Language Tips


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 set of language tips explores the words and phrases we use to talk about feelings. This week’s tip looks at adjectives that describe situations in which you feel worried and unable to relax:

anxious an anxious time or situation is one that makes you feel worried:

  • We had a few anxious moments while the votes were being counted.
  • These are anxious times for Democrats.

tense making you feel nervous and not relaxed, because you do not know what is going to happen next:

  • There was a tense silence as everyone waited for his reaction.
  • The atmosphere in the courtroom was extremely tense.

stressful a stressful job or situation involves or causes you a lot of worry, especially because you have too much to do or too much to think about:

  • My new job is very stressful.
  • Stressful conditions may affect people’s memory.

nerve-wracking or nerve-racking making you feel extremely nervous or worried:

  • a nerve-wracking few days that have seen billions wiped off the value of shares

Nouns frequently used with anxious: day,  hour,  moment,  time,  times,  wait,  week

Nouns frequently used with tense: atmosphere,  finish,  moment,  negotiations,  period,  silence,  situation,  stand-off

Nouns frequently used with stressful: day,  event,  experience,  job,  situation,  time,  week

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

More language tips

Browse the list under the ‘language tips‘ tag here on the blog for more useful language tips.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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