July 20


Let’s Learn Collocations and Idiomatic Expressions to Talk About People Being Angry

Good day everyone and welcome to Prepare to Pass Your Cambridge Exam by Cambridge Exam Coach, the podcast where you can listen to tips and advice for passing the Cambridge exams at the same time as improving your English.

I’m Kristian, your host, today it’s Tuesday 13 July 2021, and in this episode we’re going to talking about anger or being angry. We’ll discuss collocations and idiomatic expressions to talk about people getting angry.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy this special episode of the podcast. Are you ready? Here we go!

Hello dear dear listeners, how are you doing? I hope you’re doing great and that you’re looking forward to listening to this episode of the podcast. First I’d like to welcome Liza on the podcast, hello Liza how is it going today?

Before we start, here are some tips for you to get the most out of this episode: You should record the collocations and idiomatic expressions on your phone or even better, in your vocabulary notebooks. Also, double check the pronunciation of irate /a1’re1t/ and berserk /ba(r) ‘z3:(r)k/. And keep in mind that one expression in this episode (blow one’s top) is particularly informal, so it should be used with caution.

Definitions 4 expressions to express you’re (getting) angry

What do the following expressions mean?

lose one’s temper
blow a fuse
get worked up
become irate

Lose your temper (also lose your cool/lose it) = to become very angry:
Michelle wanted everybody to like her so much that she just lost it if someone got mad at her.
When I feel like I’m about to lose my cool, I just leave the room.

Blow a fuse (blow a gasket) = to become very angry:
When he told her how much it cost, she blew a gasket.

To get worked up = to get upset or very excited about something:
It’s easy to get worked up when you’re tired and everything seems to be against you.
He was very worked up about seeing his family again after so many years.

(To become / get) irate = (to become) very angry:
We have received some irate phone calls from customers.

Exercise 1

Complete each of the gaps with an adjective from the box. The words in bold are
common collocates of the adjectives.


1. They had a rather … argument about hunting, each with very different views on the topic.
2. The waitress was attempting to calm an extremely … customer who was complaining loudly about his bill.
3. Mummy’s a little bit … with you, Peter. You know you shouldn’t tell lies.
4. Her face showed no emotion, but inwardly she was absolutely … with anger and indignation.
5. He went completely … , shaking his fist at me and screaming blue murder.

Exercise 2

Complete each of the gaps with a noun from the box.


1. My dad would blow his … if he found out I’d been driving so fast.

Lose one’s temper:
He is volatile and likely to blow his top if his demands aren’t met.

2. When I refused his request, he flew into a … and stormed out of my office.

Become suddenly or violently angry:
I asked to speak to her boss and she just flew into a rage.

3. I was taken aback by her sudden … of temper.

A sudden forceful expression of emotion, especially anger:
Her comments provoked an outburst of anger from the boss.
BUT also: an outburst of creative activity

4. I was furious; I had to go for a long walk to let off … .

To do or say something that helps you to get rid of strong feelings or energy:
She jogs after work to let off steam.

5. If she doesn’t get what she wants, she throws a … , stamping her feet and screaming her head off.

A sudden period of uncontrolled anger like a young child’s:
Charlie had/threw a tantrum in the shop because I wouldn’t buy him any sweets.
If she doesn’t get her own way she has temper tantrums.

Discussion questions

What sort of things make you angry?
What do you do when you lose your temper?
What do you do to calm down?

About the author 


Kristian is from The Netherlands, but he lives in Prague, Czechia. He is a CELTA qualified teacher who passed the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam with grade A. When he's not working, he likes to chill out with music, podcasts or an audiobook.


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