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  1. #1
    jpeslab is offline Newbie
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    Post What is the exact meaning of 'the content of their character'?

    Today while searching for an article to read in English, I found a great speech by Martin Luther King Jr.: I have a dream

    Most of you probably heard or saw it before. There is a sentence that I can’t understand. I seem to understand but I can’t grasp the exact meaning of the words and expressions.

    Here is the sentence.
    “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.”

    What is the exact meaning of ‘the content of their character’?
    I understand what he tried to say: not by their appearances but their personality


    My question is: what is meaning of ‘content’? And what is the meaning of ‘character’?
    Could you show me other example sentences with these words?
    The more, the better.

    Thanks for your help in advance.
    JamesBond

  2. #2
    Grumpy's Avatar
    Grumpy is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What is the exact meaning of 'the content of their character'?

    "Content" in this context means "Contents"; in other words, what is "held within" or, simply "inside".
    "Character" is what makes someone what he (or she) is. It includes what they believe in, but also - and most importantly) -how they behave: for example, whether or not they are honest, kind, friendly, loving, respectful and so on. It is similar to "personality", but tends to be used when considering whether someone is good or bad, and focuses on their actions. So, one could have a violent gangster who has a thoroughly bad character, but a "lively" personality!

    So, Martin Luther King was really asking that people be judged by their behaviour rather than their appearance.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 08-Feb-2013 at 08:33. Reason: Typo
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

  3. #3
    jpeslab is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: What is the exact meaning of 'the content of their character'?

    Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate it.
    I think I've come much closer to the exact meaning of the words and expression but there's something I still need to dig up.

    Here are several possible meanings from Dictionary.com

    Content

    1. Usually, contents.
    a. something that is contained: the contents of a box.
    b. the subjects or topics covered in a book or document.
    c. the chapters or other formal divisions of a book or document: a table of contents.
    2. something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts: a poetic form adequate to a poetic content.
    3. significance or profundity; meaning: a clever play that lacks content.
    4. substantive information or creative material viewed in contrast to its actual or potential manner of presentation: publishers, record companies, and other content providers; a flashy Web site, but without much content.
    5. that which may be perceived in something: the latent versus the manifest content of a dream.

    Character
    1. the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
    2. one such feature or trait; characteristic.
    3. moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.
    4. qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.
    5. reputation: a stain on one's character.
    6. good repute.
    7. an account of the qualities or peculiarities of a person or thing.
    8. a person, especially with reference to behavior or personality: a suspicious character.


    Can it be possible to understand "content" as "contents" , and "character" as "reputation"?

    Also, I need to tell the difference between “character” and “personality” in meaning and usage..

    Any comments would be appreciated.

    JamesBond

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What is the exact meaning of 'the content of their character'?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpeslab View Post
    Can it be possible to understand "content" as "contents" , and "character" as "reputation"?

    Also, I need to tell the difference between “character” and “personality” in meaning and usage..

    Any comments would be appreciated.

    JamesBond
    Your first and third questions are perfectly adequately answered in Grumpy's post #2. Read it again and you will find your answers.
    The answer to your second question is no, "character" and "reputation" are completely different. Everyone is born with a "character" (children might be cheeky, funny, sweet, irritating etc). Your "reputation" is based on your past activities and is basically people's opinion of or belief about you, based on what they have witnessed or what they have heard about you. You might have a "bad reputation" based on your "unpleasant character".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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