John wails. Mike controls John. John sobs softly. Suddenly, John's face turns into angry.

What I'm trying to describe is the facial expression changes. John was sad and crying, and suddenly he get anger. Instead of saying "He get anger," I'm describing how his face changes. Is this correct in English? Is it commonly used by native English speaker?

In my language we have this kind of sentence, like describing how your face changes with different moods like laugh, crying, anger, etc.

2 Answers 2


English has several words that are used to describe facial expressions associated with certain emotion(s).

For example, you could say he beamed in joy, he scowled in disgust, he grimaced in pain, he sneered in contempt, and he glowered in anger.

From ODO:

glower (v.) have an angry or sullen look on one’s face; scowl : she glowered at him suspiciously

If you aren't aware of the right word to use, though, you can also say something like:

John's face contorted with rage.

(contorted could be used with other negative emotions, too, such as sorrow or despair)

There's also the idiom look daggers, as in:

John looked daggers at Mike.

which means John glared at him with a personal, angry, spiteful look.

  • Excellent, Thanks a lot. These are words I was looking for.
    – T2E
    May 19, 2013 at 22:50

I think you should say "John got/became/turned angry." or "John's face turned red."

You can say "John got upset when something happened."

And just as a FYI, you should say "he gets/got angry" rather than "he get anger."

  • Okay, Is the following kind of sentence valid in English? "his fear turns into a smile".
    – T2E
    May 19, 2013 at 19:59
  • 3
    @T2E You can say that; but it is more effective to juse two parallel terms, either "his fear turns into joy" or "his grimace turns into a smile". May 19, 2013 at 21:22

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