Language Tips

surprise someone

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 verbs and phrases that mean to make someone feel surprised:



surprise someone to make someone feel surprised:

  • Her angry tone of voice surprised us all.
  • What surprises me is that people still fall for these phishing scams.

take or catch someone by surprise to happen unexpectedly:

  • The storm caught them by surprise. 
  • The way the plot developed took me by surprise.

amaze someone to make someone feel very surprised:

  • She amazed everyone by beating the world’s number one player.
  • What amazes me is that the kids never seem to get tired.
  • It never ceases to amaze me what some people are willing to do to get on TV.

astonish someone to make someone feel extremely surprised:

  • It astonishes me that people continue to damage their health by smoking.

astound someone to make someone feel extremely surprised:

  • I was astounded by the beauty of the landscape.
  • It astounds me that you would take such a narrow-minded approach.

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

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Liz Potter

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