Can the word characteristic be used to describe changes that occur to a character (I.E. a character in a film)?

For example:

... this foreshadows the changes to come - both plot and characteristic changes.

Where characteristic changes is referring to changes in a character's personality or perspective.

Would it be better to say plot and character changes?

  • 2
    Definitely. I'm not sure characteristic could ever mean relating to a [fictional] character or characters. Certainly people don't normally interpret it that way. Just use the noun form (familiar alongside "plot") as an adjective and all will be fine. Apr 19, 2012 at 3:15

1 Answer 1


I don't see a definition in my dictionary that says that characteristic can mean pertaining to characters in a story. There is one definition that reads

Relating to or descriptive of [moral] character.

so I suppose you could use it if the changes fit that usage of the word character. You could also use it if you were trying to make some sort of pun. It doesn't look like either of these is the case from your example, however.

Even if there were such a definition, I would say that your idea to use "plot and character changes" is a good one. That way, you avoid forcing your readers to re-parse the sentence with a different meaning of characteristic in mind.

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