FCE Grammar Revision








Describing Personality & Character


The meaning of highlighted words is explained at the end of the passage.

Whether you believe in horoscopes or not, they do provide twelve standard character types which can be useful if you need to describe someone's personality. You may have to describe a person's character in either the written or the speaking part of the exam. The vocabulary will be useful for any part of the First Certificate Examination and indeed for any exam.

The Signs of The Zodiac

ARIES (21 March 20 April) is the first sign of the zodiac and is innocent and immediate. S/he is motivated by seIf-interest and is, above all, active. Aries' innocence means that s/he is idealist but, at the same time, tactless and rude. His/her immediacy can mean that Aries is rash and clumsy. Since Aries is a doer, s/he is usually ambitious, adventurous, enthusiastic, outgoing and competitive. However, Aries' self-interest can mean that s/he is self-centred and ruthless. Above all, Aries is a straight-forward person.

TAURUS (21 April - 20 May) is the least spiritual of star signs. S/he tends to be possessive and materialistic. In a good sense this may mean that Taurus is stable and level-headed and, as a lover, s/he can be affectionate and even passionate. However, at times s/he can become taciturn and selfish.

GEMINI (21 May 20 June) is all about curiosity and communication. Gemini tends to be quick-witted, resourceful, extrovert, rebellious and communicative. Gemini has an independent spirit. However, s/he can sometimes seem two-faced, superficial, hypocritical, dishonest and even unscrupulous.

CANCER (21 June - 21 July) likes emotional security. Cancer's maternal instinct means that s/he is protective, nostalgic, sentimental and sensitive. When Cancer feels threatened s/he can be aggressive. On the negative side, Cancer is capable of being fickle, whimsical and immature. Nevertheless, s/he can be imaginative.

LEO (22 July - 21 August) is a creative and dominant star sign. S/he is self-assured and proud. At times, s/he can be immodest and even arrogant. To some people Leo may come across as bossy, boastful and pompous. Indeed, Leo can be very vain and often gullible in the face of flattery. On the other hand, s/he can be sociable, magnanimous and tolerant. As a friend, Leo is generous, considerate and, above all, loyal. As a lover, s/he can be sensitive and passionate. Leo is a hedonist and loves the good things in life, but at the same time s/he is usually disciplined.

VIRGO (22 August - 21 September) is adaptable. On the one hand, Virgo is servile, obedient, shy and humble. On the other, Virgo is very analytical and practical. S/he is rational, logical and methodical, though sometimes a little sceptical. Virgo is also hardworking. At the same time, Virgo is a perfectionist. When s/he applies this characteristic to the work and habits of others, Virgo can be demanding, picky, and petty. Despite this, Virgo is generally a good friend since s/he is honest, truthful and reliable.

LIBRA (22 September - 22 October) is balanced - harmony and beauty are important to her/him. S/he is generally easy-going and carefree. People sopmetimes think that this attitude to life is because Libra is lazy. Libra is often intellectual and inquisitive. On a good day, Libra is charming, however, s/he can also be spiteful.

SCORPIO (23 October- 21 November)
can be either spiritual or scatological. S/he is energetic and strong-willed. Taken to an extreme, Scorpio can become authoritarian, intolerant and narrow-minded. However, if Scorpio's ideas conflict with the established authority, s/he will be rebellious and undisciplined. Scorpio's conflictive nature means that s/he is at times aggressive, and even sadistic. Scorpio is often self-destructive. Even if these extremes are not reached, Scorpio is often irritable. If Scorpio is aware of his/her conflictive nature, s/he may become withdrawn. In any case, s/he is always forthright and never insincere.

SAGITTARIUS (22 November -20 December) is a visionary and an optimist. S/he is energetic, enthusiastic, forthright and open but these characteristics can also mean that Sagittarius can be tactless and hot-blooded. S/he can be playful and light-hearted but his/her time is also spent in the serious pursuit of meaning and freedom.

CAPRICORN (21 December - 19 January) is a control-freak. S/he is determined, disciplined and ambitious. As a controller Capricorn is usually sensible, patient, stable and thoughtfuI. However, s/he can also be pessimistic and even moody.

AQUARIUS (20 January - 18 February) likes groups. S/he is humane and is often gentle, compassionate and understanding. S/he is intellectual but also idealist and spiritual. At the same time, s/he can be unpredictable and eccentric. Aquarius is usually lively but can also be stubborn a times.

PISCES (19 February 20 March) is humane, generous and even sometimes selfless. However, s/he is also capable of being emotional and temperamental. This means that Pisces often comes across as unstable, fickle and weak-willed. Pisces is very sensitive and, at times, impressionable. Her/his sensitivity can mean that s/he is melancholic.



self-conscious: insecure
self-righteous: smug, sanctimonious, self-satisfied, superior
tight-fisted: ungenerous, miserly, mean, stingy
to be tactless: not have tact, be unintentionally impolite
rude: (false friend) impolite
rash: impetuous, impulsive
clumsy: awkward, uncoordinated, inept
doer: person who "does", active person
outgoing: extrovert
self-centred: selfish, egocentric
ruthless: brutal, cruel, merciless, relentless, without pity
straight-forward: uncomplicated
selfish: egotistical
quick-witted: alert, astute, smart
resourceful: clever, capable, ingenious, inventive
two-faced: insincere
threatened: under attack, menaced
fickle: changeable, unpredictable, volatile
whimsical: capricious
nevertheless: however, despite this
self-assured: confident, self-confident
to come across (intransitive): seem, appear
bossy: authoritarian, despotic, dictatorial
boastful: arrogant, having a tendency to talk about his/her successes (= "victories")
gullible: credulous, innocent, naive
flattery: adulation, sycophancy

shy: timid
humble: modest
methodical: meticulous, systematic
picky: critical, fussy
petty: obsessed about unimportant details
truthful: sincere, honest
reliable: dependable, predictable, responsible, trustworthy
easy-going: relaxed
carefree: untroubled, without worries (=preoccupations), easy-going
spiteful: vindictive
scatological: (semi-false friend) showing an unpleasant interest in excrement, sex and death.
strong-willed: determined, resolute
to be aware of: be conscious of
withdrawn: reserved
forthright: frank, direct, candid
control-freak: person who needs to be controlling everything and everyone.
sensible: (false friend) responsible
thoughtful: contemplative, pensive, reflective
moody: melancholic, sullen
gentle: tender
lively: vivacious
stubborn: obstinate
selfless: altruistic, self-sacrificing
unstable: unbalanced
fickle: changeable, unpredictable, volatile
weak-willed: indecisive


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