How to express happiness in English

How to express happiness in English

by Andrea Byaruhanga

Updated November 10, 2022

What do you say when you’re happy? Like, really happy? If your answer is, “I’m happy,” keep reading! With so many descriptive words in the English language, there’s sure to be a more interesting and informative way to talk about your positive emotions. Let’s have a look at a few different ways you can express your happiness: for yourself and for others.

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English adjectives to express happiness

Let’s start with the basics . . . some good, strong adjectives! 

The structure here is: Subject + be + adjective

When you’re using an adjective, the word form won’t change. While the subject and the “be” verb can vary, the adjective will always stay the same. 

The following adjectives all convey feelings of happiness with slight differences. 

  • Chuffed (U.K. – informal) – Very pleased

“Her aunt sent her a lovely birthday gift – she’s chuffed!” (present simple)

  • Ecstatic – Very happy or excited

“She was ecstatic when she learned she was pregnant.” (past simple)

  • Stoked (U.S. – informal) – Extremely excited 

“Everyone is stoked about the camping trip next weekend!” (present simple)

  • Overjoyed – Filled with happiness

“If they offer me the promotion at work, I will be overjoyed!” (future simple)

English idioms to express happiness

As you may know, an idiom is a group of words that, together, create a new meaning that’s different from the meaning of each separate word.  

Although they sometimes seem like nonsense, these phrases can be a fantastic way to express your feelings specifically and accurately.

Idioms beginning with a preposition

Idioms that begin with prepositions – like onover, or in, – can be used in basically the same way as the adjectives described above. While the subject and the tense of the “be” verb can change, the idiom itself will stay the same. 

Their structure looks like this: subject + be + idiom

The following idioms all have more or less the same meaning, as well; they express a feeling of extreme happiness. 

  • On cloud nine 

“We have a brand new apartment downtown – I’m on cloud nine!” (present simple)

  • Over the moon

“When my friend found out she was getting her dream job, she was over the moon!” (past simple)

  • On top of the world

“Whenever I finish a good workout, I’m on top of the world.” (present simple)

  • In seventh heaven

“Try some of the cake my mom made: You’ll be in seventh heaven!” (future simple)

What did you notice about the above idioms? Well, they’re all about being very high up! The idea of happiness is often connected with rising high above the world.

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Idioms beginning with a verb

This next set of idioms is a little different: They contain verbs, so their structure can change depending on the subject and the time of the action.

  • Grin from ear to ear – To smile widely 

“You look like you have some good news – you’re grinning from ear to ear!” (present continuous)

  • Jump for joy – To be very happy or excited about something 

“When I finally see my boyfriend after two months apart, I’ll jump for joy!” (future simple)

  • Have the time of (one’s) life – To have an extremely fun or exciting time

“I wish you’d come on vacation with us! We had the time of our lives!” (past simple)

English expressions to show happiness for others

When someone shares good news with you, it’s important to respond correctly. If you don’t have the right words, it might seem like you’re not happy or excited – you might even appear a bit rude.

Well, don’t worry! Here are some expressions to help you show happiness or excitement for others!

  • Wow

“Wow! You got a perfect score on your maths exam!”

  • Amazing

“You were selected to make a speech at your graduation ceremony? That’s amazing!”

  • Great

“It’s great that you’re finally getting a new car. You deserve it!”

  • Fantastic

“You’re moving? Fantastic! I can’t wait to see your new house!”

  • I’m so excited for you

“I heard you’re quitting your job to become a singer. I’m so excited for you!”

Better than happy

Next time you’re feeling good, think beyond “happy.” Try some of the expressions above to add more meaning to your conversations!

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Andrea is a Canadian freelance writer and editor specializing in English, e-learning, EdTech, and SaaS. She has a background as an ESL teacher in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. In her free time, Andrea loves hanging out with her husband and son, creating recipes in the kitchen, and reading fiction. She also loves camping and jumping into lakes whenever possible. Learn more about Andrea on LinkedIn or check out her website.

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