If we annoy someone, we are making them feel angry. In this lesson, you will learn 5 English expressions that also mean “to annoy someone”.
To hear the correct pronunciation of these expressions, watch the Youtube video at the bottom of this page.
to drive someone mad
We can also say “to drive someone crazy”
to annoy someone so much that they become mad or crazy. Clearly this is a figurative expression. We are not literally causing the person to become mad. This is very common in informal spoken English.
Manager: You are late every day. You’re driving me crazy!
Jane: Did Mark call you yesterday?
Sarah: No, he never calls me. He drives me mad.
to wind someone up
Be careful of the pronunciation of “wind”: /waɪnd/
Meaning: The origin of this expression comes from mechanical clockwork toys with a key in the back of them. We turn (wind) the key and then suddenly the toy starts moving very quickly! So this expressions means “to excite me” (but in a very bad way!) If someone is winding me up, they are annoying me. They are making me angry. This expression is common in informal English.
David is angry with Mark during a meeting. Mark is winding David up.
to drive someone up the wall
Meaning: to annoy someone so much that they start climbing the walls! That is figuratively speaking of course. So obviously we use this to mean “to annoy someone a lot”.
Jane: Does Mark help you with the housework?
Sarah: No, never. He drives me up the wall.
Jane is always playing video games. She drives us up the wall.
to be a pain in the neck
Meaning: To be so annoying to other people that it causes them physical pain in their neck. Again, that is the figurative meaning. We say this when someone is very annoying.
He is always on the phone. He’s a pain in the neck.
My neighbour makes a lot of noise. He’s a pain in the neck.
to get on someone’s nerves
Meaning: Again, this means to annoy someone a lot.
My boss always shouts at me. He gets on my nerves.
She told me to be quiet. She got on my nerves. (past tense)
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Watch this video lesson to hear the correct pronunciation of all these English expressions.
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