Advanced Adjectives for Describing People

Advanced Adjectives for Describing People

Welcome to today’s lesson in which I want to teach you some useful and advanced adjectives that you can use to describe people.

And this is a great lesson because, we talk about people all the time. We describe ourselves. We also talk about our friends, our families, our colleagues.

So, these are useful adjectives that you can use mostly to talk about the way people act or behave. So many of these adjectives really describe someone’s personality.

Now, when we use adjectives often, we might use them before the noun, in which case they are called attributive adjectives. Or they might follow a linking verb, in which case they are a predicate adjective.

As we go through these, I will tell you which ones I think are more common as an attributive adjective before the noun, or those that I think are more commonly found in the predicate and would follow a linking verb.

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So, I’m going to do a few things throughout this lesson.

I will tell you the meaning of the adjective.

I will then talk a little bit about how it’s used, and then give you some example sentences so that you can really see how it’s used in context.

So, let’s begin with “Overzealous”.

Overzealous

This is a great adjective which means that someone is showing a little too much eagerness or enthusiasm, almost to the point where, you find it a little strange that they are this eager or they’re this enthusiastic about something.

So, you could describe that person as being overzealous. This is an adjective that you can use either before a noun or it can follow a linking verb, either one.

You might describe people and say somebody has overzealous parents. They’re showing a lot of enthusiasm for their kids. Their parents are very overzealous.

Perhaps, when our little girl gets older, maybe, I will be an overzealous parent and I will be so enthusiastic about everything she does.

Or maybe you have some overzealous colleagues that anything that happens, they’re always enthusiastic. Perhaps they’re always eager to do things.

And you might think, well, they’re a little overzealous. I imagine that you guys are overzealous students that you are so excited to build and learn new vocabulary.

During the concert, some overzealous fans ran onto the stage.

Tenacious

This adjective means that somebody is just not giving up, perhaps stubbornly, that they just absolutely refuse to give up, even though maybe they should.

Now when I think of this word, I actually think it’s used in more of a positive manner. When you describe somebody as tenacious and they are not giving up, they refuse to give up.

They’re being very stubborn, but they should keep going.

It is a good thing that they don’t give up in that sense. If you want to say she is a tenacious student. Refuses to give up, no matter how difficult it is. She’s tenacious.

Then we have candid.

Candid

And if you say that someone is candid, then basically you’re just saying that this person is truthful and that they are honest.

We can use this adjective and describe someone and say that they are a candid person or perhaps they give a candid response to a question.

Personally, I think it’s maybe more common to follow the linking verb “to be” and you would describe somebody that he is candid, or she is candid. They are truthful and honest.

And if you’re describing somebody in that way, it’s almost like you’re trying to say, well, this person can be believed. We can trust this person because they are candid, and they give candid responses.

I guess I’m just going to keep using the word candid again and again so that it helps you remember the meaning.

This candid photo shows some of the poor living conditions surrounding the city.

Next is facetious, and this is one of my favorite adjectives.

Facetious

And what it means is that somebody is joking and they’re not being serious.

And perhaps in inappropriate way, in a sense they should be serious, but they’re joking around, they are being facetious.

And I think it’s commonly used just like that; in some kind of situation, you’re talking to somebody else and you’re joking with this person.

Perhaps they don’t know about it, and you have to tell them and say, look, I’m being facetious, I’m joking, I’m not being serious.

That is a phrase that that you might often hear with this word, somebody actually having to tell the other person, say, wait, I’m being facetious or maybe you could say that of another person.

If somebody doesn’t understand that this person is joking and say, well look, he’s being facetious, she’s being facetious. They are joking. They’re not being serious, they’re being facetious.

Sometimes it’s hard to take my boss seriously because he’s always being facetious.

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Obtuse

Now this is not a good adjective. You don’t want to be called obtuse because what it means is that somebody is lacking in intelligence and maybe they’re a bit slow to understand.

And you would often use it with the linking verb to be and say that someone is obtuse that that they are slow to understand. And you could describe that person and say yeah, you know he’s a bit obtuse, he’s slow to understand. 

He’s not a very smart person. They’re obtuse or if there’s a situation and somebody, it’s like they don’t want to hear the truth and they’re trying to deny it. And they don’t want to listen.

And you could say, well, they are being obtuse, that they refuse to believe what is obvious, what is sensible, but they just don’t want to believe it.

They’re being obtuse. Sometimes my uncle can be so obtuse he refuses to listen to anyone.

Boorish

And again, this, it’s not a great adjective. You don’t want to be referred to as a boorish person because it means that someone is rude or insensitive, and often I think it’s used before the noun behavior.

And this is a commonly used collocation. And you might describe somebody’s behavior as boorish. They’re boorish behavior, it’s rude, it’s insensitive, they may exhibit boorish behavior.

Mind that this adjective is unrelated to the word boring. That is a very common adjective, but they have different meanings.

If somebody is boorish, they are rude or insensitive boorish behavior. His boorish behavior caused me to hang up on him.

Jittery

Then we have jittery, and this is another great adjective, and it’s used to describe someone who is nervous, and they are unable to relax.

Often, I think it’s used as a predicate adjective, and you say someone is jittery.

So, there is probably some kind of situation that would make someone nervous. They’re unable to relax, and you could describe them as jittery, perhaps.

They have to give a very important presentation. And before the presentation you could say, wow, you know, he’s really jittery. It’s also used in a situation that if somebody just, they’re unable to relax because they want to leave.

For example, I have been in some very long teachers’ meetings in my life and the meetings just go on and on and on and I just, I don’t want to sit there anymore.

And I start to get jittery. I start moving around, I start shaking my legs and I just, I want to get out of there. I can’t relax. I’m jittery. The boy was so jittery he had a tough time staying seated. Then we have capricious.

Capricious

This means that someone or something is impulsive or unpredictable. So, you could use this adjective and say that, well, the weather is capricious, it’s unpredictable. You don’t know what’s going to happen.

Or if you describe a person as capricious, it makes me think of somebody who maybe they make a decision and then they change their mind almost immediately and want to do something else, and then they change their mind again and want to do something completely different.

You could say that they are capricious, or maybe a person is a capricious shopper.

I actually would just say that that person is capricious, that they are impulsive, they are unpredictable, and you might describe them as capricious. Because of his capricious nature, he couldn’t commit to chewing just one thing.

Gullible

Then we have the adjective gullible, and this just means that a person is easily persuaded to believe something. Essentially, they just believe whatever you tell them they are gullible.

It often follows that verb to be, and I think we’ve all met people before in our lives who are pretty gullible. Whatever you tell them, they just believe you.

This is a great example of when if you are being facetious, they are not going to understand that you’re joking. They will believe you because they are gullible. And then you would have to tell them, look, I’m being facetious.

Not being serious, I think it’s also used to describe somebody in a temporary situation because let’s be honest, we’ve all been gullible at one point or another.

So, in that case, I think of perhaps somebody is trying to trick somebody else. Or maybe there is some sort of scam and for some reason you fall for it. You’re not thinking clearly. You could say, I was just gullible.

I don’t know why I believe this thing, but I did. I was gullible. I couldn’t believe I fell for this Internet scam. I was so gullible.

Adamant

Then we have adamant, and this adjective means that a person is refusing to change their mind or be persuaded.

Often, I think this adjective is followed by the preposition about; you are adamant about something, that you just refuse to believe anything else.

And often I think of maybe some sort of cause that a person is fighting for. They are very passionate about this cause, and you could say they are adamant about this thing.

I am adamant about protecting the environment. I am adamant about teaching you guys vocabulary. I refuse to believe that you will not learn and build your vocabulary.

I am adamant about teaching it to you. I think we can all think of different things that we are adamant about that we just want this thing to happen. We won’t be persuaded otherwise.

You are adamant about something. The doctor was adamant she have surgery immediately.

Feckless

Then we have feckless, and this is used to describe a person who is weak or ineffective and just really lacking in the strength of character that this person is feckless.

And I think it might be also used to describe somebody’s personality or their traits. For example, you might say that someone is a feckless leader.

They are an ineffective leader because they lack that strong character. They are feckless. The coach’s feckless leadership led the team to their worst record in school history.

I want to be honest. I want to be candid with you that when you are building your vocabulary, I hope that two adjectives that I could use to describe you would be overzealous, that you are just eager to learn new words, and that that you’re tenacious too, that you are not going to give up for whatever reason.

That is what I hope for, and I am absolutely not being facetious when I say that. I’d also like you to do a little bit of an association trick right now when you hear these adjectives. Which person do you think of? You can probably think of someone that adjective describes.

For example, if I just say the word jittery, who are you thinking about in your life?

Try to associate these words with somebody that you know, because that’s going to help you better remember the meaning and actually retain that information and you won’t forget it.

So, I want you to go out, use these adjectives when you’re talking about other people or even talking about yourself. 

Let me know your favorite words from this piece. 

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