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  1. #1
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question "Capacity" as an aspect of personality?

    Hi,
    I'd like to start with the following examples first:

    A person is selected as the head of a department, and from the very first moment they get carried away and begin to be bossy by giving orders!

    At a party you feel someone feels shy of others, and to make them open up to others you try to mingle with them, but in no time they're making fun of others, talking and laughing loudly, and calling you bad names, because they're carried away.

    You once lent a friend something they'd asked for shyly, and now they feel they can come to you for anything they need.

    ...etc.

    In each case, in my language, we'd say that person "lacks (the) capacity". I'm so sorry for giving you such a terrible translation, but this is the only way I can tell you what I'm looking for. Is the word "capacity", as a personal/characteristic feature the lack of which might cause such embarressing situations, used in this way in English too? If not, is there any rough equivalent to this word?

    So many thanks for your being patient with my question!

  2. #2
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "Capacity" as an aspect of personality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Hi,
    I'd like to start with the following examples first:

    A person is selected as the head of a department, and from the very first moment they get carried away and begin to be bossy by giving orders!

    At a party you feel someone feels shy of others, and to make them open up to others you try to mingle with them, but in no time they're making fun of others, talking and laughing loudly, and calling you bad names, because they're carried away.

    You once lent a friend something they'd asked for shyly, and now they feel they can come to you for anything they need.

    ...etc.

    In each case, in my language, we'd say that person "lacks (the) capacity". I'm so sorry for giving you such a terrible translation, but this is the only way I can tell you what I'm looking for. Is the word "capacity", as a personal/characteristic feature the lack of which might cause such embarressing situations, used in this way in English too? If not, is there any rough equivalent to this word?

    So many thanks for your being patient with my question!
    No. There's no such thing as "capacity" in the sense you're describing. I can't think of any impressive sounding term but there's an idiom in English "give them an inch and they'll take a mile".

    EDIT: The psychological terms for someone like that can be "borderline personality" or "bipolar personality". Some people use "bipolar" in an off-handed manner just to describe people with mood swings, but that use can be considered offensive and insensitive to people with the actual psychological disorder.

  3. #3
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question Re: "Capacity" as an aspect of personality?

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    No. There's no such thing as "capacity" in the sense you're describing. I can't think of any impressive sounding term but there's an idiom in English "give them an inch and they'll take a mile".

    Thanks for the idiom. I'd like to know, in case my examples were related, how such situations and the people involved are described in everyday English by the native speakers. Afterall, it's believed all languages can more or less express a meaning from a given language, or at least I hope so!

  4. #4
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "Capacity" as an aspect of personality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Thanks for the idiom. I'd like to know, in case my examples were related, how such situations and the people involved are described in everyday English by the native speakers. Afterall, it's believed all languages can more or less express a meaning from a given language, or at least I hope so!
    How about ass?

    I'm not the best person for "everyday English". I'm curious to see what others will come up with.

  5. #5
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "Capacity" as an aspect of personality?

    This person lacks character.

  6. #6
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "Capacity" as an aspect of personality?

    Quote Originally Posted by susiedqq View Post
    This person lacks character.
    Isn't this someone weak rather than what OP described?

    You could say "lacking sense of restraint" or "unstable".

  7. #7
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question Re: "Capacity" as an aspect of personality?

    Yes. I think "lack of character" is not that specific. Becuse the feature I'm looking for shows itself in the examples I've given. Thanks again.

  8. #8
    SanMar's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Capacity" as an aspect of personality?

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    How about ass?

    I'm not the best person for "everyday English". I'm curious to see what others will come up with.

    lol
    Often in North America we'd also add jack in front of freezeframe's suggestion. Actually your examples are a perfect illustration of a jackass.

    Not a teacher.

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