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Last updated at 14:39 BST, Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Episode 197: Language Point

Tim in a rowing boat on the lake


When Tim says 'I'm all calm and controlled on the surface' he's describing his temperament. Temperament is the part of your character that affects your feelings and moods and the way you behave.

Here are some other ways to describe people's temperament and personality.

Positive traits

These temperaments and personality types are generally seen as being positive:

faithful, not changing in your friendship with or support for someone
Example: Even after he was sent to prison for murder, she still visited him every week. I don't think I would be so loyal if I was in her shoes.

extrovert / extravert
energetic, happy person who enjoys other people's company
Example: She's the life and soul of every party. She's really extrovert.

friendly and affectionate (shows feelings of openness and liking or love)
Example: Bill's a really warm guy. If you ever need to ask a favour, he'll always try to help you out.

someone who likes to meet new people and spend time with other people
Example: He's really sociable. He goes out every weekend, loves going to parties and has loads of friends.

peaceful and quiet, not anxious or excitable
Example: She's just who you want to be with in a crisis. She's so calm. She never gets flustered even when it's all going really badly, she just gets on with what she has to do without making a big fuss.

understanding what other people want or what their emotional needs are, and being helpful and kind to them
Example: Even though he's a really aggressive boxer, at home he's a loving, sensitive father bringing up three children by himself.

Negative traits

These temperaments and personality types are generally seen as being negative:

someone whose moods tend to change very suddenly and unexpectedly
Example: He's so temperamental I never know how to approach him. One minute he's as nice as anything, next he's a complete nightmare.

quiet and easy for other people to influence, persuade or control Example: He's as docile as a lamb around her. She can do whatever she wants and he never argues.

unable to stop thinking about something; too interested in or worried about something She's incredibly obsessive.
Example: Everything in her kitchen is in perfect order and every one of her books and CDs is arranged in alphabetical order.

shy, quiet and doesn't make friends easily
Example: He acts on stage in front of hundreds of people. It's hard to believe he's actually really shy and completely introverted.

unfriendly, not showing affection, kindness or emotion
Example: She's very cold. Even if you're really ill, she expects you to come into work. She has no sympathy for you have any kind of difficulty at all.


flying (like a balloon in the air)
paddle or move a boat using paddles or oars
poised, calm, elegant
I'm furiously paddling away
I'm moving through water using as much effort as I possibly can

Episode 197 links

  1. Home
  2. The Flatmates
  3. Episode 197: Language Point