How to say 「うらやましい 」 in English.

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Sometimes a friend or family member has some good fortune. Maybe they won the lotto or got a promotion at work. Perhaps they are able to have the chance to do something that you would like to do. You may try to use the phrase I envy you. Please don’t!

When you look up 「うらやましい」 in a dictionary, it usually says, “envious” or “I envy you” But actually, the phrase “I envy you” has a very strong sound and heavy nuance in English, so this phrase is never used in these kinds of situations.

That’s because envy is a very strong emotion that includes jealousy and resentment towards the other person because of their situation. If you envy someone, you have strong negative feelings towards them. You practically hate them because of their fortune. Here’s an example from an old movie plot.

For example, there are two brothers from a wealthy family. One is very lazy and easily spends his father’s money on his social life. The other brother works hard and doesn’t rely on his father for support. When the father died, he left all of his money and riches to his hardworking son. The lazy son was feeling, “I envy you” and made a plan to kill his brother. This is how strong “I envy you” sounds to native English speakers.

When someone has some good fortune, or is able to have the chance to do something that you would like to do, instead of saying “I envy you” here are some more natural sounding phrases:

  • You got free tickets to the Taylor Swift concert? Lucky you! I wish I could get free tickets.
  • How lucky you are! We both went to the park, but the mosquitoes didn’t bite you at all!
  • Jack won the lottery? Good for him!

I hope this was a helpful English lesson. If you have any questions, or would like my help to make your English sound more natural, I teach private English lessons in my office on Madison and 40th Street, and on Skype. Feel free to send me a message here.