Conversation Tips for Expressing Shocks in English


Sometimes, life throws us into unexpected predicaments, and it can be hard to react when something unexpected and upsetting happens. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a personal loss, it’s important to find ways to express shock and disbelief. This lesson will guide you through some common phrases and expressions that can help you communicate your emotions.


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Expressing shock in English


Here’s a list of some common expressions to help you express shock and disbelief.


  • I was shocked to hear…
  • The news came as a complete shock.
  • We’re all in complete shock.
  • Everyone’s reeling from the shock of…
  • It happened out of the blue.
  • Who could have predicted it?
  • I (just) can’t get over ….
  • We were completely taken aback by…
  • I was just stunned by…



  • I just can’t believe…
  • It’s unbelievable.
  • I / You just can’t imagine…
  • Words can’t describe… (how I feel about / the terrible devastation etc)
  • There’s no way it could have happened.


Saying how bad something is

  • It’s so awful.
  • It’s terrible / What terrible news.
  • It’s a tragedy.
  • It’s a catastrophe (pronounced “ca – tas – tra – fee” with the stress on “-tas”)
  • This is the worst thing that could have happened.


The after effects

Here are some words and phrases frequently used to discuss the short-term and long-term impacts of a natural disaster or other tragic events.


  • To come to terms with = to accept:

The community is slowly coming to terms with the loss of their homes after the flood.


  • To assess the damage = to find out the extent of the damage:

Local officials are determining the extent of the damage caused by the recent wildfire.


  • To provide emergency relief / emergency assistance:

Many volunteers are working tirelessly to provide emergency assistance to those affected by the hurricane.


  • To give moral support = to sympathize with the victims: Friends and family gathered to give moral support to those who lost their loved ones.


  • To learn the lessons = to learn from something: After the tornado, it’s crucial for schools to learn the lessons about safety protocols.


  • To be better prepared: The recent storm emphasized the need for communities to be better prepared for future disasters.



The phrases shared in this lesson can serve as a guide to express shock, disbelief, and sympathy. By using these expressions, we can better support one another while navigating through the difficult aftermath of such events. Remember, sharing how you feel can be a crucial step in the healing process.


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