Express Your Feelings in English

Why does it feel more difficult to express your feelings in English, or in any a foreign language? You can say, “I’m fine,” or “I’m okay,” but it just doesn’t feel the same as the way you can express yourself in your native language.

How to Express Your Feelings in English – Like a Native

Today we’re going to learn how to communicate and express your true  feelings from the bottom of your soul! No longer will you simply say, “I’m fine, thank you, and you?” “Oh, so boring! It’s so dry, like a robot speaking from the textbook!

In today’s lesson, after just 10 minutes of watching and practicing with teacher Diane, you are going to see how you can sound more native-like, more natural, and really express how you feel so other people understand you and your true feelings.

Hi, I’m Diane from Go Natural, your personal English coach and motivator!

I am so excited and happy right now. I have moved  into my new apartment and I cannot believe it! I was a little anxious, but now I feel ecstatic.

Different Ways to Express Yourself

First, a lot of you guys have asked about how to express your emotions and feelings in English. I’m going to go through some ways that you can express yourself. Maybe you are talking to a coworker, a friend, or somebody at the store or at the bank. Depending on the situation, we’re going to go through different examples and adjectives that you can use.

Remember to start thinking in English! Making that switch in your brain will help you express yourself more effortlessly without having to think of the translation. At the end of the lesson, I’ll share some common English idioms that you can use to sound more native.

Sentence Structures to Use When Expressing Your Feelings

1.  First, let’s start with the sentence “I am…” plus an adjective.
I am tired.
I am sad.

2.  Here’s another sentence – “I feel…” plus an adjective.
I feel tired.
I feel sad.

3.  You could also say “I’m a little…” plus the adjective.
I’m a little tired.
I’m a little sad.

4.  Here’s another way to say it – “I’m feeling…” plus an adjective.
I’m feeling tired.
I’m feeling sad.

5.  Also try “I’ve been…” or “I’ve been feeling…” plus the adjective.
I’ve been tired.
I’ve been feeling tired.

Try these, too:
I’ve been sad.
I’ve been feeling sad.

6.  Don’t forget “I got…”
I got tired.
I got sad.

These phrases are how you would start a sentence, and how you would express the way you are feeling. It doesn’t have to be complicated! You don’t have to use crazy vocabulary or grammar. It’s just “I am…” or “I feel…” or any of the other phrases.

How to Say WHY You Are Feeling Something

Next, let’s talk about how to tell someone WHY you feel a certain way.

1.  You could say, “I get sad when…”
I get tired when I work too much.
I get sad when a bird dies.

2.  Another way to talk about what makes you feel a certain way is to say, “He/She/It makes me feel…” or “They make me feel…”
He makes me feel happy.
It makes me feel sad.
They make me feel angry.

3.  You can also talk about a situation, or something that makes you feel a certain way. “This/That makes me feel…” plus the adjective that describes how you feel.
Going to the beach makes me feel relaxed and refreshed.
Working hard makes me feel that I’ve accomplished something.

Vocabulary That Describes Feelings

Now, let’s go through some vocabulary that describes basic feelings. These are very simple ones, and I’ll go through some synonyms to help you express yourself a little more completely and sound more native-like.

1. Happy

delighted, ecstatic, glad, overjoyed, thrilled, elated

Depending on the situation, and your level of happiness, you could switch these words around. If you are really, really happy about something, you can say “I’m overjoyed,” which would be to the point of tears, you are so happy.

Say – I’m glad that it’s sunny today.
Don’t say – I’m overjoyed that it’s sunny today.

You are probably not super-happy that it’s sunny, you are just glad.

At the beginning, I mentioned that I am happy to be in my new apartment. Actually, I am more than just happy – I am really, really happy. What are some of the words you can use to express what I feel? You could say “I’m ecstatic,” “I’m elated,” or “I’m excited about being in my new apartment. Those words imply that you are very, very happy.

2. Sad

miserable, down, disrupted, depressed, upset, unhappy, bummed out

You can be just sad, or if you are really sad, you can say, “I’m miserable.” Miserable means that you are so sad that you just can’t do anything, including getting out of bed. You could also say that you are “depressed,” which is very similar to “miserable.”

If you are feeling “down,” it doesn’t mean that you are miserable or depressed. It just means you’re a little sad. When you’re feeling “upset,” you can say, “I’m really upset.” That means you are very sad or very angry, or both together. “Upset” is a common way to describe if you are sad and also if you are angry.

When you feel “bummed out,” your just a little disappointed, but you’re not upset or depressed.

I’m bummed out because I couldn’t go to the concert this year because of Covid.

3. Angry

annoyed, enraged, furious, irritable, outraged, indignant, infuriated

“Annoyed” means that you are a little angry, but the other words mean that you are very angry or upset about something.

4.  Tired

overworked, sleepy, drained, burned out, worn out, drowsy

“Overworked” and “burned out” mean that you are really, really tired from doing something repeatedly. Maybe you worked out too long at the gym, or you have a situation that isn’t going away. If you are “sleepy” or “drowsy,” you’re just a little bit tired, but nothing like being “drained” or “overworked” or “burned out.”

Now, Let’s Go Through Some Examples!

Here are some examples of sentences that use the vocabulary we just looked at.

I’ve been feeling really depressed about what is going on with the pandemic, but I am thrilled about the future, that it’s going to go back to normal one day.
The people at the bank made me so furious when they didn’t want to help me.
Raul has been overworked at his new job because he has to work really long hours.
My workout last night drained me because I haven’t been exercising regularly.

Like I said, the sentence structure is very simple, so don’t get intimidated and worry about how you are going to say something. It’s easy!

I feel…
I am…
This makes me feel…

Don’t be afraid to express your emotions, because that’s not good when you are trying to learn a language. Your listener might think you are upset or angry because you can’t express yourself fully.

Idioms You Can Use to Express Your Feelings

Finally, let’s go through some idioms and ways that native speakers talk about their feelings.

1.  I am on cloud nine right now after my date.

Being “on cloud nine” means that you feel so happy after spending time with someone. It’s usually something about the romantic aspect of things, so when you hear that, it means that someone is really, really happy.

2.  Your friend asks, “How are you doing?”
     You could answer, “I can’t complain.”

“I can’t complain” just means that you aren’t necessarily “on cloud nine,” or really, really happy, it’s just that you don’t have anything to complain about. “I can’t complain, life is good.”

3.  She got riled up because of what she saw in the news.

“Riled up” is to become angry or upset.

4.  The guy at the store was foaming at the mouth about a discount or something that happened with the clerk.

When you hear that someone is “foaming at the mouth,” that is not good. “Foaming at the mouth” is not literal, it just means that someone is so angry that they are speaking loudly, or screaming.

5.  I get bored to death at work when it is slow.

“Bored to death” means really, really, REALLY bored. Instead of saying “really” or “very,” you can say “bored to death.” A lot of native speakers say this.

6.  I feel pooped after work.

This is funny to me, because I didn’t know what this meant when I heard it. I was like, “What do you mean, you poop yourself?” No, that’s not what it means! You are just very tired, you are “pooped” or “pooped out.” You are just so physically or mentally exhausted that you can’t say a word, so you just say “I’m pooped.”

Keep Practicing!

Keep practicing these words and expressions that you can use to express your feelings and emotions. Pay a lot of attention to the words native speakers use, so you can increase your own fluency. If you use social media a lot, you will like this post about what all those social media acronyms mean and how you can use them to express how you feel!

Don’t forget to click here and sign up for free English tips sent straight to your email. Learn about our English course here, and don’t forget to practice, practice, practice! Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you again soon!

Picture of Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

About the Author
Gabby Wallace is the Founder of Go Natural English, where you can quickly improve your confidence speaking English through advanced fluency practice. Even if you don't have much time, this is the best place for improving your English skills. Millions of global intermediate - advanced English students are learning with Gabby's inspiring, clear, and energetic English lessons. Gabby has a Masters Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Boston University and 20+ years experience helping students become fluent through her online courses and membership program.

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