Once we manage to achieve a good command of the English language, it is important to become familiar with certain words and expressions that can be used in different contexts and not necessarily have an exact translation into our own language. “Fuss” is one of those polysemous words that can be heard quite often in day-to-day conversations, mostly in colloquial English, being difficult for Spanish-speaking people to figure out about its correct use. Today we are going to give you a few tips on its different meanings, as well as a few examples of the different situations in which this term is employed.
As a noun, the main synonym we can find for fuss is “complaint” or “protest”, normally made in an unpleasant way. Let’s see the following examples:
- The customer got all the attention he needed before he asked for the complaint form, so I didn’t understand what the fuss was about.
- He always makes a fuss at restaurants when he is served the food too late.
In fact, it is often associated with children’s tantrums or outbursts:
- Danny usually makes a fuss when he gets vegetables on his plate
Another meaning of “fuss” can be “concern” or “attention” to a great extent. See the following examples:
- There was a lot of fuss about Al Pacino’s new movie but I don’t think it was anything out of the ordinary.
- Everybody is worrying about the next economic crisis but it is a lot of fuss really: experts say it is not going to be that bad.
There is yet another synonym for fuss: difficulty. For instance,
- Going through all the event preparations was a lot of fuss for Mark, however in the end he did a pretty good job.
“Fuss” can also be an intransitive verb, generally meaning “complain” or “be a nuisance”. When it is followed by the preposition “over”, it becomes transitive (i.e. it needs an object to make sense) and it means “be overly attentive to”. See the differences between the following two examples:
- Their children always fuss when they are told to do their homework.
- She is always fussing over other people’s bad habits.
Finally, “fuss” becomes an adjective if we add the -y suffix: fussy. In this case, it is a synonym for “demanding” or “meticulous”. See the examples below:
- He is very fussy about the clothes he wears: only the best brands will do (demanding)
- They are very fussy about the way they clean their house, it takes them a really long time (meticulous)
We hope this post clarifies all your doubts on this term and you find it useful to incorporate it to your day-to-day language.
Have a nice week!