Well hey there! I'm Emma from mmmEnglish
and in this lesson today, I'm going to help you to break
some bad habits. Hopefully we can stop you from being
a little lazy at times with your word choice. There are so many
interesting and intelligent ways
of expressing your ideas in English.
In fact, we're going to take a lot of these kind of dull
boring English words and replace them with better ones.
More colourful, more impressive language.
We're going to be focused on expanding your vocabulary
and as always, I've got a mini quiz for you at the end
of this video to make sure that all these exciting new words
actually stick in your mind and become part of your regular
So hang around till the end and test what you know.
So we all have bad habits, don't we? And we tend to get stuck
in those bad habits because
they just become familiar and really easy.
So many of my students get stuck in the habit of using
basic vocabulary because it's easy
and yeah you can communicate your message with
basic English vocabulary right and that's awesome
but there's gonna come a time when either you notice or
other people around you start to notice that actually
you're just using the same words on repeat again and again.
To be interesting, to impress and influence people,
you've got to keep expanding your vocabulary and it's not
just the vocabulary that you understand. It's the vocabulary that
comes to you instantly as you're using it
as you're speaking, as you're writing so we want to activate
that broader vocabulary today.
And one surefire way to expand your vocabulary
and sound more impressive as you use English is to use
better adjectives, better descriptive words in your sentences.
And you can train yourself to stop using
really dull and boring adjectives just by avoiding one little word
Very happy, very good, very bad.
And a little hint. Some other words that you might be using with
dull adjectives are words like so,
such and really.
And the cool thing is, this one simple rule will help you to become
more conscious and more aware of the words that you choose
when you speak and this is really important because
using very regularly is a habit that you need to break.
So then I said he was very…
Maybe it's too late to fix it in that moment but
you will be more likely to remember next time and to change
the words that you're using and that's really what being conscious
of your mistakes means. Being aware that it's happening
and this will help you to change your behaviour.
If you practise this skill while you're writing, you have the
opportunity to think of a better word in that moment or even
look one up and grow the vocabulary that you're using that way.
So let's start with very happy.
Now there's lots of different ways to express this idea in English,
If we look at some examples we should be able to make it
a little clearer when to use each one.
She just found out she's pregnant. She's very happy.
We can add more meaning by saying:
She's overjoyed. She's full of happiness and joy.
We could say that she's thrilled especially if she's really happy
We can say she's ecstatic or she's elated
and that's even stronger again. That's joyful excitement
you know, an overwhelming feeling of happiness
in a really positive way.
So if you want to add even more meaning,
choose one of those two.
There are so many better and more meaningful ways to say
that you're very sad and I think this lesson is gonna be like
a roller coaster it's gonna be full of highs and lows.
Happy, sad, good, bad but we're just gonna ride it out okay?
The truth is we can be sad for lots of different reasons
and we can be sad in lots of different ways.
So as you start expanding your vocabulary,
you really need to become more aware of the little
nuances between words like heartbroken, devastated,
disappointed and dejected.
Because all of them are more meaningful ways to talk about
that feeling of being very sad.
His girlfriend just left him.
He's very sad.
So in this context, she left him means that she broke up with him.
So he's probably heartbroken
and heartbroken is the perfect adjective to use when
love is involved in sadness.
You could also say that he's devastated too, especially if he
wasn't expecting it you know, and it was a bit of a shock.
So when you have sadness together with shock and surprise,
these emotions together, devastated is a really good choice.
Let's look at a different example.
Sara looked very sad. She'd been so confident
she would win the competition, but then she came fifth.
She looked disappointed. She's unhappy because she wasn't
as good as she thought she'd be.
But you could also say that
Sarah looks dejected.
Using dejected suggests that in that moment, she's lost hope that
she'll ever compete again. It's that sad, she's just lost all hope.
There are several other really great words that you can say
if you're very sad. You might use ashamed,
I mean you're gonna have so much fun with a thesaurus
but the trick with these new words is studying how they're used,
making sure that you're using them accurately with the
appropriate verbs and prepositions that they often get used with.
And the second thing you need to be aware of is the context
in which they're used because those nuanced meanings
are ever so slightly different and makes one more appropriate
to use in one situation while another perhaps not.
A great way to practise this is to write sentences using
these words down in the comments below
so that I can check them for you,
help you to choose the right one for the right context
and that sentence when you're practising with this activity,
it can be really simple. It can just be he or she looked
with that adjective
because and then include a short description of the situation.
He looked devastated because
he lost the competition.
Stop saying very good, there are so many other
better ways of saying very good in English.
Very good should be banned because instead we can say
and awesome. Did I say awesome already?
All these words are so similar, you can use them in almost
That's a very good idea.
That's a marvellous idea.
That's an excellent idea.
I thought your performance was very good.
Your performance was exceptional.
Your performance was amazing.
It was a splendid performance.
Okay brace yourself. We're going down again,
we're gonna think of some alternatives for very bad.
Can you think of any because there are lots of them.
I'm sure some are popping into your mind already.
Can you hear that stressed syllable in those words
when I pronounce it? I'm exaggerating the stressed syllable
to add emphasis and even more meaning.
You can do that with all adjectives whether they're
positive or negative adjectives to add even more meaning.
It tasted very bad.
It tasted awful! Yuck!
It tasted disgusting!
Disgusting can be used when food tastes really bad or
when something smells really bad.
That smells disgusting!
The weather's been very bad lately.
The weather's been terrible lately.
It's been dreadful!
If you're talking about someone's behaviour and you're saying that
they behaved very badly, you might say that their
behaviour was atrocious. His behaviour was atrocious.
I love that word, atrocious.
There's not a lot of things in the world that are atrocious
but it is a very good adjective to use
when you're saying that something is very bad.
The weather was atrocious.
You have to be careful about how you use these negative
adjectives because they have a really strong meaning
and they can be offensive, especially if you're using them
to talk about a person or something that they do
or something that they care about, that can hurt.
Can you think of any other ways to say very bad?
This is a really good activity to practise,
to activate words that you don't use so often.
So if you can think of some other ways to say very bad
add them down in the comments below.
If you catch yourself talking about something that is very big
then you can replace this kind of average adjective with a more
sophisticated one like huge, obviously,
gigantic and monstrous.
We walked through a very big gate at the entrance.
It was an enormous gate.
The gate that we walked through was massive.
Gigantic and monstrous are very, very big - exceptionally large.
Some of the ships that pull in and out of the port
near my house are monstrous.
When I'm walking past these gigantic ships,
I feel very small.
Can you think of a better way to say very small?
Paul was quite angry about the damage even though the scratch
on his car was very small.
It was tiny,
We could hardly see it.
The chances of losing all our money are very small.
The chances are minimal.
Let's keep going. What can you think of that's very dirty?
your dog after it's rolled in dirt.
Don't let that dog inside, it's very dirty!
Filthy is a great word for very dirty.
Your bedroom is filthy.
If you're talking about a room or maybe a car
that is very clean,
you could say it was spotless or
not a single thing was out of place.
We were so impressed when we got home,
the house was very clean.
The house was spotless.
It was immaculate.
They must have spent hours cleaning it.
And we can definitely improve on very pretty, can't we?
And I'm sure, absolutely certain that you have at least one
alternative in mind.
Hopefully, it was beautiful but we can also use stunning,
elegant or even exquisite.
She looked very pretty as she came down the stairs
in a blue dress.
She looked stunning as she came down the stairs.
And lastly, as we come off the high of very pretty
of course we need to have very ugly right.
So instead of very ugly, you could say hideous.
So it's not heidis which is a common mistake
that I often hear my students make. It's hideous.
And you can also say grotesque.
Now obviously, I don't need to remind you again but
I feel like I have to, these adjectives are extremely strong
and negative so please don't use them to describe people.
Some of the big houses up on the hill
are very ugly. They're grotesque.
Their driveways are lined with very ugly statues.
The statues are hideous.
Just because people have lots of money, doesn't mean
they have good taste, right?
Grotesque houses and hideous statues.
Okay so it's time to test everything you know
with a little quiz, I'm going to read out a sentence
and you need to improve the words
that are highlighted in the sentence.
There might be more than one option that you can choose from
so that makes it a little bit easier
but I'm going to go through them quite quickly because I want to
test your recall, I want to test how quickly are these new words
popping into your head all right?
So we're going for speed this time.
Usually your car's full of rubbish, but today it's very clean!
Today it's spotless. Today it's immaculate.
A very ugly monster emerged from the cave.
A hideous monster.
A grotesque monster.
Have you seen her engagement ring? It's very pretty.
We were very sad to hear the fire destroyed their family home.
We were devastated to hear that.
They're getting married this afternoon but unfortunately,
the weather looks very bad!
The weather looks awful.
Look at the queue of people waiting to get in, it's very big!
The queue is massive.
It rained the entire weekend we were away camping,
so when we got home on Sunday, everything was very dirty.
Everything was filthy.
They suggested we meet them in France which,
I thought, was a very good idea!
Was a marvellous idea.
An excellent idea.
An exceptional idea.
A splendid idea.
John and Kate were very happy when they found out they
won the grand prize!
John and Kate were overjoyed.
They were thrilled.
They were ecstatic.
They were elated.
Let me know how you went with the quiz down in the comments
below. If there are a couple of words that you got wrong or
maybe they took you a little while to think of,
hit the pause button now and practise writing a few more
sentences like these down in the comments below.
Another really great way of practising these adjectives is if you
have a speaking partner that you practise speaking
English with regularly
or maybe you have a tutor or someone else you meet up with
ask them to listen out for very. Every time you use very
when you're speaking, ask them to stop you
and let you know that you've used very and give you the chance
to think of a better word to describe
that situation or that thing.
There is no better way to improve your vocabulary
and the way that you're using it than to stop in that moment
and get you to self-correct, correct that or improve
that adjective as you're using it.
I hope that you enjoyed this lesson. If you did, make sure you
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I make new mmmEnglish lessons every week.
In fact, here's a couple that I prepared earlier.
I'll see you inside the next one.
Bye for now!