Describing personality

We speak about different people every day. We describe our relatives, friends, colleagues, celebrities and others. That's why it's good to keep a wide vocabulary of adjectives and expressions in the mind. 

When we describe people we talk about their appearance, personality, manners and usual behavior. This article will be useful for A2 level learners.


Character traits

Each person has their own individual character traits. Indeed, it’s hard to meet anyone with the same personality. 

We like someone’s traits or not. Someone’s personality can either attract or repulse us.

To describe a personality we use adjectives with positive and negative meanings.


General positive character traits

πŸ‘‰ She’s always kind and friendly = She’s a kind and friendly person = She’s always kind and friendly to me.

πŸ‘‰ My father is a giving person — someone who is always ready to help, share emotions and give all their kindness or attention. A giving person doesn’t wait for something in return.

πŸ‘‰ He’s always honest = He’s an honest person — someone who doesn't tell lies.

❗️Note that we don’t pronounce ‘h’ in ‘honest’. We say [ΛˆΙ’nΙͺst]

πŸ‘‰ My husband is very reliable = My husband is a reliable person — someone who deserves trust.

πŸ‘‰ She’s always polite = She’s being very polite = She behaves very politely — behaves well and respectful towards the others.

Smart or clever?

πŸ‘‰  He’s very smart for his age — very good at learning, having quick mental abilities. He can easily apply his knowledge in a certain situation.

πŸ‘‰ She’s very clever — very good at learning. She applies not only her knowledge but also creativity.

❗️Note that ‘smart’ can also be used in a meaning of ‘well-dressed’.

❗️Note that ‘clever’ can also have a negative meaning similar to ‘cunning’. Cunning people get what they want by tricking other people.


General negative character traits

πŸ‘‰  She's become very mean over the years — opposite to kind

πŸ‘‰ Don't wait that he'll help. He's very selfish — he thinks about his own advantage, he thinks about himself.

πŸ‘‰ Daniel is very lazy. It’s difficult to keep working with him — Daniel doesn’t like to work much and use his energy. 

πŸ‘‰ I don’t like talking to Carol. She’s always so rude! — Carol talks and behaves impolitely, in an offensive way.

πŸ‘‰ He’s very stubborn. It’ll be very hard to make him join the project — He refuses to make anything that someone else asks him. He does things he wants.


How to make a negative adjective

In many cases we can use prefixes to form a negative adjective. These prefixes are: un-, im-, dis-. Unfortunalely, there are no rules about how we should use the prefixes. We have to remember that a certain prefix goes with a certain word.

Look at the examples below πŸ‘‡

Positive meaning Negative meaning
kind unkind
friendly unfriendly
happy unhappy
pleasant unpleasant
reliable unreliable
polite impolite
perfect imperfect
honest dishonest
respectful disrespectful

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