30 Positive Words & Expressions in American English

Looking for some positive phrases in English? This lesson will help you learn positive words to improve your English vocabulary!

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This is a guest post by Austin Bay. For more English learning resources, check out LinguaLinkDC.

There are lots of different ways to express your happiness or positivity in American English. Whether you’re using an idiomatic expression or a slang word, you’ll find lots of ways to let people know, everything is just great.

Whether you want to inspire your friends or simply let someone know they’re doing a great job, these 30 English words and phrases will help you express happiness and positivity. Get on out there and brighten someone’s day!


If you want to tell someone that you think something or someone is really great, use the more casual word, awesome!

Example: The food at the five-star restaurant is awesome!

On Cloud Nine

This is an English expression that you’ll hear often in the United States when people want to express a sense of total happiness.

Example: When I graduated from college, I was on cloud nine!


You can use a lot of different adjectives to describe other people, but generous is a positive adjective that you’ll want to use with intention. A generous person is someone who is willing to give or show more kindness to others than expected.

Example: The owner of the company is really generous with vacation time.

Jump for joy

When an English speaker is overcome by happiness, they might tell you that they feel as if they could jump for joy. They might literally do so or just smile really big!

Example: When I sign the lease on my new apartment, I’m going to jump for joy!


When someone gets a promotion or an opportunity to do something for someone they deeply respect, then they might use the word honored. To be honored by something or someone is to regard with respect.

Example: I’m honored to accept this position in the company and will work hard to make the team proud!

Grin from ear to ear

If you’ve ever seen someone who has a very wide smile and looks extremely content, then you’ve seen someone grinning from ear to ear. Use this expression to describe someone’s look after they just got engaged or celebrated an important life event.

Example: After she said yes to his proposal, he was so happy that he was grinning from ear to ear for weeks after.


Words like good and great can become old quick and they might not put the right emphasis on what you’re talking or writing about. A word like fantastic can be used to show that someone is extraordinarily good — more so than regular.

Example: The cake we had for the holiday was homemade, so it was fantastic.

Happy Camper

Unlike fantastic or awesome, which shows someone is more than great; this expression is used to show that someone is simply content. Use this expression after being outdoors in the cold and coming indoors to a warm house.

Example: Once we lit the fire in the furnace, we all sat down with a cup of chocolate and I was a happy camper.


This English word you might hear less often or you might hear in reference to few things being perfect. This is a good word to use if you want to let someone know that they’ve created something without faults.

Example: The handmade furniture was perfect for our home and fit just as we expected!

Back on your feet

This is a common English expression that you’ll hear after someone recovers from sickness or illness. It’s positive and describes a person’s successful recovery.

Example: I’m happy to see you back on your feet only a week after your surgery!


You’ll hear the word success come up in conversation at home and at work. You can use this word to describe a person or thing that achieves its goals or fulfills its purpose.

Example: Her success in the last three years brought her into the role as the director of the department.

Music to your ears

If you hear something that makes you really happy, often what someone else has said, then use this English expression. When something is music to your ears, it’s something that you love to hear.

Example: All the compliments from my last project were like music to my ears.


Whether you’re watching videos online or scrolling through your social media feed, you’ll often hear the word famous. If someone or something is recognized by most other people, then it’s described as famous.

Example: After her last movie, she became famous in the United States and the U.K.

Happy as a clam

When someone is incredibly happy, they might say that they are happy as a clam. You’ll want to use this when someone brings you excessive happiness, like after major positive events in your life.

Example: Traveling across the world makes me happy as a clam.


Everyone has people in their life that they look up to. In English, you can use the word admire when trying to explain who you respect the most in your life.

Example: I admire people who are generous and kind.

Jaw dropping

This is a tricky English expression, because the way it’s used determines whether it means something positive or negative. A positive jaw dropping experience leaves someone breathless in extreme happiness.

Example: The team’s jaws dropped after finishing their three-year project.


There are different forms of happiness, some happy feelings make you feel calm and others make you feel energetic — like you need to jump out of your seat and do something. When someone feels this type of happiness, they often use the word exciting.

Example: Traveling is so exciting that it motivates me to work hard.

Larger than life

Someone who is larger than life has an extraordinary personality. This person usually exhibits a distinct behavior or appearance that makes them stand out from everyone else.

Example: My brother becomes friends with everyone he meets because his personality is larger than life!


A person who is courageous is able to accomplish their goals despite pain. Courage is a common characteristic that you’ll see throughout American culture and film. It’s used to describe someone who perseveres despite obstacles.

Example: It’s courageous when people stand up for what they believe in.

Best day ever

This American English phrase is not recognized as a formal idiomatic expression, but it’s a term you’ll hear often. When someone is having an extraordinarily great day, then they might use this phrase to let you know.

Example: I got my college acceptance letter this afternoon, it’s the best day ever!

30 Positive Words & Expressions in American English Espresso EnglishFrom letting people know that they’re fantastic or catching yourself smiling from ear to ear, we hope these expressions bring a little more happiness and positivity into your life.

If you’re learning English, it’s important to stay positive! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning these positive words and expressions in English.

Author Bio: Austin Bay is a writer who graduated from Boston University with his B.A. in International Relations. For more English learning resources, check out LinguaLinkDC.