Expressions with different tones

In terms of usage, the word ‘antsy’ is best used in informal contexts. It is mostly appropriate in spoken English, but it’s fine in written English too especially if you are writing in an informal, casual tone.

By Author  |  Published: 7th Aug 2017  12:05 amUpdated: 6th Aug 2017  11:28 pm

Just as an experiment, this week, we will study three expressions that are very different in their tone, ranging from informal to formal to uncommon.



1. “Her pony started to get antsy, but she remained on his back. Thanks to the pony’s frantic motions, the coyotes started to retreat.”

2. “Before you get all antsy and start wondering just how closely this film follows the supposed true story that it’s based upon, listen to this part…”

3. “I totally understand how natural it is to get antsy when your favorite co-workers are interviewing with other companies. That’s when you start to wonder if you need to look for a change too.”

4. “I think investors are a little bit antsy; they say they want long term profitability, but they really just want to see marketshare gains now.”

Meanings and usage

The expression ‘antsy’ has two meanings that are similar, but distinct:

1. ‘Antsy’ can refer to being restless, fidgety, and impatient. Children, for example, will get antsy if you demand that they sit quietly without jumping around or making any noise.

2. ‘Antsy’ can also refer to being nervous or apprehensive. For example, you very likely know someone who gets all antsy on travel day, all the way until they board the flight or the train. People tend to get antsy with the idea of long distance travel.

In terms of usage, the word ‘antsy’ is best used in informal contexts. It is mostly appropriate in spoken English, but it’s fine in written English too especially if you are writing in an informal, casual tone.


1. What are the situations that invariably make you antsy? Exam results day? An important cricket or tennis match? Make a real quick list.

2. Imagine a specific situation where someone is being antsy. How would you help them calm down? Come up with a couple of sentences to deal with such a situation.

3. And of course, use the word ‘antsy’ as much as possible in real conversational contexts. Keep it up until saying the word feels natural and not deliberate.



1. “He may be anxious about the merger deal now, but just a few weeks ago, at the board meeting, he was a lot more sanguine about it.”

2. “She has been strangely sanguine about the effects of her policy changes, completely ignoring the mounting tension  between major religious communities in the State.”


With informal, slang expressions we usually don’t need to worry about it,  but for this word, let’s make sure we are clear about the pronunciation. Break the word into two parts, and pronounce them as follows: ‘sang’ and ‘win.’ That’s it really. ‘Sanguine’ should be said as ‘sangwin.’

However, when you use the word in a sentence, the second part of the word will get minimal emphasis (we’ll examine the concepts of word stress and sentence stress one of these days), so you are more likely to say ‘sangwan’ rather than ‘sangwin.’

Meanings and usage

‘Sanguine’ refers to being optimistic and confident. Come to think of it, although not a direct antonym, the word contrasts nicely with ‘antsy.’ The word is often used in the context having a positive outlook in the face of changes, or while anticipating some event. ‘Sanguine’ can also describe someone’s overall mood or disposition. For example: “I really admire his ability to remain sanguine even in times of great adversity.”The origin of this word is interesting.

‘Sanguine’ refers to ‘blood’, so someone being ‘sanguine’ is actually full of blood, and by extension, full of energy and hope.


1. Do you know someone who is sanguine—optimistic and cheerful—in general? Describe them in a sentence or two.

2. Play this little game. As you walk around in the street, at a mall, or on your college campus, observe the expressions on the faces of the people you happen to pass by. All you need to do is assess their expression and mood, and decide if they are ‘sanguine’ or ‘not sanguine.’


This is an uncommon word, but with a total solar eclipse coming up soon, I guess this is the right time to learn it. ‘Apricity’ refers to the warmth of the sun in winter. The word has a very specific meaning, and that probably limits its widespread use, but I like the idea of having a word that lets us refer to the warmth of the sun. You can use the word in sentences such as: “I love going for morning walks in December; the apricity just cheers me up for the whole day.”