To be happy is to feel good or experience some sort of goodness. The word "happy" is a very basic vocabulary word in English, but you should pay close attention to how it is used:

Use "happy" with the verbs "be," "feel," or "seem."

  • Maria is happy.
  • Joe feels happy.
  • Maria and Joe are happy together.
  • They seem happy together. (But we aren’t sure. That’s why "seem" is used.)

When using "happy" with the verb "make," include an object after the verb:

  • Her children make her happy.
  • His work makes him feel happy.
  • A win will make the team happy.
  • A sunny day makes everyone happier.
  • Problems at work are making me unhappy. (The opposite of "happy" is "unhappy.")

Sometimes the word "happy" is followed by an infinitive:

  • I’m happy to be here.
  • I’m happy to help you.
  • We’re happy to hear the good news.
  • We’re happy to see that everyone is okay.
  • The teacher is happy to meet you.
  • The students are happy to learn new things.


You can also be happy for another person. In this case, you celebrate another person’s good fortune or success:

  • I’m happy for you.
  • We feel so happy for you.
  • Everyone is happy for the newly married couple.
  • When Charlene announced that she was pregnant, her coworkers all said that they were happy for her.

The prepositions "about" and "with" are also commonly used with "happy."

  • Tom is happy about his new boat.
  • He’s happy with his new boat.
  • Maria’s happy with her husband.
  • She’s happy about living in Nebraska.
  • The drivers are happy about the new freeway.
  • They’re happy about all the time they are saving on the new freeway.
  • We’re happy with our new furniture.
  • We’re happy about getting the furniture on sale.

Use the word "happy" when greeting other people for holiday occasions:

  • Happy New Year!
  • Happy Easter!
  • Happy Fourth of July!
  • Happy Thanksgiving!

When mixed with a touch of sarcasm, the word "happy" may have the opposite meaning:

  • This is all your fault. Are you happy now?
  • I hope you’re happy.
  • I hope you’re happy with yourself!

The word "happily" is an adverb:

  • The students happily returned to school after their vacation.
  • The volunteers happily pitched in to help fix the house of an elderly neighbor.
  • We happily made a donation to the school.

The word "happiness" is a noun:

  • The boy’s happiness could not be contained. (He was so happy he had a hard time controlling himself.)
  • Latoya wants to share her happiness with other people.
  • Happiness is being able to live in a world of peace.

Don’t Worry Be Happy! — Bobby McFerrin


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Date of publication: January 8, 2017