Expressing Surprise in English

Do you feel like you lack words when expressing surprise in English? Well, here is a list of 18 commonly used phrases and expressions to help you do that.

You don’t say!
  • “Our cat ate a lizard.” “You don’t say! Is she all right?”
Get out (of here)
  • “Have you heard that a woman in Australia gave birth to six?” “Get out! It’s a lot of babies, isn’t it?”

Expressing surprise in English

You are joking/you must be joking
  • “It may be hard to believe but I am 45 years old.” “You must be joking! You look at least ten years younger!”
For real
  • “Julia stopped smoking!” “For real?”
How extraordinary!
  • “My parents have never had a fight for over 30 years of marriage.” “How extraordinary!”

Expressing surprise in English

  • “Can you believe that Mark and I are related? His grandpa and my grandpa were cousins. ” “Imagine. How come you didn’t know it?”
I can’t believe my eyes/ears
  • I haven’t seen you for so long. I can’t believe my eyes how much you’ve changed.
  • Have I just heard that I won the lottery? I can’t believe my ears.
It takes all sorts (to make a world)

Use the phrase to say that you are surprised by someone’s behaviour.

  • “Brian wants to go skydiving.” “Doesn’t he have anything better to do? It takes all sorts to make a world!

Expressing surprise in English

What is the world coming to

Use the phrase to express surprise about something you disapprove.

  • Can you believe that they let a drug dealer get away with a minor punishment? What is the world coming to?
No way

Use the phrase to express surprise and disbelief.

  • “We are champions of the world in basketball.” “No way!”
  • “Sandra’s got a scholarship for Cambridge.” Really? I didn’t know she applied for it.”

Expressing surprise in English

It’s a small world

Use the phrase to show surprise when you meet someone unexpectedly.

  • Hello Jack. It’s a small world! We meet so far away from home.
As large as life

Use the phrase to say that you are very surprised to see someone or something.

  • I was sure that he moved abroad but when I opened the door, there he was, as large as life.
I never dreamed

Use the phrase to say that you are very surprised.

  • I never dreamed to see you again. It is a big surprise.

Expressing surprise in English

It’s news to me

Use it to say that you didn’t know about something, especially if it annoys you.

  • Price of electricity is going up? It’s news to me.
There is a first time for everything

Use it to say that something is surprising and strange.

  • I didn’t know that hot water turns into ice faster than cold. There is a first time for everything.
Live and learn

Use it to show your surprise about something you’ve just seen or heard.

  • An octopus has three hearts! Well, I guess you live and learn.

Expressing surprise in English

What do you know

“Your ex-wife is getting married?” “Really? What do you know.”

Expressing surprise in English
Expressing surprise in English

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