Vocabulary: Some ‘Self’ Words [Part I]

Self-conscious dog.jpg

In the last post, I looked at the English verbs ‘do’ and ‘make’, and the idea of collocation (= putting the right words together). Let’s change the topic to some vocabulary work.

English has hundreds of words in the form ‘self-…..’. For example: self-centred. A self-centred person thinks the whole world turns around them. I would say many of the current protestors pulling down statues in America are just like that: stupid people trying to be the centre of something, believing that their views must be right, and therefore they have a right to cause destruction.

By the way, that little line ‘-’ in the middle of the adjective is called a ‘hyphen’, and joins two words into one bigger one.

These ‘self’ words are most often used as adjectives. Below is a list of 10 of the most common ‘self’ words. Are they good (G), bad (B) or neutral () in meaning?


1 Self-important

2 Self-confident            

3 Self-conscious                

4 Self-employed               

5 Selfish

6 Self-made (man)

7 Self-governing   

8 Self-addressed

9 Self-confessed

10 Selfless

Match the above words with the descriptions below. Put a number beside each sentence.

This person is shy and easily embarrassed.

This person built his own business.

This thing has your own address on it.

This person always tries to help others.

This person thinks he/she is better than everyone else.

This person runs his own business.

This person readily admitted to his crime/problem.

This country is independent.

This person is very outgoing.

This person only cares about him/her-self.

The answers are: 3(B), 6(G), 8(), 10(G), 1(B), 4(G), 9(B), 7(G), 2(G), & 5(B).


Can you describe yourself, your family, or any of your friends with the adjectives? Give examples to prove it.

By the way. See the picture at the top. Which of the adjectives, 110, best describes that dog?