. Cautious, caring, considerate.

My five-year-old daughter, Sophie, has learned to hit the ball with a racket recently. With my encouragement, she thinks she is a very good player. Before she says ok for asking me to hit her the ball, she always glances at the other players in the court to make sure if they are paying attention to her, then hits the ball.

In this case, we removed the word "proudly" as it told us rather than showed us and put the example in the behaviour category as it is a repeated one and not just the one time.

Anecdote

Last May, he visited me from Korea. He told me about one of his American friends, who is a rich businessman living in a big house in the States. He said his American friend had given 1 000 US cash for pocket money to his son when he had visited him on his way to me.

The student believes that the anecdote shows a boastful Korean fellow. It also shows a generous American fellow. It also shows an arrogant or bragging nature.

In North American terms, boasting or bragging is considered almost a necessity these days.

To say "boast" in a positive way, say "spoke frankly" or "spoke freely" or "spoke proudly."

Last week, I took my sister to the dentist. On our way back, we rode the train. While on the train, she was sharing her experience at the dental office. She was having difficulty speaking due to the anesthetic. Suddenly, I looked around and noticed that several passengers were looking at her.

This shows more the character of the train passengers who stare at someone who is a bit different in some way. They might assume she has a speech problem or a mental handicap.