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Character in action

People often talk about qualities of character that you may need in a work situation. Again, some of these words come in pairs of opposites: one positive and one negative.

Positive Negative

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 (infml) stupid, thick (infml)

flexible inflexible (= a very fixed way of thinking; unable to change)

ambitious unambitious (= no desire to be successful and get a better job)

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 conversation; but when he knows people quite well he's much more self-confident.

People often say the British are very reserved (= do not show their feelings), but when you get to know them they can be very emotionallike anyone else.

Using nouns

Some important qualites 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)


I. Organise these words into pairs of opposites and put them in the columns below.

mean clever nice lazy relaxed hard-working tense cheerful generous unpleasant stupid miserable

Positive Negative

.. .

.. .

.. .

.. .

.. .

.. .


II. What prefix forms the opposite of each of these words? (You need three different prefixes.)

kind flexible friendly honest reliable sensitive ambitious pleasant


III. How would you describe the person in each of these descriptions?

1. He never bought me a drink all the time we were together.

2. I have to tell her what to do every minute of the working day. She wouldn't even open a window without someone's permission.

3. He often promises to do things but half the time he forgets.

4. She's always here on time.

5. I don't think he's done any work since he's been here.

6. She finds it difficult to meet people and talk to strangers.

7. He could work in any of the departments, and it doesn't matter to him if he's on his own or part of a team.

8. One of the great things about her is that she is so aware of what other people think or feel.

9. Bob, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He is always making people angry or upset because he just doesn't consider their feelings.

10. The other thing about Bob is that he really wants to get the supervisor's job and then become boss for the whole department.


IV. What nouns can be formed from these adjectives? Use a dictionary to help you.

Example: kind kindness

punctual optimistic confident generous sensitive strong

reliable lazy ambitious stupid flexible shy

V. Choose three words which describe you. Is there one quality you do not have but would like to have? What, in your opinion, is the worst quality described on the opposite page? If possible, compare youranswers with a friend.


Date: 2016-03-03; view: 1230

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