Many positive words, which are used to describe character, have clear opposites with a negative meaning.
|warm and friendly||cold and unfriendly|
|generous (= happy to give/share)||mean (= never gives to others)|
|optimistic (= thinks positively)||pessimistic (= thinks negatively)|
|cheerful (= happy and smiling)||miserable (= always seems unhappy)|
|relaxed and easy-going||tense (= nervous; worries a lot; not calm)|
|sensitive||insensitive (= does not think about others’ feelings)|
|honest (= always tells the truth)||dishonest|
Jane is very tense at the moment because of her exams, but she’s usually quite relaxed and easy-going about most things.
I think the weather influences me a lot: when its sunny I feel more cheerful and optimistic; but when it’s cold and raining I get very miserable.
He seemed a bit unfriendly at first, but now I’ve got to know him I
The shop assistant told me that the dress I tried on looked better on people younger than me. I thought that was very insensitive of her, but at least she was being honest, I suppose.[ads5]
Character in action
People often talk about
|hard-working||lazy (= never does any work)|
|punctual (=always on time)||not very punctual; always late|
|reliable||unreliable (= you cannot trust / depend on someone like this)|
|clever, bright||stupid, thick|
|flexible||inflexible (= a very fixed way of thinking; unable to change)|
|ambitious||unambitious no desire to be successful and get a better job)|
To describe character, you should know that some pairs of opposites do not have a particularly positive or negative meaning:
He is very shy when you first meet him because he finds it difficult to talk to people and make
People often say the British are very reserved (= do not show their feelings), but when you get to know them they can be very emotional like anyone else.
Some important qualities are expressed through nouns.
One of her great qualities is that she uses her initiative. (= she can think for herself and take the necessary action; she does not need to wait for orders all the time)
That boy has got no common sense (= he does stupid things and doesn’t think what he is doing). His sister, on the other hand, is very sensible. (= has lots of common sense)
You can see a similar lesson about how to describe people’s appearances.
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