“How lovely!”

You received a birthday gift from a coworker. You are opening it in front of her. It's a shirt for you. You want to make her think that you're happy about the gift, so you say this.

How lovely!

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How (adjective)!

The expression "How lovely!" means that something is very lovely. "How ___" is a phrase to show that you feel a strong and surprising emotion about something:

How wonderful!

How beautiful!

How embarrassing!

How sweet of you!

Note that "How ___!" is only used by itself. You never use it in a sentence like "This shirt is how lovely."

(something) is lovely

The word "lovely" means "nice" or "beautiful". But it sounds more strongly positive than "nice".

Things that can be called "lovely" include:

  • The weather.

    What a lovely day!

  • A person.

    Don't you look lovely!

  • Clothes, household decorations, and other pretty objects.

    I found a lovely bedspread on sale at Macy's.

"Lovely" is often used by older and more conservative women.