How to Express Anger Using Phrasal Verbs

Do you wish to enhance your English conversation skills? Let’s have more lessons on phrasal verbs

Remember that phrasal verbs are often used in daily English conversations. These are expressions that include a VERB followed by a PREPOSITION. We already know that verbs are action words. But when they are paired with prepositions, the meaning of the phrase/s will also change. The key here is to look at the prepositions because it determines the meaning of the phrase. Prepositions are: to, up, in, down, on, into, etc.

Let us have the verb “Take” as our example. If you say:

  • Take in.
  • Take out.
  • Take off.
  • Take up.
  • Take upon

Each of the phrases has a different meaning because of the preposition attached to the verb “take”.

Now, we will look at common phrasal verbs that express anger.

Express the cause of anger

1. gets to (person)

  • “A child’s loud crying gets to me.”
  • “How about you, what gets to you?”

2. winds (person) up

  • “I don’t like lazy people. They wind me up.”

3. ticks (person) off

  • “People who are always late tick her off.” 

4. works (person) up

  • “I don’t clean up my room. It works my mother up all the time.”

Notice that you can use anybody for (person) in the sentence, including yourself.

So now, it’s your turn to practice these phrasal verbs. What winds you up? What ticks you off? What works you up?

Express the result of anger.

The following are phrasal verbs or idioms that show what a person does when already angry. These are reactions or behaviors that you’ll see after a person has become mad. 

When you’re already angry, your face may become all red, you scream, say bad words, walk out, throw things on the wall, or punch something. So, these four items mean the same.

1. blow up

  • “When I’m furious, I blow up.”
  • “Children blow up when they are upset about something.”

2. lash out at (person)

This phrase mainly means to ‘strike out at’ or ‘shout at’ someone.

  • “The manager lashed out at his office staff because their sales reports were late.”

3. fly into a rage

  • “My brother flew into a rage when his girlfriend broke up with him yesterday.”
  • “I’m pretty sure my Uncle will fly into a rage when he finds out about his phone being stolen.”

4. freak out

  • “Things like that really freak me out.”
  • “The farmer freaked out this morning when he saw that the rats ate all his carrots.”

From our examples, you can see that these phrasal verbs are used when describing someone who is very mad, upset, or angry.

Let us hope that when someone is angry, they will also calm down. “Calm down” is another phrasal verb. This verb means to relax or cool down.

So, go ahead and have fun practicing these “anger” expressions with your LingualBox teacher. Knowing these will help widen your English vocabulary as these phrases come up a lot when you watch movies and TV shows.

I have a passion for the English language because it is such a powerful tool for creativity and personal development. I've been writing articles since I was in High School. I represented my school in English writing competitions in the city, regional, and national levels. When I was in college, I wrote a short story which was published in the University Literary Portfolio. In 2006, I worked as a call center agent in Cebu City. In 2007 up to 2008, I worked as an English accent trainer in a startup call center company. I have also been offering ESL lessons as a freelance tutor since February 2016.