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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    Traits describing character

    Having read quite a few threads about character and personality, I seem to begin to understand the difference. Now I need someone to confirm my idea or disagree with it: if character traits are different from personality traits, than each trait can be referred either to character, or to personality. (I hope I don't sound crazy. )

    I tried, but failed, to find "character" traits - I doubt about almost every word. For example, brave - does it describe character or personality?

    My question is: Could you please help me elicit from these adjectives a few words describing character (and not personality)? Is it always obvious, or can there be doubts in some cases? I might make a vocabulary exercise for my students with it.


    Positive traits (good points):
    agreeable, amiable, an engaging personality, bold, brave, cheerful, communicative, cute, creative, courageous, decent, diligent, easy-going, faithful, generous, good humoured, good-tempered, good-natured, just, honest, hardworking, industrious, kind, kind-hearted, noble, polite, punctual, pleasant personality, reasonable, friendly, sociable, outgoing, reliable, trustworthy, disciplined, considerate unselfish, self-confident, strong-willed, well-bred, wise, witty.

    Negative traits (flaws): absent-minded, aggressive, arrogant, awkward, bad-tempered, (a) bore, boastful, conceited, (a) coward, (a) dawdler, cunning, cruel, double-faced, envious, greedy, haughty, hot-tempered, ill-mannered, ill-natured, impudent, irritable, jealous, lazy, lazy-bones, lier, sleepyhead, slacker, sloven, light-minded, mean, naughty, nuisance, obstinate, rude, selfish, self-centered, sly, stingy, touchy, uncommunicative, unsociable, unfriendly, terrible character, unreliable, lazy, disorganized, undisciplined, weak, weak-willed, stubborn, greedy dull, boring, pushy, mean (unkind), mean (chiefly Br – miserly, stingy) thrifty (economical).

    Other traits: ambitious, (a) chatterbox, calm, frank, independent, self-conscious, energetic, calm, mature/immature, modest, shy, sluggish, sweet-tooth, tough, sensitive (touchy), dependable, unpredictable, impulsive, inattentive, inconsiderate, shy, timid, strange, weird, odd, eccentric, persistent, relaxed, resolute, laid-back.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Traits describing character

    I don't see the distinction between character and personality in the same way you do. How would you describe the difference?

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    #3

    Re: Traits describing character

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, EnglishHobby:

    I am replying because I agree with you that there is a BIG difference between "personality" and "character."

    1. As you know, the adjective "two-faced" describes someone who may have a wonderful personality but a very bad character.

    a. For example: A co-worker who is always smiling, laughing, and complimenting you. But he secretly wants your job, so he does what he can to make the manager think that you are doing a bad job.

    2. I think that "courage" is, indeed, one very important aspect of "character."

    a. I have just read about a woman who had a very important and prestigious position in a certain European country's government. She felt that her government had made a very bad decision. So she resigned her position.

    i. Some (not all, of course) people feel that resigning her position showed her to be a very courageous person.

    (a) Some other people might not agree with the government's position, but they might not have the courage to resign because they like the prestige of the job, they need the money to support themselves, they do not want people to criticize them, etc.

    b. I know nothing about the personality of that lady who resigned.

    i. I am sure that you, like me, have met people who had terrible personalities (they seldom smiled, they might be somewhat rude, they might be boring, etc.), but they had exemplary character (they were dependable and absolutely honest).



    James
    Last edited by TheParser; 07-Aug-2014 at 13:03. Reason: I deleted two parentheses.

  3. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Traits describing character

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    I don't see the distinction between character and personality in the same way you do. How would you describe the difference?
    I knew nothing about it either)) Then they explained to me here that there is a difference. There are many threads about it in this forum. Also there is an article I found:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...y-vs-character

    I think, in short, personality is what people see and feel when communicating with a person (their perceptions of a person, first impressions), while character is a set of the person's moral principles and beliefs.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Traits describing character

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    Having read quite a few threads about character and personality, I seem to begin to understand the difference. Now I need someone to confirm my idea or disagree with it: if character traits are different from personality traits, [Character traits and personality traits are pretty much the same thing. Character and personality are not the same thing, although their meanings somewhat overlap.] then each trait can be referred either to character, or to personality. (I hope I don't sound crazy. )

    I tried, but failed, to find "character" traits - [That's because the expression personality trait is used in a vast field of study. In fact, it's a whole industry. The best-known personality assessment is the Meyers-Briggs test. There are many others. Saying character trait would sound judgmental. Saying personality trait does not.] I doubt about almost every word. For example, brave - does it describe character or personality? [It can fit either. Read on....]

    My question is: Could you please help me elicit from these adjectives a few words describing character (and not personality)? Is it always obvious, or can there be doubts in some cases? I might make a vocabulary exercise for my students with it.


    Positive traits (good points):
    agreeable, amiable, an engaging personality, bold, brave, cheerful, communicative, cute, creative, courageous, decent, diligent, easy-going, faithful, generous, good humoured, good-tempered, good-natured, just, honest, hardworking, industrious, kind, kind-hearted, noble, polite, punctual, pleasant personality, reasonable, friendly, sociable, outgoing, reliable, trustworthy, disciplined, considerate unselfish, self-confident, strong-willed [This is neutral, not positive or negative.], well-bred, wise, witty.

    Negative traits (flaws): absent-minded, aggressive, arrogant, awkward, bad-tempered, (a) bore, boastful, conceited, (a) coward, (a) dawdler, cunning, cruel, double-faced, envious, greedy, haughty, hot-tempered, ill-mannered, ill-natured, impudent, irritable, jealous, lazy, lazy-bones, liar, sleepyhead, slacker, slovenly, light-minded [No such word.], mean, naughty, nuisance, obstinate, rude, selfish, self-centered, sly, stingy, touchy, uncommunicative, unsociable, unfriendly, terrible character, unreliable, lazy, disorganized, undisciplined, weak, weak-willed, stubborn, greedy dull, boring, pushy, mean (unkind), mean (chiefly Br – miserly, stingy) thrifty [This is a positive, not a negative.] (economical).

    Other traits: ambitious, (a) chatterbox, calm, frank, independent, self-conscious, energetic, calm, mature/immature, modest, shy, sluggish, sweet-tooth [This isn't a character/personality trait.], tough, sensitive (touchy), dependable, unpredictable, impulsive, inattentive, inconsiderate, shy, timid, strange, weird, odd, eccentric, persistent, relaxed, resolute, laid-back.

    Ugh. I think you're getting yourself lost in the weeds. It's a matter of context. Most of the words you've listed are simply descriptions, and they can fit conversations about personality or character.
    First, both words have several meanings. For instance, a personality can mean a celebrity, and a character can mean an oddball, a blatantly peculiar person. The difference you're looking for has to do with this: To have personality generally means to be an enjoyable person, while to have character generally means to be a good, virtuous person.

    If he has a great personality, then he's fun to be with.
    If she has plenty of character, then you can trust her to do the right thing.

    Enjoyable people can be stubborn. Virtuous people can be, too. Stubbornness is a personality and a character trait.

    As you've noted in your positive and negative groupings, some of the words you list have their own biases. For example, stingy and thrifty mean the same thing, but one is used as a negative trait, while the other is used as a positive trait. They can speak to either character or personality. We can't know without knowing about the context they're being used in.

    Whether you're talking about character or personality depends on the broader conversation. The words themselves can speak to either.

    You can learn more about personality types (not character types!) by Googling Meyers-Briggs.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 07-Aug-2014 at 17:15.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Traits describing character

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post

    I think, in short, personality is what people see and feel when communicating with a person (their perceptions of a person, first impressions), while character is a set of the person's moral principles and beliefs.
    Yes, that's a good way to look at it.

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