example-image image source: SMPE


surprise는 어떤 것을 기대하지 않을 때 찾아온다. 그런데 surprise의 종류는 크게 두가지로 나뉜다.

“어머…왜 이런걸 준비했어요. 고맙게…“식의 기분좋게 만드는 surprise와 “아닌 밤중에 홍두깨”식의 기분 나쁘게 만드는 surprise가 있다. 두 표현 모두 X surprise(s) Y라고 표현할 수 있지만, 약간의 변화를 줘서 뉘앙스를 좀 더 negative하게 만들 수 있다. 예를들어 현재 한국에 발생한 메르스는 갑작스럽게 터진, 즉 기분 나쁜 surprise에 가까운데, 이것을 영어로 어떻게 표현할까? “The extent of the [MERS] outbreak in South Korea has taken many by surprise — mainly because the virus has not been shown to spread easily between humans…” (CNN)


  1. to surprise someone with something unexpected.


뉘앙스는 이 그림에서 볼 수 있다.
다음이 소위 기분좋은 surprise라면 good surprise “어머~~~~” image source: engagewriter 기분 나쁜 surprise는 bad surprise “저건 뭥미…” image source: whatsontv 에 가깝다. surprise를 묘사하는 단어는 surprise이외에도 많은데, 만약 기분의 축이 있다고 가정한다면 “take someone by surprise”는 기분안좋은 방향에 더 가깝다고 할 수 있겠다. surprise level 필자도 미묘한 뉘앙스가 헷갈려서 English StackExchange에 질문을 했었는데, Tushar Raj 님이 아주 자세한 답변을 해주셨다.

stun 은 망치로 얻어맞은 느낌의 surprise로서 기분 좋게/기분 나쁘게 둘 다 쓸 수 있다. (ex: I was stunned by his stupidity…)


  • I owe you an apology for the Christmas party. I think I sort of took you by surprise. (Obsessed)
  • Nothing’s the matter; your visit caught me by surprise. (Amour)
  • It’s just that I was working, and you took me by surprise. (Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her)
  • The other day, Mama, you came in the front room and took me by surprise. (Cardinal Burns)
  • I’m sorry if last night was a little awkward. Maybe it took you by surprise. (Everwood)


  • The Bank of Japan’s new action took markets by surprise and drove a 4.8 percent gain in the Japanese stock market and smaller gains across the globe. (NYT)
  • Last year’s protests took everyone by surprise. That is no longer true. (Economist)
  • While the SNB’s decision took investors by surprise, it was clear the cap couldn’t last given the downward drift of the euro, former SNB president Jean-Pierre Roth said subsequently. (Bloomberg)


  • This happy news took me by surprise
  • Have to admit this art installation took me by surprise!
  • You are the iceberg to my titanic. You took me by surprise and left me an absolute wreck.


  • It definitely took me by surprise. But, you know…
  • takes you quite by surprise.
  • I was taken completely by surprise.
  • or the European crisis take us by surprise.
  • As a result, exponential trends take us by surprise.
  • that may catch you a little bit by surprise.
  • in a way that has so taken me by surprise.
  • globalization has taken us by surprise, and we’ve been slow to respond to it.


  • Is it a slang? No
  • Can I use it in a email? Yes
  • Can I use it in a formal setting? Yes
  • Frequency? A lot

context plot data source: Davies, Mark. (2008-) The Corpus of Contemporary American English: 450 million words, 1990-present. Available online at http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/