Emotional English

Emotional English

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, enjoy them, and to dominate them.”

Oscar Wilde, an Irish poet and playwright

They say we are slaves to our emotions and it may be true. What we feel colors our life, influences our decisions and ultimately makes us humans. We won’t tell you about how to control your emotions or keep/hold them in check*, we won’t tell you if it’s right or wrong to bottle them up**, but we’ll definitely try to help you express them better…

*To keep sth. in check = to keep sth. under control

**to bottle up = not to express feelings or emotions, especially if it makes you depressed or angry


Phrase Definition Example
To be thrilled to bits (mainly British informal) To be very happy and pleased I got thrilled to bits when I heard about the results of the test.
To have a whale of a time  To enjoy oneself very much We had a whale of a time in London.
To take a fancy to sb./sth. To start liking sb./sth. I took a fancy to singing when my friends told me I had a good voice.
To take a weight off one’s mind To enjoy a great relief They paid off the loan and took the wight off their mind.
To carry a torch for sb. To be in love with sb. secretly He’s been carrying a torch for her for years.
To be in seventh heaven To be extremely happy He’s in seventh heaven because his dream of a new car has come true.



Phrase Definition Example
To be bent out of shape (mainly American informal) to be angry or agitated I saw him bent out of shape because he had no money as usual.
To be bored to tears/death To be extremely bored I always get bored to tears when I hear this professor’s explanations.
To be in a black mood To be in a very bad mood Why are you in a black mood? Life is beautiful.
To be at one’s wits’ end To be confused/at a loss I’m at my wits’ end because I’ve never faced this problem before.
To bear (bore; born) / take the brunt of sth. If you bear the brunt of sth., you suffer the most when sth. bad happens When the compay went bankrupt, the management had to bear the brunt.
To be in a stew To be very worried I’m in a stew because I don’t know where Sally is.

Perhaps, there are as many idioms about emotions as there are emotions. Any language is rich in them and of course English is no exception.

Let’s watch 2 music videos to learn more:

Destiny’s Child – Emotions

See the lyrics here.

Useful vocabulary from the song:

  • To cling to sb. – to hold onto sb. tightly
  • I cry me a river = I suffer a lot (in the context of the song this expression doesn’t sound sarcastic. But usually it does. Cry me a river is usually said to someone who complains or whines a lot but their listener is not sympathetic (e.g. Cry me a river, but I still won’t tell you where the candies are)
  • To fall apart – to become emotionally disturbed
  • Emotions take me over = emotions gain control over me
  • Caught up in sorrow = feeling great sorrow

Mariah Carey – Emotions

See the lyrics here.

Useful vocabulary from the song:

  • You’ve got me feeling (sth.) = I feel (sth.) because of you
  • You are the first thing on my mind = you are the first thing I think about
  • I don’t know if you’re for real = I am so happy to have you that I don’t believe it’s all real
  • I feel high = I feel extremely happy, euphoric [juː’fɔrɪk] (being high is usually associated with being high on drink or drugs. Of course, it’s often used to describe happiness, just like in the song. But basically, saying that we are high, we compare our good feelings to the ones of intoxicated people. In other words, if you are high, you might feel like you are intoxicated by love, success etc.)

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