What kind of person is the writer/narrator/character? What impression do you form of…
Describe the character of……. What do we learn about the personality of……..
The list of words below are intended as a way to prompt ideas. However, you must remember that simply figuring out the ‘right’ answer (if there even is such a thing in English!) isn’t enough – it’s not just what you say, but also how you say it that matters. Your answer needs to flow from one idea to the next and to show depth and insight.
Compare these two snippets:
“Kate seems like a kind person. We see this when she puts her arm around Aisling’s shoulders and says “hush now, don’t cry, we’ll figure something out“.
“Kate is the kind of person who helps old ladies across the road and rescues kittens from trees. Kate has never met Aisling before and yet she interrupts a very busy schedule to calm and comfort her. Kate’s determination to find a solution “we’ll figure something out” reveals a ‘never say die’ attitude that I really admire“.
Both of these answers identify kindness as one of Kate’s personality traits (for the record these are only partial answers – you’d need to identity four or five aspects of her personality when writing a full answer) but the first one might scrape you a D in an honours English paper while the second would get you an A. So remember – it’s not just WHAT you say that counts – HOW you say it is supremely important if you want to get a good grade.
One thing you need to consider is whether or not your response has sufficient depth. It’s never enough to simply (1) find and regurgitate the information that’s in the passage. You must (2) interpret the text. Ask yourself what is being implied and suggested even if it’s not explicitly stated. Finally you need to reflect on how this links to your prior knowledge and (3) evaluate what is being said. I have interpreted the text when I comment on Kate’s busy schedule and praise her willingness to help a stranger. I have also linked to my own knowledge and experience of human nature when I mention a ‘never say die attitude’. Finally I evaluate her personality by saying that I admire her.
Affectionate, caring, considerate, kind, thoughtful, generous, selfless,unselfish
Ambitious, driven, determined, focused, hard-working, interested, motivated, assertive, pro-active
Arrogant, conceited, vain, condescending, obnoxious
Cheerful, optimistic, positive, happy-go-lucky
Co-operative, helpful, good-natured
Courageous, brave, decisive
Devoted, loyal, friendly
Distant, aloof, secretive, cold, callous, cruel, uncaring
Genuine, sincere, serious
Grumpy, pessimist(ic), gloomy, sour
Inconsiderate, inflexible, thoughtless, uncooperative, impolite, irresponsible
Intelligent, clever, knowledgeable
Judgemental, condescending, critical, intolerant, prejudiced
Lazy, scattered, unfocused, apathetic, unmotivated, indifferent
Miserly, stingy, frugal, thrifty
Melodramatic, moody, temperamental
Polite, mannerly, refined
Self-centered, selfish, self-involved
Self-conscious, insecure, paranoid, neurotic,
Sensitive, shy, reserved
Thoughtful, pensive, philosophical
If asked to describe someone’s lifestyle, obviously full sentences will reveal more than individual words but here are some suggestions:
He / she lives a very __________ lifestyle.
- carefree / relaxed
7 responses to “Describe a personality / lifestyle”