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Hello and welcome to Learn English Vocabulary. My name is Jack and I’m making this podcast for you to learn or revise English vocabulary.
These podcasts are graded from A2 which is around lower intermediate all the way to C2 which is advanced. I’ll also cover some slang and some exam English.
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This podcast is B1 so I’m going to look at some slightly more advanced vocabulary. Today, I’m going to look at 6 adjectives you can use to describe people. There are loads of adjectives to describe people so this is a topic I’ll be coming back to, but for now, I’m going to start with three positive adjectives: generous, honest and mature and three negative adjectives: mean, dishonest and immature. It’s probably best to describe these in opposite pairs.
OK. Let’s start with generous and mean. Generous means being kind with money or time. So if someone gives you a gift that costs a lot of money, that would be generous. Generous is usually used to say that someone is giving more than you would expect. Or if someone spends a lot of time helping you with something, they are being generous with their time. It’s common to use this word when you say thank you for something, you might say “thank you, that’s very generous of you”.
The opposite of generous is mean. Mean has two main uses when used to describe people. It’s used to describe a person who does not want to give their time, effort or money to help other people and it’s used more generally to say that someone is unkind or unpleasant. If you are describing an individual act of meanness, you might use the word stingy instead. If someone refuses to give money to charity or only spends a little money on their family and friends, you could say that they are stingy. Mean can be used in place of stingy, but like I said, it’s used more to say that someone is unkind or unpleasant. Usually, mean people are also stingy.
The next pair are honest and dishonest. You would say that a person is honest if they don’t lie or deceive. If a person is honest, you can trust them. Normally, honest people won’t steal or cheat or trick you. We use the phrase ‘to be honest’ before telling people the truth when they might not like it. You might say: to be honest, I don’t think you are going to get the job. Or to be honest, I don’t like your shoes.
Dishonest is the opposite. If someone is dishonest, you should not trust them. You should not believe what they say. It’s quite a formal word. In spoken English, you’d probably call someone a liar or say that they are full of it. There are some common vulgar slang expressions that you could, but I’ll cover these another time.
The next pair of adjectives are mature and immature. Both of these adjectives can be used in biology. Mature describes an animal that has fully developed and is no longer growing. However, if you are using the adjective to describe a person, it means that the person knows how to act in the right way when they are in different situations. Generally, it means behaving like an adult and not playing around, but it also means reacting to situations sensibly and not getting too upset or angry.
Immature is the opposite. If a person is immature, they are usually too emotional and self centred. It’s common to use the adjective immature to describe someone’s sense of humour. If you have a silly childish sense of humour, people might say you have an immature sense of humour. It’s not generally that negative to have an immature sense of humour – everybody likes silly childish jokes, don’t they?
So there you have six adjectives that you can use to describe people.
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