Negative Emotions in English 😒😑 Expressions, Body Language & Tone

Lesson Overview

Lesson Summary 

How can you communicate negative emotions in English?
I’ll take you through 13 English expressions to help you express disappointment, disinterest, annoyance and frustration! Show that you are NOT IMPRESSED:

  • (to be) not happy
  • Are you serious?
  • Really?
  • Come on…
  • Not again…
  • Unbelievable
  • Are you kidding me?
  • You’ve got to be kidding me
  • Give me a break
  • I’ve had it!
  • I’m fed up!
  • Forget it

Video Transcript
Section 1
Well hey there I’m Emma from mmmEnglish! I’ve got some awesome English expressions to share with you today and all of them relate to a very specific emotion.

This is an unimpressed face, right? Do you know that feeling?

Unimpressed is when you don’t respect or you don’t admire something or someone, maybe you’re not interested in them. That is when we have this emotion, where you’re unimpressed.

And broadly there are three different categories for this feeling:
– when you’re bored because you’re not really interested in what’s going on;
– when your expectations haven’t been met so you’re a bit disappointed in the result or the outcome
– And the third is that you’ve wasted time or you’ve wasted effort right so you have this feeling of being annoyed about something

Now obviously none of those things are positive, right? But we are gonna have some fun with the English phrases that I’m gonna share today. They are full of emotion and expression.

So it’s really not just about the words that you’re going to learn but it’s about how you say them you know, you’re saying it with feeling. Even more powerful with this emotion is your tone of voice and your facial expression or your body language.

So get ready to be expressive with me. Let’s get started!

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So we need some fuel for this lesson, something to help get you in the mood, in the zone. I need you to think about a time when you felt really unimpressed by something or even by someone.

Maybe you went to a restaurant that all of your friends were raving about. They were saying it’s so good but when you went, it took ages for your food to come out and when it did come out, it was cold. So you expected it to be awesome but it wasn’t.

Or perhaps you’ve just walked in the door after a long busy day at work and your kids have pulled out every toy that they own and the house is a complete mess.

So have you got an example that you can use to practise with this lesson? I want you to share it with me in the comments, I’m really curious to hear. What it is that does not impress you, hold on to that feeling, I want you to use it throughout these expressions that we’re practising today.

Obviously, when you’re unimpressed about something, you’re unhappy, right? It’s a negative emotion.

1. (to be) not happy about (something)

You’re not happy about something. And this sounds like a really simple phrase, doesn’t it? But when it’s used with the right tone, it can be really powerful.

  • I’m not happy about this.

So this can be used in all sorts of situations but if someone’s patience has been pushed a little too far and they’re getting upset, obviously not happy, which you know you can absolutely use unhappy in the same way.

  • I’d avoid talking to the boss this morning, she’s quite unhappy about this month’s sales.

Or you could say:

  • She’s unimpressed with our team’s performance.

Now describing someone as unhappy or unimpressed these are really polite ways to say that you’re upset, you’re disappointed and so for this reason, it’s a really appropriate phrase to use at work, right? It’s one that is not too rude, it’s very neutral but it helps you to express disappointment or frustration.

But now that we’ve got that simple, polite version out of the way, it’s time to move on to some more expressive ways to show that you’re not impressed.

2. Are you serious?

Let’s use the example of a parent coming home after a long day of work and the house is a pigsty. It’s a mess. It’s annoying right, you’d be really unimpressed with your kid’s choices and behaviour, right? So you might open the door and say: Seriously?

Be careful with the tone that you use there because it’s not really a question.

Are you serious?

With that upward intonation, this sounds like I want to know the answer. I don’t okay, I’m not really asking a question. When you’re unimpressed, your tone should be much flatter.

Are you serious? Seriously?

  • You borrow my car and return it with an empty fuel tank… Seriously?

3. Really?

This is used in the same way, exactly the same way. And again, the tone is really key here because if you ask the question, you use that wandering tone. Really?

Well it sounds like a question then right but if you say: Really?

And you use this facial expression to help you, it shows that you’re annoyed or you’re unimpressed, right? Really?

In fact, it’s actually quite common when you’re unimpressed about something to use a question. Almost just to check what’s really happening, like you’ve actually got to find is this for real? Really?

  • I spend eight hours at work and then come home to this mess?! Really?

4. Come on…

Now I’m not saying ‘come on’ as in let’s go, come with me. I’m saying ‘Come on’ as in I’m so tired of this situation, I’m sick of it. You know, I’m adding lots of extra emphasis as well to drag out the word. When you say it like that, it really shows that you’re frustrated and you’re annoyed.

So I’m late for a meeting, I just turned on the car and realised that my fuel tank is completely empty.

  • Come on! Not again…

5. Not again…

It’s good to use a groan of complaint with this expression and say can be used when the same annoying thing keeps happening again and again and again. You’re really unimpressed about it, right? It’s the same problem that keeps happening.

  • Not again. The car won’t start for the third time this week.

So you can also use this same expression with some of the last ones as well. You can say:

  • Come on, not again!
  • Not again… Are you serious?

So these expressions: seriously, come on, not again, they’re all really informal slang expressions right and they’re often used by young people especially when they’re complaining.

6. Unbelievable

So a more formal or mature way, perhaps to express the same idea is to use ‘unbelievable. And again, tone and body language are so important to help you explain that you’re not using this word in a positive way right? Unbelievable.

So see how I’m shaking my head slowly? That’s a clue, keeping the tone flat.

  • Did he arrive at work late again? Unbelievable.

7. I can’t believe it!

You can also say: I can’t believe it!

  • He knows how important this meeting is and he slept in! I can’t believe it…

8. Are you kidding me?

I’m completely unimpressed about what’s happening now right. Maybe I’m even a little annoyed or angry.

So if someone calls you, wakes you up in the middle of the night for something really silly like to tell you to watch some movie or something like that.

  • You’re calling me at 3am! Are you kidding me?

So this expression is really helpful when you’re directing your frustration at someone. Are you kidding me?

9. You’ve got to be kidding me!

But you can also use a similar expression to talk more generally about a situation that you’re annoyed about. You can say:

You’ve got to be kidding me!

Can you hear which words are stressed there? You’ve got to be kidding me.

Say it with me.

  • You’ve got to be kidding me.

Imagine you drive all the way across town to go to a meeting and when you get there, you realise that you read your calendar wrong the meeting is actually tomorrow.

  • You’ve got to be kidding me.

You wish that it wasn’t true, you wish that it was a joke but you know that it’s not.

10. Give me a break!

You know when someone’s asked you to do something or something that you think is a bit unreasonable then this expression is really useful to show them that you’re unimpressed right.

If your teenage son said to you “You never let me go anywhere!”
and you’re like:

  • Give me a break! You go to your friend’s house every weekend.

And you can actually use it just on its own without explanation, just say ‘Give me a break’ just to show that you think that what they’re saying is unreasonable.

Imagine that someone who works for you asks for a pay rise and you think: You got a pay rise three months ago and you haven’t met any of your targets yet. It’s kind of a bit annoying that you’re even asking.

So you might think to yourself: Give me a break! I just gave you a pay rise.

Notice that I said ‘think’ not ‘say’ right? It’s not polite or professional to say ‘Give me a break’ to someone that you work with, right? Unless you really want to show them that you’re annoyed, you’re unimpressed by their behaviour.

11. I’ve had it!

You can also say: I’ve had it! It’s like saying ‘I’ve had enough’ which is also quite a good expression to use when you’ve reached the end of your patients right but this is shorter and it’s more final, right?

  • It’s serious, I’ve had it! I’m done!

I’ve had it (with something)

But you can also make it a bit more specific by saying ‘I’ve had it with’ something.

  • I’ve had it with my boss.
  • I’ve had it with this messy house.
  • I’ve had it with your bad attitude!

I’m tired of it! It’s bothering me. I don’t want to deal with it anymore. It’s very final.

12. I’m fed up (with something)

It’s very final. Another similar expression is to say ‘I’m fed up’ or ‘I’m fed up with something’. You know when you’re really tired of something, so tired of it that it’s starting to annoy you. You’re really unimpressed by someone’s behaviour or by a situation.

  • I’m fed up with waiting in this queue. Let’s leave.

13. Forget it!

So when you’re really unimpressed, you’re really frustrated, you want to make sure that it’s known to everyone else around you, you’ll say ‘Forget it!’

All right, you’re mad now. Whatever it is you’re doing or whatever it is you need from someone, you don’t care anymore. Forget it, don’t worry about it.

If a friend has ever forgotten to pick you up from the airport and you ask them to and you’re waiting for an hour or so and then they finally call

  • Sorry, I was at the shops.
    Forget it! I’ll just take a taxi.

Now actually a more polite way to say that especially if you’re talking to a friend is to say:

  • Don’t worry! Don’t worry about it. I’ll just take a taxi, it’ll be fine.

But if you want them to know that you’re annoyed or you’re really unimpressed by that situation. Forget it, I’ll take a taxi.

You’re showing your frustration.

  • If you can’t help me do it, forget it! I’ll do it myself.

So they were a few common expressions and phrases to help you express yourself when you’re unimpressed, when you’re not happy and you’re disappointed.

So like I said, lots of these expressions are considered to be quite rude if you use them directly to the person who’s not impressing you. But they do make for really great storytelling and explanations when you’re talking about daily frustrations right with your friends and your family. They help you express yourself in really entertaining ways.

Now your last task before you finish this lesson is to pause and write a short paragraph about a time when you were not at all impressed.

So take the opportunity to use some of the expressions that we shared in this video and I’m going to come down and check your responses down below to make sure you’re using those expressions accurately, correctly.

And when you are ready, head straight on over to this lesson right here. We’re going to do some pronunciation and speaking practice together. I’ll see you in there!

Links mentioned in the video

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