Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Are you a very trusting person?

Is it easy for you to trust people over time or do you really have to get to know somebody well first?

Sometimes your intuition can take over and make you wonder why things feel off.

We’re going to look at this type of situation and what you can say to communicate that uncertainty.

When things seem off, you want to know how to talk about it and let others know–and we’ll learn that today.

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Talking About When You Sense Something Is Wrong

Today we are going to talk about when we think something may be wrong and how we can talk about that feeling.

How do we describe this situation?

Sometimes there is just that intuition where you feel like something is wrong or off.

This happens to all of us, and you can probably think of a time when this happened to you.

This is an important emotion to express because there may very well be a reason for it.

You might think or feel like something may be odd, wrong, or suspicious in nature.

You have to express this feeling in order to connect with others and let them know that something doesn’t feel right.

This is something that may be important for others to know, and it just might save you from a bad situation too.

You will likely hear “trust your instincts” and that is what we’re focusing on here because it means to listen to your inner voice.

If something doesn’t feel right then you want to figure it out, and you may need to warn others.

There are certain ways to tell people that something feels off, and these can be very helpful to you in this type of situation.

How Can You Warn Others?

You want to tell others that something is wrong or off, and you need the right way to say this.

So how can we do it?

There are several ways that you can tell others that you feel like something is off or wrong.

  • Fishy/something fishy’s going on her/something smells fishy: These are all great phrases and center around the word “fishy.” This may even make you think of the smell of a fish which is bitter and off putting. It makes you pull back and gives you a negative connotation. So this is why you use fishy to describe a situation where something is odd or just not quite right.

You could use this in the following ways or examples.

Lindsay: “Hmm…I don’t think she gave me the right book. That’s fishy.”

Michelle: “Something smells fishy. You never ask me to come over. I think you’re planning a surprise party.”

Lindsay: “Why isn’t the door locked? There’s something fishy going on.”

Michelle: “Oh no, Lindsay, it’s nothing. I left it open when I came to help you with the packages.”

Lindsay: “Oh okay, I got nervous!”

  • I smell a rat: This is an even stronger phrase, and so it can definitely indicate that something is wrong. It’s even stronger than “fishy” and so it can apply to a more intense topic. This is more focused and intense in nature. It can be about feeling something is wrong, but you might think of it mostly when someone is responsible. This isn’t as much directed at not trusting something, or even thinking someone did something bad like lied. This one is very dramatic and it likely isn’t used as often, but you might hear it in movies.

You could use this phrase in ways such as the following.

Lindsay: “So you really don’t know where my jacket is?”

Michelle: “I have no idea, Lindsay!”

Lindsay: “I smell a rat!”

This could be an interaction like between sisters, and therefore it may be used in more of a joking way.

  • Shady: This is a more modern term and you may hear it used often. We could almost do an entire episode on this one, but ultimately it means odd or strange. It may come up often, and it’s an easy and pertinent one to use.

You could use it in the following way in these examples.

Lindsay: “We went into this room, and it was really shady. You should have seen it. It was dark and there was this weird music playing.”

Michelle: “She’s been a bit shady lately . Something must be wrong. There’s something going on with her.”

  • Off/something’s off/something seems off: This is to say that something is not right, or not the way it should be. It’s pretty direct and so it serves the purpose for saying what you want to say. This will tell people that all is not right and something is definitely off.

You can use this in the following way in a conversation.

Lindsay: “Wait…something’s off.”

Michelle: “What?”

Lindsay: “Did you borrow my sweater?”

Michelle: “No it’s right here!”

Lindsay: “Oops, sorry!”

Michelle: “I don’t know, Linsday. Something seems off with these numbers.”

Lindsay: “You forgot to add these ones.”

Michelle: “Ah okay.”

These are super useful, and they can be used in everyday life.

You may hear them on TV shows such as in investigations, or like a Law and Order type of show.

How and When Can We Use These?

We have to have ways to express ourselves when we are suspicious, or when we want to say that something is not right or the way it should be.

This helps us to connect and therefore it’s very powerful vocabulary.

There are some possible general situations when you might expect to use one of these phrases.

  • Something is misplaced: You had something and suddenly it is misplaced. You are trying to figure out where it is and you suspect that something just isn’t right. This is when you might use one of the phrases to try to figure out where the item is.
  • You can’t figure out an answer to something: Things may seem off and you can’t quite figure out the answer to something. You are trying to determine how something happened or why you are in this situation. This answer is key and so you need to get to it.
  • You are talking about a TV show, movie, or book: This is another instance where you want to get to the answer or solution. You want to know why something happened or what comes next.
  • You think someone made a mistake or you made a mistake: In trying to find a solution to a problem, this is when you might use such a phrase. Whoever made the mistake, you want to get to the bottom of the issue and that’s when you might find one of these phrases to be handy or helpful.

These are all instances when you might use such a phrase.

Whenever you are trying to figure something our or something seems off, then these phrases can come in handy.


Hopefully you don’t need to use these words or phrases, but they are really important to now.

If you do have to use them in a certain situation now you have the tools.

There are instances when things just seem off, and now you know how to communicate that.

Listen for them and try them out today because these are a good way to warn others or talk about unusual situations that are just off.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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