20 words for SHAPES in English

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Today we’re going to do a vocabulary with pictures lesson to help you learn and pronounce names of shapes in English, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional ones.

You’ll learn both the noun form (the name of the shape itself) and the adjective form (how to describe something else with this shape) – in some cases those are the same, and in other cases they’re different.

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2D shapes in English

Let’s start with our basic shapes – make sure to listen and repeat after me to practice pronouncing them.

square (n. / adj.)

The word square is both a noun and an adjective. So we would say “this is a blue square” and “this is a square photo.”


rectangle (n.) / rectangular (adj.)

The noun is rectangle and the adjective is rectangular. So we would say “this is an orange rectangle” and “this is a rectangular photo.” – the adjective, rectangular, describes something else (the photo)


triangle (n.) / triangular (adj.)


circle (n.) / circular (adj.)


oval (n. / adj.)

The noun and adjective form are the same – this is an oval mirror.


semicircle (n.) / semicircular (adj.)


crescent (n.) / crescent-shaped (adj.)


diamond (n.) / diamond-shaped (adj.)


pentagon (n.) / pentagonal (adj.)


hexagon (n.) / hexagonal (adj.)


octagon (n.) / octagonal (adj.)


trapezoid (n.) / trapezoidal (adj.)


parallelogram (n.)

We don’t use this one as an adjective.


3D shapes in English

cube (n.) / cubic (adj.)


sphere (n.) / spherical (adj.)


cylinder (n.) / cylindrical (adj.)


tube (n.) / tubular (adj.)


cone (n.) / conical (adj.)


pyramid (n.)

We don’t really use this as an adjective, but I suppose you could say pyramid-shaped


torus (n.) / donut (n.) – more common

This shape is technically called a torus, but most people outside the fields of math and physics would just call it a donut, or describe something as donut-shaped.

Now if you really want to go crazy and get into geometry, there are some other terms for more unusual shapes, but here at Espresso English I always want to teach you the most common and practical vocabulary that we actually use in daily life.

And that’s the approach I used when I created my Vocabulary Builder Courses – out of the hundreds of thousands of words in the English language, I selected very useful ones that will help you express yourself better. So go check out the Vocabulary Builder to continue learning.

All right, that brings us to the end of today’s lesson. Thanks for watching and I’ll talk to you in the next one!

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