How to Describe Your Personality in English

by | Everyday English and Conversation | 33 comments

I LOVE talking about personalities! It’s so fun to understand people, how they work, and what makes them unique. And today the focus is you! What makes you you?

Whether you use English professionally or for your daily life, knowing how to describe a person or talk about traits is essential.

For example, did you know it’s common to hear this question at a job interview in English: How would you describe yourself?

Do you know how you would answer that question? This question is looking for information about your personality, how you work, what it might be like for others to work with you, and your common behaviors or responses.

Or what if you and I were just chatting and I asked, “So, tell me, what are your colleagues like?”

Again, what would you say? I’m looking for information about your colleagues – who they are, what they’re like… their personalities.

So let’s find out how YOU would answer those questions and make sure you’re prepared for your next English conversation on this topic.

(Note: This topic is an enormous in English. This is the first lesson in a series on how to talk about personality traits (the good and bad) plus personal characteristics. Be sure to watch for the next lesson on this topic.)

Useful adjectives to describe your personality.

Lesson by Annemarie

Sentence Starters for Conversations on Personality in English

Whether you have to answer “How would you describe yourself?” in a job interview in English (yes! It’s a common question) or you’re simply chatting with friends, here are common ways to start a sentence when talking about personality traits or characteristics.

  • I would say that I’m/she’s/he’s… (Example: I would say that she’s quite open-minded.)
  • Some would say I’m/she’s/he’s… but I think that… (Example: Some would say he’s rather strict but I think he just wants to be in control and it keeps everyone organized.)
  • I’m a… (Example: I’m a goal-oriented person.)
  • I have … (Example: I have a great sense for what other people really need or want, which helps me in my sales position.)
  • I’d describe myself/her/him as … (Example: I’d describe myself as a problem-solver.)
  • I guess I’m… (Example: I guess I’m pretty reserved at work.)
  • I would like to think that I’m… (Example: I’d like to think that I’m very sociable.)

Using Qualifiers When Talking about Personality

Qualifiers help us to show the degree to which something is true or how strong it is. For example, is your best from really quiet or a bit quiet? The qualifiers help us show how strong the adjective quiet is.

A qualifier always comes before an adjective or adverb. Here are some examples when talking about personality traits:

  • very
  • quite
  • rather
  • somewhat
  • so
  • just
  • fairly
  • really
  • pretty
  • a bit
  • a little
  • a (whole) lot
  • kind of
  • sort of

Examples:

  • He’s fairly quiet at work. 
  • She’s pretty studious. She’ll definitely do well on her final exams. 
  • I’m sort of moody, especially when I’m hungry. To be honest, I can get a bit hangry.*

*hangry (adjective) – a slang word used to describe someone who is so hungry that they become angry or irritable.

“Did you know it’s common to hear this question at a job interview in English: How would you describe yourself? Are you ready to answer this question?”

Advanced English Vocabulary for Describing Your Personality

Review the four stories below to learn real-life English vocabulary, expressions, and phrasal verbs used by native speakers to describes one’s personality.

Each person has answered the question: How would you describe yourself to someone you just met?

Story One

I guess the most important or the most obvious thing about me is I’m a bit of an introvert. I mean, I’m always the wallflower. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like being around people. I actually love it. I thrive on deep conversations where I feel a strong connection with someone. And I’d like to think I’m a good listener and a good conversationalist. Maybe it’s because I don’t like to talk about myself so I’m always asking others questions about themselves.

  • Introvert. An introvert (noun) is a person who doesn’t find it easy to talk to others or someone who needs time alone to re-energize; someone who is often viewed as shy or reserved. The opposite would be an extrovert. An extrovert is easily social and gets energy from spending time with other people.
  • Wallflower. A wallflower (noun) is a person who is shy; someone who often sits or stands away from the center of attention at a party; someone who is solitary.
  • Thrive. To thrive (verb) is to prosper or be successful. Synonyms include to flourish, to grow, to prosper, to shine, or to succeed.
  • Conversationalist. A conversationalist (noun) is someone who enjoys and/or contributes to a good conversation; someone who is interested in conversations. The opposite is someone who talks too much – in a way that is inappropriate or annoying. A person like this might be described as a bigmouth, windbag, or gossip. Note: these are all very negative and informal ways to describe someone.

Story Two

Oh, that’s easy. I’m super loyal, determined, and goal-driven. I’ll do almost anything to get what I want. I suppose a lot of people would say I’m stubborn, but I prefer to see the positive – I’ll always find a way or a solution. That’s not only true for me but for my friends and family as well. I’ll do anything to help them out.

  • Determined. Determined (adjective) means someone who has reached a decision and is resolved to that decision. Synonyms include driven, steadfast, purposeful, persistent, resolved, or stubborn. Note: stubborn has a slightly negative feeling to it and assumes someone is inflexible.
  • Goal-driven. Goal-driven or, more often, goal-oriented (adjective) means someone focused and motivated by goals; someone who is compelled to reach their goals.
  • Stubborn. Stubborn (adjective) is similar to determined but with a more negative connotation, it assumes someone is inflexible or unwilling to change. Synonyms include rigid, unyielding, obstinate, or headstrong. Antonyms include agreeable, amenable, flexible.
  • Help someone out. To help (someone) out is a phrasal verb that means to do something so another’s task or job is easier.

Story Three

I’d say I’m pretty easy-going and social. I love to crack jokes, to make people laugh. At work, I’m the guy that gets along with everyone. And I feel good knowing other people are comfortable around me. The downside of being that guy – the life of the party guy – is that people think I can’t be serious. I’m afraid my boss might think that actually. But when I need to, I can be very focused.

  • Easy-going. Easy-going (adjective) means relaxed and casual. Synonyms include laid-back, easy-go-lucky, low-pressure, or mellow. Antonyms include rigid, strict, high-strung, or uptight.
  • Crack jokes. To crack a joke is a collocation that means to tell a sudden or striking joke
  • Get along. To get along is a phrasal verb that means to be or to remain on friendly terms with someone.
  • Life of the party. To be the life of the party is an idiom. It means a person who is lively; someone who makes events fun; someone who is at the center of attention. Related words include gregarious, social, sociable, or outgoing. The opposite might be a wallflower, which was used in the first story.

Story Four

I think others would say I’m very reliable, which I like. I do like to take care of problems and help others. And I’d also say I’m hardworking and diligent. I feel great when I complete a project at work and I know I’ve done it well. Sometimes I wish I were more of an ideas person but I guess I’m the person who will get things done.

Reliable. Reliable (adjective) means someone who can be expected to give the same result or a predicted result. Synonyms include dependable, responsible, steady, or trustworthy. Antonyms include uncertain, undependable, unreliable, or untrustworthy.

Take care of. To take care of someone or something is a phrasal verb that means to attend to or provide for the needs of someone else or something else.

Diligent. Diligent (adjective) means someone who gives steady, focused, energetic effort.

An ideas person. An ideas person is a collocation/figure of speech. It means someone who is good at thinking of new and interesting ideas. Related words include innovative, inventive, or a big-picture thinker. The opposite might be someone described as a doer, a detail-oriented person, or a process-oriented person.

Now it’s your turn to try using some of this new vocabulary!

Be sure to review the meaning of anything that’s new to you and learn the associated synonyms, antonyms, or related words to provide greater variety.

For your challenge question, I’d love for you to answer:

  • How would you describe yourself to someone you’ve just met?
  • Or, if you’re not comfortable describing yourself, then describe a friend or colleague (without names).

Share your answers in the comments section. I look forward to hearing from you and have a fantastic Wednesday.

~ Annemarie

 

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