In this episode, we’re going to discuss how we can talk about emotions, moods and strong desires in our Talking about Feelings mini-series as part of Vocabulary and Speaking premium episodes.

Audio Episode

Lesson Highlights

Positive feelings, moods and states

  • Everyone seemed to be in high spirits. [lively, enjoying things]
  • She seems to be keeping her chin up. [happy despite bad things]
  • Jo’s as happy as can be. [extremely content]

Negative feelings, moods and states

  • He had a long face. [looked depressed/sad]
  • Zac is in a bad mood. [a bad mood/temper]
  • Martin was like a bear with a sore head. [extremely irritable]

Physical feelings and states

  • I’m feeling done in. [exhausted]
  • You’re looking a bit under the weather. [not very well / ill]
  • She looked, and felt, on top form. [in good physical condition]
  • I suddenly felt my head was spinning. [unable to balance, feel as if you will fall over]


  • She was scared stiff. [very scared]
  • She frightened the life out of him. [frightened him a lot]
  • We were all shaking in our boots/shoes. [trembling with fear]
  • The poor lad was scared out of his wits. [very scared indeed]
  • I jumped out of my skin when I heard the bang. [gave a big jump]

Other expressions for actions and feelings


Don’t get carried away by promises not kept. Keep a cool head and take everything as it comes. On the work front, things are looking up.

  • Get carried away: get too excited
  • Keep a cool head: stay calm
  • Take everything as it comes: deal calmly with events as they happen
  • Things are looking up: improving


If someone says something that makes you swell with pride and feel on top of the world, enjoy the moment.

  • Makes you swell with pride: fee proud/ very pleased because of something good that you did
  • On top of the world: very happy indeed

Strong desires

Pregnant women crave / have a craving for strange things like tuna and banana pizza! [want very strongly]

Young children often seem to thirst / have a thirst for knowledge. [feel very strongly that you want]

Sometimes my cousin just yearns to be on her own with no family responsibilities. [if you yearn to do / yearn for / have a yearning for something, it means that you want something that you do not have and, often, can never have]

An Olympic gold medal is probably the most coveted sporting prize. [to covet something means to want to possess it very much]

Reacting to other people’s emotions

Johnny tried to defuse the tension by changing the subject. [make a dangerous or tense situation calmer]

Tim was very angry with his daughter and it took her a long time to placate him. [stop someone feeling angry]

An independent advisor has been brought in to conciliate between the unions and the employer. [end a disagreement between two people or groups by acting in a friendly way towards both sides; formal]

Although appeasing the enemy postponed the war for another year, it did not ultimately prevent it from happening. [end a disagreement by giving the other side an advantage that they are demanding (normally used in a disapproving way); formal]

Lesson Practice

Talking about Feelings 3 Quiz 

Level: Intermediate - Upper-Intermediate
Quiz time: about 5 minutes


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<a href="" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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