12 Common English Expressions for Stress or Annoyance

12 Common English Expressions for Stress or Annoyance

Welcome to our Daily English Listening Practice with this week’s series:

12 Common English Expressions
for Stress or Annoyance

When talking about stress, we have lots of phrases for different levels of annoyance. You could be a little annoyed by something or there’s something that could really be stressing you out. Use these common English expressions to explain yourself in useful, naturally spoken English, avoid cliches like the expressions at the bottom!

Listen to the English audio clips for information and pronunciation.

She Stresses me Out

Notes: “She’s just been stressing me out” – for a period of time, this week, this past week, this past month; “She stresses me out”: it’s a fact, it’s typical; “She’s stressing me out”: it’s happening right now

Going Through A Lot

Notes: “I’ve been going through a lot”, “She’s been going through a lot”: the problem is still happening; “She’s been through a lot” their history has a lot of problems

I’ve Got a Lot on my Plate

Notes: easy to use when you’ve been stressed out, or if you can’t do something because you are very busy; often used to explain why you’re stressed

I Haven’t Been Feeling Myself

Notes: used when you can’t figure out exactly why you’re more emotional or stressed or annoyed, you can use this phrase to explain yourself

I’ve Got a lot on my Mind

Notes: sometimes when you can’t focus on something because you’re stressed or worried, you can say “I’ve got a lot on my mind (right now)” “I’ve had a lot on my mind lately/recently”

Pull your hair out

Notes: “I’m pulling my hair out over this” “I’m pulling my hair out trying to do this” ; if you use it as advice, “Don’t pull your hair out” it’s like telling someone to calm down.

She pushes my buttons

Notes: When someone makes your angry on purpose, they know exactly what to say or do to upset you. “Get Under my Skin” means to annoy you on purpose. He gets under my skin, he tries to annoy me.

He Gets on My Nerves

Notes: less serious and direct than “you annoy me”; anything can get on your nerves, not just a person.

She bothers me

Notes: kids say it a lot, “stop bothering me!” in America, can be used similarly to “annoy”, in the UK “Can I bother you for a moment? I’m not bothering you am I?” it’s used to interrupt someone or ask for something; “I can’t be bothered” British slang for “I don’t care”

It rubs me (up) the wrong way

Notes: America: It rubs me the wrong way; British: he rubs me up the wrong way; this can be very subtle annoyance, anything can be wrong or you don’t get along with another person; “can’t put my finger on it” can’t figure out exactly why

I Can’t Stand It

Notes: I really don’t like it; “I can’t stand it when….” “We can’t stand you doing this…” “I can’t stand doing this….” “I can’t stand him.”

I’m going crazy/He’s Driving me Crazy

Notes: pretty informal, also, “He’s driving me nuts” “You’re gonna drive me crazy”


These phrases probably won’t be in any textbooks, but they are already a little overused in natural language, you can use them for fun, being sarcastic, but if you want to be taken seriously, it’s probably best to avoid these!

Up to my ears
Cheesed off
Tear your hair out
Ruffle Your Feathers


Kat and Mark

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