Driven or bone idle? (Describing people’s characters, Part 1)

Nora Carol Photography/Moment/Getty Images by Kate Woodford We often describe the characters of people that we know. Sometimes we say something complimentary (= positive) about a person and at other times, we’re more critical (= negative). Very often, we mention a particular aspect of someone’s character, perhaps in relation to something that has happened. As […]

Driven or bone idle? (Describing people’s characters, Part 1)

Driven or bone idle? (Describing people’s characters, Part 1)

Nora Carol Photography/Moment/Getty Images by Kate Woodford We often describe the characters of people that we know. Sometimes we say something complimentary (= positive) about a person and at other times, we’re more critical (= negative). Very often, we mention a particular aspect of someone’s character, perhaps in relation to something that has happened. As […]

Driven or bone idle? (Describing people’s characters, Part 1)

Extrovert or introvert? (Describing character, part 4)

Francesco Carta fotografo/Moment/Getty Images by Kate Woodford Today’s post is the latest in a thread dedicated to describing people’s personalities. We’ve previously looked at adjectives and phrases for people who are relaxed and happy (Part 3), kind and mean (Part 2), and hard-working and lazy (Part 1). Today we focus on words and phrases meaning […]

Extrovert or introvert? (Describing character, part 4)

Going forward, sooner or later (Expressions to talk about the future)

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

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by Kate Woodford

This post takes a look at a group of phrases that we use when we talk about the future.

Some of the phrases that we use when we talk about our future plans and ideas simply mean ‘at some time in the future’, (without mentioning a particular time), for example at some point: At some point, we’ll look into buying a new laptop.

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Scorching, furious and delighted! (Extreme adjectives in English, Part 1)

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

westend61/Getty Images

by Kate Woodford

Are your English adjectives sometimes not strong enough? Perhaps you’re eating something that is so good, the word ‘good’ just isn’t enough. In this case, you might want to describe the food as delicious or even (informal)scrumptious. As you’ll have guessed by now, this post looks at extreme adjectives – that is, adjectives that we use to emphasize a high degree of a particular quality.  Remember that we don’t usually put the adverb very before extreme adjectives. Instead, to add even more emphasis, we might use adverbs such as absolutely, totally and completely.

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It’s just so difficult! How to use the word ‘just’

Just is a really annoying word for learners of English! It’s very common and we use it in lots of different situations, often with quite different meanings. In this post, I will try to explain some of the most common ways in which we use it – not only on its own, but as a part of some common phrases.

We often use just to talk about when something happens. It can mean ‘a very short time ago’ or ‘very recently’:

I’ve just spoken to Tom. (UK)/I just spoke to Tom. (US)

They had just arrived in London.

If we want to be more emphatic, we can say only just:

Don’t get mud on the floor – I’ve only just cleaned it. (UK)/I only just cleaned it. (US)

Rather confusingly, just can also be used with present tenses to mean ‘now’ or ‘in a very short time’:

I’ll do it in a minute. I’m just having a cup of tea.

We’ll be a bit late – we’re just leaving the house.

If we say we are just about to do something, we mean that we are going to do it almost immediately:

I think Maria’s just about to leave.

The rainy season was just about to start.

And if we say that something happens just as another thing happens, we mean that they happen at the same time:

They arrived just as we were leaving.

A completely different, but also extremely common, meaning of just is ‘only’:

I thought the book was about Europe but it was just about France.

We often use this just to show that something isn’t as important, large, difficult, etc. as someone might think it is:

You just need to work a bit harder.

I don’t live here – I’m just a tourist.

They were just trying to have some fun.

We often use just as with an adjective when we are comparing two things, to say that they have the same amount of a quality. Remember that you need to say just as …. as if the adjective is followed by a noun or noun phrase:

Mick can be rude, but you’re just as bad.

Her new book is just as good as her last one.

Finally, just can be used as a general emphasizing word:

I just don’t believe it!

There are certainly other subtle uses of just, but I hope this post has helped you to understand and use the main ones.

4 Reasons Why Highly Intelligent People Are Happier with Less Socialization

The idea that a high degree of socialization and intelligence don’t go together seems not just to be a popular perception but a fact.

A study aimed at finding the correlation between evolution and socialization found that ‘more intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization’.

The researchers posited that the reason for this may be that highly intelligent people are more adapted to modern living than others, as ancestral living conditions entailed far more reliance on socialization for survival.

There are other possible reasons why intelligent people may avoid a high degree of social contact:

1. Intelligent people may lack social skills

“I am alone, I thought, and they are everybody.”

~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

William Little’s Introduction to Sociology cites the case of a man called Chris Langan ‘the smartest man you’ve never heard of’. It describes Langan as having an IQ of over 195, which is 100 points higher than that of the average human being. He’s thought to have been among the most intelligent people the world has ever seen.

Chris Langan, however, enjoyed no success or achievement in his life. He worked various low-level jobs and had a life story filled with disappointment and isolation.

The problem, according to psychologist Robert Sternberg, was that Chris Langan lacked the social skills to make achievements corresponding to his intelligence. He was incapable of ‘knowing what to say to whom, knowing how to say it, and knowing how to say it to maximum effect’ (Sternberg et al. 2000).

This is an extreme example, of course, and many intelligent people know at least how to communicate enough to get on in life. However, it’s possible that what people gain in intelligence, they often lose in social skills.

2. Socialization is a distraction from work

“I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

An obvious factor behind the avoidance of socialization that we see in intelligent people is that socializing takes up a good deal of time and effort. Intelligent peopleare far more likely than unintelligent people to have interests that reach beyond who is dating whom and what so-and-so is wearing.

Most intelligent people are compelled to act on their intelligence in some way by working on something, whether it’s a personal project or something to do with their career. They may also simply prefer consuming knowledge through reading or other intellectual pursuits than spending time out with friends.

3. It’s more difficult to fit in with the crowd

“So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them.”

~ Sylvia Plath

Lack of socialization may not always be a conscious choice for intelligent people. However, being more intelligent than others can be isolating for reasons that are beyond the intelligent person’s control. Even if they have adequate social skills, they may still find it very difficult to fit in with people and may find they share little common ground with people of average intelligence. People don’t understand, and care even less, about the things they are interested in. People may view them as boring at best and arrogant at worst. People often don’t like being around people who are their intellectual superiors as it makes them feel stupid.

Intelligent people who face lonelinessas a result of their differences with the vast majority of people may find themselves having to ‘play dumb’ to get along with people.

This can make them appear more normal to others, but below the surface, they may suffer from an even greater degree of loneliness and isolation as they realize that none of their ‘friends’ actually know who they are on the inside.

anxiety in intelligent people

“I have long held the opinion that the amount of noise that anyone can bear undisturbed stands in inverse proportion to his mental capacity and therefore be regarded as a pretty fair measure of it.”

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Research has shown that intelligent people are more prone to anxietythan people of average intelligence. It has been shown that they’re more likely to spend time replaying unpleasant or embarrassing scenes in their head than anything else – even than thinking on intellectual matters if such scenes should occur.

This demonstrates that socialization can have an adverse rather than positive effect on intelligent people, as they’re more likely to suffer than average people if something goes wrong – which it frequently does. As such anxiety can have a negative impact on health, it’s easy to understand why intelligent people may choose to shy away from excessive social interaction.

As German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer pointed out in his essay entitled On Noise, intelligent people are less likely to be able to stand environments with a great deal of noise and disturbance.

For this reason, going to clubs and busy bars where people usually like to socialize is something that intelligent people may try to avoid.

Ultimately, loneliness may be an affliction the intelligent have to bear as the price they pay for their intelligence.

Whenever you feel down because you feel like you don’t fit in and never will, remember: you’re in good company.

“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke”

~ Vincent van Gogh