Language Tips

Going fast or doing things fast

Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of language tips to accompany the Real Vocabulary theme we look at how you can expand your vocabulary in English by using different words and expressions instead of core vocabulary items.

This new set of language tips explores the words and phrases we use to describe movement. This week’s tip looks at adjectives that mean going fast or doing things fast:


  • Sally loves fast cars.
  • She’s a really fast runner.
  • I’m not as fast as Sam, but I’m faster than the others.
  • The cheetah is the fastest mammal on earth.
  • The fastest time was 4 minutes 32 seconds.

quick able to move quickly:

  • He’s surprisingly quick for such a big man.
  • He was quicker than me and he won hands down.
  • It was my second quickest time ever.

Quick is also used to talk about something such as a look, a smile or a question that is over in a short time:

  • Can I just ask a quick question?
  • Let’s have a quick break and then carry on with the meeting.

brisk moving or acting quickly and energetically:

  • We went for a brisk walk along the beach.

hurried done quickly because you do not have much time:

  • We made a hurried decision to continue the journey.

rapid happening, acting or moving quickly: used especially about change and development:

  • There’s been a rapid growth in sales of electric cars.
  • The technology has been developing at a rapid pace over the past few years.

swift moving quickly:

  • Muriel leaped to her feet and took two swift paces to the door.
  • He turned, and the swift movement made her jump.

Swift is fairly formal and is used mainly in written English.

Did you know that Macmillan Dictionary includes a full thesaurus? This page lists more ways to say ‘fast‘.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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