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    #1

    What the British really mean

    Dear teachers

    I found a list of what the British say vs what the British really mean (below link). Are there real meanings in the list true? For example, when a British says somebody's ability is 'quite good', will he actually mean "a bit disappointing"?

    http://www.rlyl.com/blog-brand-langu...say--or-else/

    Regards

    Anthony the learner

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What the British really mean

    The words before the list are quite telling: "So we were much amused this week to come across this humorous list of what the British say vs what the British really mean (and what our friends in the EU think they mean)."

    Actually, the one I don't really agree with is that we mean (or are understood to mean) "a bit disappointing" when we say "quite good". I certainly mean "quite good" when I say it.

    I've always liked "With all due respect" - I mostly use it when the amount of respect due to the person I'm talking to is zero!

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What the British really mean

    Quote Originally Posted by patran View Post
    ...For example, when a British says somebody's ability is 'quite good', will does he actually mean "a bit disappointing"?

    ...
    There's a word for that (a bit too literary to be called 'idiomatic', but still rather neat): 'damning with faint praise'.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 21-Feb-2012 at 18:55. Reason: Corrected 'will he mean'.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: What the British really mean

    I had trouble with my American trainees when I would say of an assignment or an observed lesson "Not bad". To my generation of English people 'not bad', said with appropriate intonation, can mean anything from 'quite good' to 'first class'. My American trainees invariably interpreted my words as 'not terrible, but not far off'.

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    #5

    Re: What the British really mean

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I had trouble with my American trainees when I would say of an assignment or an observed lesson "Not bad". To my generation of English people 'not bad', said with appropriate intonation, can mean anything from 'quite good' to 'first class'. My American trainees invariably interpreted my words as 'not terrible, but not far off'.
    I can hear "not bad" as 'quite good' to 'first class', but it implies, to me, that you are quite surprised.

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