Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever heard somebody say that they were “in rare form?”

This is one of those phrases that may sound a bit confusing in English.

We’re going to look at what this phrase means and how to use it.

Though you may not recognize it just yet, you will learn how this can be a fun and insightful addition to your conversations.

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Looking At A Fun Word

Today we are going to talk about the very fun expression “in rare form.”

You’ve probably heard it and maybe wondered what exactly it means.

What does it mean?

The best way that you can encompass it in one word is “extreme.”

So it can be extremely good, extremely bad, extremely talented, extremely difficult , extremely silly if you think of it that way.

If you break it down to a more literal meaning, you would think of it as being “rare” like something that doesn’t often happen, and form as in “doing something in a way that you don’t usually.”

Though that would be the literal breakdown, that is not necessarily how it is used in its meaning or context.

You could use it like that, but that’s not the common way to put it into conversation.

Let’s take a look at a few quick examples so that you can see typical uses.

  • ”Man, you are really in rare form today. What’s up with you today?” This sounds like someone is acting in a way they don’t usually. Perhaps they come across as angry, rude, impatient, or even inconsiderate.
  • ”Wow, Sophie, you are in rare form. How did you manage to get all As again?” This is in a good way and it’s asking what caused this sort of change to happen or take place. It’s coming from a place of wondering what caused this change or transformation.
  • “Sorry I can’t come. My nieces and nephews are in rare form today and won’t let me breathe for a second! They are so tough!” This means that things are not good and they are acting up in this example.

The idea is that someone is behaving a little differently than normal, whether it is good or bad. 

This is a good connection skill, as it can be used in many different ways.

It can be used to compliment someone, ask if someone is okay, or to just express that something is different.

It shows that you notice!

Try to keep in mind that tone of voice is essential, as is the context in which you use it.

You are using this to say that something or someone is nice or not.

Looking At Some Good Examples

You can start to see the different ways that this expression can be used.

Looking at a few more examples can help to highlight the way in which you may say “in rare form.”

  • Said in a positive or reassuring way: “You are really in rare form today!”Here you are pointing to their actions or reactions and noticing that they are being positive in nature.
  • Said in a negative or even critical way: “You are really in rare form today!” This may be said in the heat of anger or frustration. You just might not understand why they are acting this way.
  • Context: It may be added for context, and that is typically in the second sentence or with some other information. You might say “You are really in rare form today. What is your problem?” Another example could be “You are really in rare form today. You are beating me every game!”

You can say the same sort of thing in two different ways, as it’s always good to have options.

Just as “in rare form” can be used in a positive or negative way, so can these two phrases.

These are good to know so that you have options for these type of situations.

  • Not oneself: This is saying the same sort of thing and can be used positively or negatively. You could say “Oh wow, you are not yourself today. Call me when you want to talk.”
  • Out of control: This can also be used in a positive or negative way, and it may mean that things have come to a head. Things are just different or more extreme than usual. You might say “Her singing was out of control today. She’s amazing!” You could also say “He’s out of control today, I don’t know why he said that!”

Roleplay To Help

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Michelle are talking about a party that they went to.

Lindsay: “That party was out of control. So much fun!”

Michelle: “Definitely. Jackie was in rare form, too. Her food was even better than usual!”

Lindsay: “I know. I noticed Ben wasn’t himself. He was being pretty rude.”

Michelle: “Yeah, I think he was just tired.”


It’s interesting how some phrases can have positive and negative connotations.

Always remember that tone of voice matters a lot here.

It’s also important to remember the context in these situations, so pay attention to that.

These can be a really fun addition to conversation, and can help you to take your skills to another level.

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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