Hello lovely students! Today I will show you something about emotions and how we express them in English. You may already know a few, such as happy, angry and sad. But what about other emotions and their synonyms? They’re worth knowing, too, and will help you to expand your vocabulary.
I have a long list of positive emotions and negative emotions below. Shall we get started?
The science of emotions
Before I get on with the list, I wanted to tell you about emotions through a scientific lens. In 1970 Professor Paul Eckman identified six key emotions that are present universally in all human cultures. These six were joy, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise and anger.
He photographed the different emotions on people’s faces worldwide, and they all expressed them similarly.
For example, if you feel angry, chances are you may frown. This, the professor concluded, is the same for everyone, everywhere. Of course, these aren’t the only emotions, but I’ll be focusing on these.
|I’m joyful today. My dress arrived on time.
|She’s happy to hear from you.
|I was cheerful/cheery until I fell over.
|Ryan was rather amused by his son.
|Sam is a jovial woman. She’s always smiling.
|I got into Yale. I’m elated!
|They are ecstatic with their results.
|She was very gleeful about writing her book.
|Shilpa is such a merry person. She’s never sad.
|I’m glad you found your keys.
Top tip: we also use the word merry in English when someone is a bit drunk. We would say: “They are a bit merry, aren’t they?“
|I’m so surprised you kept this wonderful holiday a secret for so long.
|Tiffany is amazed that you passed the driving test.
|I’m astonished by your attitude.
|You startled me!
|I’m flabbergasted by the response.
|She was nonplussed when he asked for wine instead of his usual beer.
|They were stunned to learn about what happened to Margot.
|I’m shocked that his feelings were hurt.
|He was astounded that his dog could identify him with his singing voice.
|I’m dumbstruck. Is Tanya dating Frank?
Top tip: being surprised isn’t always a good thing. It can also be a negative thing too.
|We are sad to hear about Roxy.
|I feel slightly downcast this morning. I had an unpleasant commute to work.
|She felt melancholic after her argument.
|I feel miserable when I talk to Mitch. He has nothing positive to say ever.
|The teacher was upset with what the child said.
|I’m feeling down because my relationships always fail.
|His face looked sorrowful.
|Steve is feeling dejected because he could not go away on his break. He had to work.
|I can relate. I sometimes feel blue when my favourite film characters die.
|Being unhappy is never a good thing. Do something fun to help.
|We are disgusted that you went your own way instead of following us. It was selfish!
|I was revolted by the smell of the bins.
|Her cooking made my belly feel queasy.
|Eww! I’m sickened by all this mess!
|She was repulsed by his lack of art knowledge.
|I’m fearful of what may happen to you if you go there alone.
|I’m too scared to watch this film.
|The children in The Sound of Music were frightened of the storm.
|I used to be petrified of the film The Mummy with Brendan Fraser in it.
|Mrs Snell is a bit anxious today. I hope she is ok.
|He’s not my child, but I’m worried he won’t finish school. He just wants to work.
|We’re alarmed at what is happening at the moment.
|Whenever she performs, she gets panicked about what the audience might think. She needs to come up with new coping strategies.
|I’m afraid that I won’t be promoted.
|I’m so angry at what they did to my house. They threw a party whilst I was away.
|My boss was raging at Jim’s idea. I think it was because he didn’t think of it first.
|I’m furious at how you respond to me. You are impolite all the time.
|Lee is always cross. We don’t know why
|It’s such a miscarriage of justice. I’m outraged.
|She had never seen him go so ballistic before; usually, he is calm.
|Forget being livid all the time. Life is too short.
|I bet their dog Angus was fuming when they bought a cat home.
|We have driven all day. I am hungry.
|I could eat a biscuit. I’m feeling peckish.
|They were starving. But they had only eaten 2 hours ago!
|After a long day at work, I’m always famished.
|He is ravenous 24/7. He doesn’t stop!
|I’m so bored of doing my homework.
Top tip: boredom is the noun for the state of feeling bored. However, we use the word bore to describe a person who makes us feel bored.
For example: Craig is such a bore. I want to sleep when he talks to me.
|I feel calm when I develop a sense of responsibility at work. It makes me feel important.
|They are tranquil and shall be asleep soon.
|Being serene with your life is such a power.
|I’m so excited about using these feeling words in my everyday vocabulary.
|We’re thrilled to announce we’re expecting.
|I would be delighted to attend your wedding.
|Sebastian is stoked to go to Spain.
|I’m feeling pumped to play this new game. There are five categories. It should be fun!
|Emotional experiences make me stressed. I don’t know how to manage them.
|I keep on thinking about the outcome, and I feel frazzled.
|They are compassionate people. Always helping others.
|He is devoted to his work.
|I’m very fond of my neighbours.
You may have noticed on the tables that I put an asterisk (*) next to some of the emotions. This wasn’t an error. I wanted to show you that these emotions can also be adjectives that describe the thing that causes the emotion. These are often -ing adjectives, though not all are.
Let’s look at the first emotion with an asterisk, amused. As an -ing adjective, it turns into amusing.
I found that film amusing. It amused me.
Here amusing refers to the film, which made the speaker feel amused.
Let me show you another one with the emotion surprised. As an -ing adjective, it turns into surprising.
I was surprised at him. His actions were surprising.
I’ve put all the other emotions with asterisks and their external adjectives in the table below.
|Emotion (-ed adjective)
|External (-ing adjective)
Read the article on -ing adjectives here for more information.
Is that everything?
Absolutely not! Head over to my YouTube channel English with Lucy for more engaging content.