When you meet family and friends, even strangers at times, they will ask about your well being. It’s a polite thing to do. When talking about your well being, you may not only discuss your physical condition, but also your emotional state of mind. There are hundreds of words that are used to describe or identify emotional states. Look at some of the more common ones below.

happy elated sad gloomy depressed
down angry peeved embarrassed excited
anxious bored content unsatisfied satisfied
shocked nervous scared frightened over-whelmed
flustered quiet shy demure moody
cheerful bold passive offensive aggressive



At times we all get upset or angry at someone or something. It’s only human. If you happen to interact with someone that appears upset there are a number of expressions that can be used to ask the person what the problem is. Look at the examples below.


English Expressions



What’s wrong with you?   I’m very upset with you for not telling me mom was sick.
Are you OK?   No, I’m really ticked off that you dated my girlfriend.
What’s the problem?   I’m fit to be tied. How could you approve the Jameson

account without my approval?

You look upset. Is any thing wrong?   Yes, I’m really annoyed that you did not come to my

party. party.

Sometimes when people are upset they say and do things that they later regret. The polite thing to do in those situations is to apologize for your behavior. Apologies are appropriate not only for things you may have said or done to offend others, but also for things that may happen that are out of your control or things that happened by accident. Look at the expressions below that can be used in those situations.

English Expressions


Please forgive me, ( … I didn’t mean to imply that you

were stupid).

  No problem.
I apologize for ( …calling your father fat).   That’s OK, I forgive you.
Will you ever forgive me?   Of course I forgive you.
I’m so sorry ( … I spilt the milk on your new carpet).   Don’t  worry about it.
I’m sorry for ( … being late).   Think nothing of it.

English Dialogue

Students should work together in pairs and read the following dialogue, one student reading one part, the other student reading the other. Note the expressions used in the dialogue and the progression of the conversation. The dialogue can be used as a model to have similar conversations.

Kevin: How’s your new job going Gertrude?

Gertrude: Well, it could be better.

Kevin: Why, what’s the problem?

Gertrude: One of my subordinates isn’t very nice. He seems to think that he should have got the job instead of

me so he has a big chip on his shoulder. How are things in your life?

Kevin: Couldn’t be better. My wife Mary just got a promotion, our daughter was accepted into Harvard, and I just

made a killing in the stock market.

Gertrude: That’s great.


After reading, close your book and tell your partner a summary of the dialogue. Then switch and have your partner tell his or her summary. Start like this: This dialogue is about two people who meet…This may seem silly, since you both already know what the dialogue is about, but the purpose is to practice using your English, not to give information or test your reading skills.

Conversation Activities

1. Pair work- discussion

     When did you last experience some of the emotions listed above? Tell your partner about it, using some of the

ideas for discussion below. Your partner should ask questions to get more information.

  • when it was
  • where it was
  • who you were with
  • what caused you to feel that way
  • what you did to overcome that feeling (if it was a negative feeling)

2. Pair work- discussion

     Have you done something recently that you regretted and later apologized for? Tell your partner about it, using

some of the ideas for discussion below. Your partner should ask questions to get more information.

  • when and where it was
  • what did you do
  • who was involved
  • why you regretted it
  • what you did or said to apologize
  • was your apology accepted

3. Pair work- Role Play 

     The situation: The three emotions below

Working with a partner, role play the situation, using the information below


     The roles: See below



A. Anger  You are a college student and your partner is your parent. You

want to go to the beach for a one week vacation with some


Your parents are adamant that you stay home and study English.

Student’s ideas   

Parent’s ideas

need a break need to be fluent if going to study abroad
have not had a vacation in 5 years need to get very high scores on English

proficiency tests

got A’s in English last semester so don’t need

to study

afraid you might get in trouble if
your friend will pay for everything don’t like the people you are going with (they

are bad influences)

need to recharge your batteries so you will not

burn out

you can’t swim and are afraid you will drown
have worked hard all semester and

deserve a reward

B. Fear  You are afraid of heights and your partner is trying to convince you to look over the edge

of the Grand Canyon.

Person 1 ideas   

Person 2 ideas

you will fall over the edge and    die the railing will protect you
you can see well enough  where you are you should over come your phobia
you will have nightmares if you  look you will regret it forever if you don’t look
you will buy a post card for the memory young children will laugh at you and make

fun of you

you will get sick and throw up if you look over

the edge

don’t be a chicken


C. Greed  You are an eight year old child and your partner is your friend. You are at a candy

store and you have lots of money, but your friend has none. You buy a big bag of

candy, but refuse to

share with your friend

   Child 1 ideas

Child 2 ideas

you bought it, so you will eat it all if he/she doesn’t share, you won’t like your

friend anymore

you are very hungry you are very hungry too
if you share, your friend will get fat your friend will get fat
if you share, it will ruin your friend’s teeth will ruin your friend’s teeth
your friend didn’t share her ice cream the day


you will tell his or her mommy
  will tell all their friends that she or he is

greedy and mean