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Idiom: In a state

Average: 3.5 (190 votes)

In a state, particularly in British English, is used informally for a couple of situations.

When someone becomes nervous or upset, they are in a state:

Nervous: She gets herself into a real state worrying about her exams.

Upset: James has been in a terrible state since his girlfriend broke up with him.

State is also used casually to describe something that is messy, untidy or chaotic.

I need to tidy my room, it's a state.

This report is a state, I can't make any sense of it.

Right state

What does right state mean?

In informal British English, the adverb right is often used with state. Right means completely.

She’s in a right state, I’ve never seen her look so nervous.

My clothes were in a right state from playing soccer in the rain.

Now complete these sentences with the correct missing word:

  • 1) What happened to Sarah? She's in a real ___.

  • 2) He left the kitchen in a ___ state after making lunch.

  • 3) You need to change your shirt, it's ___.

  • 4) She was __ a state all weekend.