1. Introducing your family
Let’s start with a simple sentence:
- There are ________ people in my family.
So you can say:
- There are five/ten/thirty/… people in my family.
That’s not too hard, but it’s not so interesting, either! You should say who these people are.
- There are ten people in my family: I have two sisters, one brother, my uncle and aunt, two grandparents and my parents of course.
- There are four people in my family: my wife, my two sons and myself.
2. Talking about Brothers and Sisters
How many brothers and sisters do you have? You could say:
- I have two brothers and one sister.
- I just have one sister.
- I’m an only child.
Let’s make it more interesting by adding more information. Are your brothers and sisters older or younger? Where are you in the family?
- I have two older brothers and one older sister. I’m the youngest in the family.
- I just have one sister, who’s five years older than me.
- I’m the middle child: my brother is two years older, and I have a younger sister who’s finishing university this year.
3. Immediate and Extended Family
In English, we sometimes draw a line between your immediate family:
- Immediate family –> you, your husband/wife, your children, parents, brothers and sisters
And your extended family:
- Extended family –> uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandparents, grandchildren
Now, you can give more details about the people in your family, like this:
- My immediate family is quite small, because I’m an only child. My mum is one of five children, so I have a lot of cousins, who are kind of like my brothers and sisters.
- There are six people in my immediate family: my parents, my brother and his wife, my sister and me. I have a lot of other relatives, but they live in Canada so we don’t see them often.
4. Talking about Your Children
Do you have children? Let’s see what you can say:
- I have three kids: two girls and a boy.
- We have a newborn son.
- We have one daughter, and my wife’s expecting our second child.
As always, you should add details to make your answers longer and more interesting:
- I have three kids: two girls and a boy. Our eldest daughter has just started secondary school, and the two younger ones are still in primary school.
- We have a newborn son. He’s just three weeks old now, so we’re still getting used to things!
- We have one daughter, and my wife’s expecting our second child. We don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, but we’ll find out in three months.
5. Talking about Your Relationship with Your Family
Finally, let’s add some information about how often you see your family, and what you like to do together. For example:
- I’m very close to my family. We have lunch together every weekend.
- I see my older brother once a week; we play tennis or basketball together.
- I try to spend as much time as possible with my kids.
What now? You should know the answer: add more details!
- I’m very close to my family. We have lunch together every weekend at my grandmother’s house. She always cooks something delicious!
Learn more about vocabulary to talk about cooking food with this Oxford Online English lesson: Preparing, Cooking and Serving Food – Visual Vocabulary.
- I see my older brother once a week; we play tennis or basketball together. I don’t see my other brother so often, because he lives overseas, although we talk on Skype every so often.
- I try to spend as much time as possible with my kids. We play cards, watch films, or go to the park if the weather’s nice.
6. Making a Longer Answer
Now you should be able to make a longer answer talking about your family. You should be able to talk about your relatives, your brothers and sisters, your children if you have any, and your relationship with your family.
Let’s look at a sample answer:
- There are five people in my immediate family, although my extended family is quite large. I have two sisters, both younger, so I’m the oldest child. I don’t have kids yet but I’d like to have a big family one day. I see my parents and my sisters quite often, because we all live near each other, although I don’t see my other relatives that much.
OK? Could you make an answer like this? Let’s look at one more sample answer first:
- I come from a big family: I’m the fifth child, and I have three brothers and one sister. They’re all close to each other in age, but there’s a big gap between them and me. I don’t have children, but I have lots of nieces and nephews! I don’t see my family often because I live in a different country, but I speak to them regularly and we all get together once or twice a year, which is always very noisy but lots of fun.
What about you? Try to make a longer answer talking about your family. Use the vocabulary and ideas from the lesson to help you. Next time you talk about your family in English, hopefully you’ll have lots to talk about!
Are you preparing for a speaking exam like IELTS? Get more practice with Oxford Online English: Free IELTS Preparation Lessons.