Anger

This is an extract from the Real Exam English podcast about anger. You can find links to the podcast here:

This is a surprisingly common topic in higher level English exams. You can be asked about what makes you angry, how you calm down, why certain things make other people angry, you might have to describe photos where people look angry or maybe write a letter of complaint where you were angry about something. So I´ve just said the word “angry” about 5 times, which as you know by now isn´t a good strategy in an exam situation. Luckily, today we have loads of super expressions to express anger so you can improve your vocabulary no-end. Remember you can access the transcripts for this episode on the Real Exam English website, Realexamenglish.com and if you would like to make a donation then you can do that there too.

Ok then, let´s plough ahead with the questions.

what do you do to calm down?

I don’t have any magical breathing techniques or something something like that, but maybe others do in terms of calming down. The thing that calms me down the most is I I feel like my my burning hot temper disappears quite quickly. The thing that really calms me down longer after that period is. Understanding why, or at least trying to understand why I’m annoyed or angry at the situation, especially if it’s a person really trying to understand why that person has done that and trying to, I suppose, have a little bit of empathy and also it’s a little bit sad, but it’s the reality. Also, just trying to. Attempt to understand that anger is a normal part of life. Sometimes you’re going to feel angry and just working as hard as you can to avoid those feelings and to to monitor and regulate your own I suppose emotions.

do you think the pace of life today makes it more likely for people to lose their temper?

I don’t necessarily think the pace of life leads people to lose their temper, although I don’t really have a good argument for that. But I definitely think the pace of life today puts people on edge a lot. I think we have a society or a working living culture.That is really go go go and we must perform at highest levels over time and we don’t really have that much downtime. We have access to emails at midnight. We have a phone and laptops at home. We don’t really have a switch off time like I believe we might have had in the past and I definitely think that puts us on edge a little bit more. Certainly with things like stress or anxiety. Whether that is connected to people losing their temper and anger probably is, I don’t think I’ve personally felt it myself.However, emotions are definitely more easily frayed.These days, due to the life that we all live.

Ok so here is our first bunch of expressions, all the way from Australia, great accent. The first expression was my burning hot temper, which of course if when you are really angry or furious. Then we heard about stress, which is a good word, anxiety which is an even better word and putting people on edge, which is even better still! These all have quite similar meanings really.

We then heard about downtime and switch off time which is time you have to relax and not think about your usual worries, like work, college, or whatever.

Lastly we heard about emotions being easily frayed which means easily upset. You often hear of frayed nerves too, which means you are feeling worried about something.

People say that getting angry can sometimes have a positive outcome. What’s your opnion?

Uhm, anger I believe is the cause of all sins. All bad things and, uh.Yeah, I don’t believe anything good comes from anger. Anger is not a good uh is not a good, uh trait. It’s not a good trait, it’s it’s not a good, uh.It’s not a good act, it’s it’s. It’s the cause of of everything bad, and it’s closely related with pride. 

Ok, so quite a short answer here, from the United States. Nevertheless, we heard the adjective bad being used twice and the adjective good five times. So, as with my introduction earlier this wouldn´t be a great answer in an exam as there isn´t any variety on offer for the examiner. Remember, the range of language you use is really important.

Why do you think some people lose their temper more often than others?

 I think cognitive dissonance is a real major cause of anger. So basically, your view of the world is not how the world actually is, and every time something reminds you of.That it angers you like.For me, the world is a much more charitable and friendly place, and when people aren’t charitable and friendly, that makes me angry, uhm?So I think that’s what it is. I think the more out of step with how the world actually functions you are there more angry you are with it.That’s my thought.

People say that getting angry can sometimes have a positive outcome. What’s your opinion?

You know what? I think it can. I think sometimes if you lose your temper enough to say the things that you haven’t said to someone before. It can clear the air. It can get a lot of your frustration out. It can explain. Your viewpoint to someone. It’s not necessarily the most.Useful way of explaining your frustration to someone, but sometimes you need to be angry to properly express a difficult subject.Also, I think.Repressing anger and not venting is super unhealthy. Uhm.Don’t not necessarily being angry at people, but you know like having a little mutter to yourself in the car. If someone drives in a way that annoys you, things like that you know don’t.Confront people with your anger. Just be angry to yourself. Get it out. Job done. Move on with your life.

Some nice advice there, from the East Midlands of England. In the first answer we heard this cool expression, out of step with how the world functions. If you are out of step it means you don´t have the same ideas or beliefs as other people, or you are ignorant of their beliefs. Like, the politician was totally out of step with the public, so nobody voted for him.

In the second answer we heard about clearing the air, which is where you remove the bad feelings with someone. For instance, the couple had a massive argument, but it cleared the air and now they are all luvvy-duvvy again.

On a similar note we heard about repressing anger which means keeping your anger inside, and venting, which is the opposite, letting your anger out.

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People say that getting angry can sometimes have a positive outcome. What’s your opinion?

I try not to get angry, but sometimes it has a positive outcome, but not very often. I think it’s better to try and Curb Your anger and deal with it with a tough situation in a different way you know, so it’s all about willpower, really.

What do you do to calm down?

Uh, well, usually I would walk away from the situation and just try and kind of take a breath and and you know or I’ll take a glass of water. Or if I’m really angry, I’ll go.For a walk.You know, I’m just clearing my mind trying to clear my head of the situation.

Nice New Zealand accent there. In the first answer we had this awesome expression to curb your anger. If you curb something you try to limit it, for example, the government have introduced new measures to curb drink driving.

In an earlier answer we heard about clearing the air and in this answer we heard about clearing my mind and clearing my head, which is what you try do when you calm down.

What do you do when you lose your temper?

So, so there I very rarely shout. Now I’m. I’m one of those people who has a cold anger, so I’ll just stop talking to you.

Or I’ll I’ll, I’ll kind of, you know, withdraw from from conversations with the person or communications with the person as much as possible without being impolite, but from the the degree of warmth that that I I I normally have with people you notice. If I’m annoyed ’cause it changes, that’s pretty much about it.

Is it always better to show your feelings rather than hide them?

That’s really tough question, because I think it depends on the situation and it also depends on the person. I think it’s important to show your feelings or to get your feelings out at some point, but it may not always be best to show it at the time that The thing is happening that’s making you emotional so you know some of that situational you know.

If you’re in an office and your boss has been terrible to you, you know you might not want to shout at them ’cause you may not have your job. After that, depending on how angry you get.

But at the same token, it is important to let those feelings out, so I think it’s always better To to express those feelings, but not necessarily at the moment that you’re feeling them.

Wo wo wo woooo, did you hear that connector, But at the same token, really nice. It´s actually more common to hear by the same token, and this is used when you are adding some more information, which is also true or maybe closely contrasting. An example would be, I´m not good at maths, and by the same token, I struggle with scientific equations.

Earlier in the answer we heard about a cold anger, which is where the speaker, who is from London by the way, said she just stops talking to the person she is angry with. This is a bit like the idiom to give someone the cold shoulder which means to ignore them or be deliberately cold towards them.

What things make you angry?

People being late or disorganized Or just go on and on about a problem or just don’t. Don’t listen to the solution or don’t want to hear of us and they they’re just happy talking about a problem that drives me mad.

Drives me mad, our last anger expression for today and a really useful one. Like, people who make noise early in the morning drive me mad, or people who throw litter on the street drive me mad. I´d love to know what drives you mad, in fact, I´ll put a post on Facebook and Instagram and would love it if you can comment on what makes you mad.

And…that´s all for today folks, hopefully it didn´t cause you any stress or anxiety listening to all of this anger chat. Make sure to get a bit of downtime now, then make a note of whichever super expressions you like best from today and try to reproduce them the next time you are speaking or writing in English. Ok peeps, have a good one! Trevor

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